A Powerball is essentially a portable exercise device that will increase the strength in your fingers, hands and forearm. Why might this be attractive?
Suppose you had an innocent fall and for over 12 months sustained partial paralysis in both hands. That is my story. Or perhaps your hands and fingers were always a bit weak and needed strengthening.
Actually, before my fall of January 2009 I had owned a basic NSD Powerball for some years. Then it was just a curiosity. You see the Powerball is basically a gyroscope and us Engineers just love Gyroscopes.
One of the classic references is Eric Laithwaite's lectures on Gyroscopes which I remember watching live, back in the day. Lecture 5, minute 6 plus shows you some very large gyroscopes. But please take the time and start watching from Lecture 1 (Note: Eric's gyroscopic obsession lead to his subsequent rebuttal by the Royal Society sic)
But back to the Power Ball. Which one should you choose.? My thoughts:
- Get an original NSD Powerball not an imitiation. The imitations often have imprecise mechanism leading to excessive vibration and noise. They "feel" cheap.
- Some models have flashing lights powered from the Gyroscopic motion and are quite interesting
- You start the Ball rotation by wrapping a supplied thin cord around a diameter and pulling. I tried other methods. Rolling along a table: starts the Powerball and puts dust into the mechanism, so you'll need to buy a new one when it all clogs up. I bought a battery powered Powerball starter from eBay. Expensive and crap, and the rubber rollers put particles inside the Powerball meaning the bearings clogged and I had to buy another PowerBall. Just use the cord, or if exceptionally strong a flick with your hand.
- After graduating from the flashing lights models (which can cause alarm if spun say inside a moving car as a passenger), I think the ultimate Power Ball is the 350Hz Metal Pro model. This is extremely heavy and so provides the best workout.
- It is the quietest model I have ever used. This is important if you use if whilst watching TV or in any situation where you don't want to disturb your immediate neighbours
- The precision of the metal ball seems to be higher than other plastic models although this could be my wishful thinking.
- Most Power Balls come with an LCD display indicating maximum RPM and time used etc. It's not useful to me but great if you are a fanatical stats person.