According to the fitness and diet website Fit Day, medicine balls originated in ancient Persia, in what is now Iran. Medicine balls began as sand-filled bladders and were first used more than 3,000 years ago by Persian wrestlers to get in shape.
Medicine balls were also used by Persian soldiers as part of their resistance training regimen, according to AZCentral. Around 460 B.C., a sand-filled leather version of the medicine ball was used medicinally by patients of Hippocrates. He believed that toning muscles with the medicine balls improved health and prescribed tossing them back and forth as a form of injury rehabilitation, hence the name. There has been a surge in popularity in the use of modern medicine balls, which are now made of a variety of material, according to Rage Health and Fitness.