Medicine Balls are a great exercise tool to have in your workout arsenal. They are easy to find in big box gyms, small enough to have at a home or small gym, and can be used in several ways. Medicine balls are about the size of a basketball and can weigh up to 50 pounds or heavier. They are great for providing weight to counter balance the body during several exercises and are strong enough to hold your body weight for plank variations. Heavier medicine balls (around 15-30 pounds) can be used for squat and lunge variations, while lighter weight medicine balls (around 8-10 pounds) are a great tool to use during weighted abdominal exercises. Check out these must-try medicine ball exercises for a great full body workout!
1. Squat to overhead press
The squat to overhead press is a great compound exercise that works all of your body’s large muscle groups. Begin with the medicine ball in front of the body at chest height and the feet in a squat stance, about shoulder width apart. Inhale and squat down, bringing your knees in line with your hips.
As you come up from the squat, exhale and use the momentum to press the medicine ball straight up overhead. Your arms should be straight above your head and in line with your ears. You should have your lat muscles engaged, your ab muscles locked, and your glutes and quads flexed. Bring the medicine ball back down to chest height and repeat the motion. Depending on the weight of the medicine ball, work 8-15 repetitions per set.
2. Lunge with a medicine ball pass
This movement will help increase your lower body strength, your balance, and will challenge your concentration with one swift movement!
Start with the medicine ball at chest height and your feet directly underneath your hips. Step back with your left leg into a lunge position. Take the medicine ball in your left hand and bring it underneath your hips while still in the lunge position. Grab the medicine ball with your right hand to bring it back up to chest height, then come back to standing from the lunge position.
Repeat the motion on the opposite side by stepping back with your right leg, grabbing the medicine ball in your right hand, and passing it underneath your hips to your left leg and bringing it back to chest height before standing. Repeat the motion 6 -8 times per side per set.
3. Alternating single leg v-ups
To work this abdominal exercise, begin by lying on the ground with the medicine ball held at chest height. Raise your upper body and your left leg up toward each other, making your body into the shape of the letter “v.” Use the medicine ball to help propel your upper body to the top position.
Bring your upper body and leg back down to the ground, then repeat the motion on the opposite side. Repeat this 8-10 times per side per set.
4. Plank variation
The medicine ball, while small, is still sturdy enough to hold your body weight and works well for plank variations.
To start, you can simply hold a plank on the medicine ball. Place the hands on the medicine ball with the fingers spreading out and away from each other and the corners of your wrists close together. Line up your wrists and shoulders and then step your feet back so you are in a plank position.
If this position is providing you with enough of an extra kick in your abdominal workout, then work this position for 30-45 seconds at a time. To increase the balance component, try bringing your left knee up toward your right elbow slowly, and then place it back down on the ground. Repeat the motion by bringing the right knee up toward your left elbow. Work 8-10 repetitions per side per set.
The medicine ball is easy to use and store and offers up several different exercises to work the entire body. By using one simple tool, you can work the entire body quickly and efficiently!
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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