In need of a fresh twist on your fitness routine? Dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells are all functional tools that offer a large range of exercise options, but a medicine ball can give your routine a whole different range of opportunities. You see, a medicine ball can be tossed, rolled and even slammed into the ground—something its fitness cousins do not offer. This allows for a different range of motion, allowing you to work different muscle groups more effectively.
Why Use Medicine Balls?
Medicine balls have been around for almost 3,000 years when Persian wrestlers trained with bladders that were filled with sand. In ancient Greece, the famous physician Hippocrates filled stuffed animal skins with sand to create medicine balls. His patients would throw the balls back and forth as part of their injury rehabilitation. Fortunately, we’ve moved beyond animal skin to a nice gentle leather-bound weighted ball coming in all range of sizes from 2 to 25 pounds! Plus, they’re easy to find. Medicine balls can be purchased online, in any sporting goods store and even at some of the general retailers like Target or Walmart.
If you are looking for a fun new way to workout, go out and get yourself a medicine ball and try this quick workout we’ve put together. It’s a combo of strength and cardio that will get your heart rate up, strengthen your muscles and, best of all, increase your stability and core strength. If you are new to using the ball, go for something moderate: 6, 8 or 10 pound balls are a great place to start for this routine. You will perform each exercise for 1 minute, with a 10 second rest in between.
Total-Body Medicine Ball Workout
Warm-Up 1 minute: Begin by lightly jogging for 30 seconds. Follow that by planting your feet wide and gently twisting your trunk from side-to-side for 30 seconds. (Note: Your hips and legs do not move, your torso rotates slowly side-to-side]. Now, proceed directly to the first exercise.
Medicine Ball Squat Toss
2) Sit back in squat position, keeping chest lifted and lower ball to floor.
3) Stand up with an explosive movement while tossing ball up over head.
4) Catch the ball at chest level and sit back to squat position. Repeat.
Continue to squat and toss for 1 minute, then rest for 10 seconds and move to the next exercise.
Medicine Ball Cross Behind Front Raise
1) Stand with feet hip width apart and hold a medicine ball in hands with arms straight down in front of your body.
2) Cross your right foot behind your left leg and bend knees while raising arms/ball up to shoulder level. Keep hips facing the front.
3) Return to start position and switch sides. That is one repetition.
Continue for 1 minute, then rest for 10 seconds and move directly to the next exercise.
Medicine Ball Rolling Push-Ups
2) Begin to lower chest toward the floor, bending your elbows and keeping body straight. [If this is too difficult, bend your knees and place them on the ground.]
3) Press up to start position then roll the ball over to the left hand. Repeat the push-up with ball under left hand. This is one repetition.
Continue rolling push-ups for 1 minute then rest for 10 seconds and move directly to the next exercise.
Medicine Ball Plank Jacks
1) Begin kneeling on the floor with hands cupped around medicine ball.
2) Tighten abdominals and glutes and stretch your legs behind you to a straight line. Straighten arms but keep shoulders down away from ears.
3) Jump your feet out to shoulder width apart, then jump them back in together.
Continue jumping legs out and in (without letting the body bounce up and down) for 1 minute. Then rest for 10 seconds and move to the next exercise.
Medicine Ball Lunge with Rotation
1) Stand with feet hip width apart holding ball directly in front of your chest.
2) Step right foot behind you, bending both knees into a lunge, while twisting the ball to your left side. Keep both hands on ball and arms long.
3) Step back to center drawing ball back to center.
4) Step left foot behind you, bending both knees into a lunge, while twisting the ball to your right side. Keep both hands on ball and arms long.
5) Return to start. That is one repetition
Continue reverse lunges with rotation, moving slowly and controlled, for 1 minute, then rest for 10 seconds and move directly to the next exercise.
Medicine Ball Slam
2) Slam the ball to the ground in front of you as hard as you can, engaging your abs, glutes and upper back.
3) Catch the ball after one bounce and raise it back overhead. Repeat.
Continue to slam ball for 1 minute, then rest for 10 seconds and move to the next exercise.
Medicine Ball High-To-Low
2) Bend knees and lower body into squat position as you pull the ball down toward left ankle.
3) As you stand back up, reach the ball back up over right shoulder. Repeat.
Continue rotation for 30 seconds from the right shoulder, then switch to 30 seconds starting at the left shoulder. Rest for 10 seconds and move directly to the next exercise.
Medicine Ball Russian Twist
2) Twist the ball to your left hip bone, keeping body centered.
3) Twist the ball to your right hip bone, keeping body centered.
4) This is one repetition.
Continue to twist back and forth for 1 minute then rest.
This completes an entire cycle through the workout. Take a moment to get water then, if desired, go back and start the workout for a second time through (skipping the warm-up) for a complete 20-minute workout!