I’ve spoken before about how effective medicine balls are in helping to develop core strength, improve balance and provide tone and conditioning to the body. They are a great way to really mix up your exercise regime, give amazing results for a whole range of muscle groups and provide you with a versatile and portable workout you can do just about anywhere. You can also burn a shed load of calories and torch fat with some high intensity moves.
Below are some of the most popular exercises that when put together make up a really effective full body medicine ball workout.
Before You Begin
Firstly, pick the right medicine ball
Before you start any workout, make sure you pick the right weight. Although there are no solid rules to this, you should pick a weight that you can lift above your head and back down again in a controlled manner, ten times in succession without stopping. You should still be able to feel fatigue in your arms however. If it feels too easy then opt for a heavier ball, if you’re struggling to complete ten controlled reps then try something lighter.
Create some space
You don’t need a huge amount of room to do this workout but you will need enough to be able to move around comfortably without knocking into things. If you’re working out at home, stretch your arms out and walk around in a circle – if you can’t touch a wall, ornament or piece of furniture then you have enough room to do all these exercises. If you’re able, grab a mat to protect the floor, and your joints from impact with the ground.
It’s always important to warm-up before intense exercise to help get the blood flowing and prime your muscles for the work to come, as well as lessen the likelihood of injury. Try running or jogging on the spot for a couple of minutes followed by a couple of sets of one or two of the exercises below with a light weight to get your body used to the movement and prepare your muscles before you increase the weight and go full tilt into your workout.
This entire workout should take you around 20 minutes to complete which includes 1-2 minutes rest between sets or individual exercises. It’s aimed at beginner to intermediate levels primarily but there is scope to make the exercises more challenging by increasing the weight of the ball or the number of reps as you become more confident and your strength progresses.
Works your: Legs, arms and shoulders
How to do it: Stand holding a medicine ball to your chest. Drop down into a squat position then push back up whilst extending your arms so you press the ball overhead. Now bring the ball back down to the start position and repeat for anywhere between 8-12 reps. Do three sets in total before moving on to the next exercise below.
The Russian Twist
Works your: Core
How to do it: Sit on the floor, use a mat if you have one, with your legs out in front and knees bent slightly. Lean back to around 45 degrees to contract your core and bring the medicine ball up to your chest. Now twist your body to the left and then the right, alternating between both sides whilst keeping your core engaged. Twist each way for anywhere between 10 to 20 reps each side to complete one set. Do three sets in total before moving on to the next exercise.
Works your: Legs, core and develops explosive power
How to do it: Stand up straight and, holding the medicine ball in both hands up by your chest, bring the ball up over your left shoulder so it’s next to your head. Now bring the ball down across your body to your right foot, bending into a squat position. Bring the ball back up to the start position and then repeat at a quick pace for 40 seconds. Rest 20 seconds and then switch sides.
Works your: Core, shoulders, triceps, glutes, hamstrings and quads
How to do it: Standing with feet shoulder width apart, hold the medicine ball out in front of you. Engaging your core, raise the ball overhead until you feel a stretch in your abdominals but keep your back straight. Now slam the ball as hard as you are able into the floor, drop into a squat and try and catch the ball as it rebounds. Do three sets of 8 to 10 reps before moving onto the next exercise.
The Lunge and Twist
Works your: Legs, chest, shoulders
How to do it: Standing upright, hold the medicine ball to your chest. Begin by moving your left leg forward into a lunge and bending your right knee down towards the floor. As you step forward, extend your arms out in front of you at chest level and twist to the left, keeping arms straight and parallel to the ground. Return to facing forward and step backwards and up out of the lunge. Repeat the move on the opposite side and continue to alternate between sides for between 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Try It Out!
Medicine balls are a great way to get in an all-body strength workout combined with cardio to really torch your muscles and burn calories. If you’re bored with your current routine then adding in some medicine ball workouts are a great way to switch things up and inject some fun into your regime.
Do you use medicine balls in your strength training? If so do you use them in conjunction with other forms of weight as part of an overall workout or in a circuit such as this one? Would you recommend medicine balls to others looking to improve their strength, explosiveness and overall fitness? Comment in the section underneath and let me know.