A medicine ball is a weighted ball that you can use to perform a lot of different exercises. Medicine ball exercises are particularly effective for targeting and toning your core and ab muscles. Here’s why the medicine ball is one of my favorite pieces of fitness equipment:
1. It allows you to do a lot of different exercises.
2. It helps target your smaller, stabilizer muscles you don’t use as often.
3. It’s great for sports training and rehabilitation from injury.
4. It’s cheap. You can grab one on Amazon for around $30.
So let’s look at some of my favorite medicine ball exercises.
10 best medicine ball exercises (and how to do them)
1. Power Squat:
Hold the ball out in front of you, and make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and your back is slightly arched. Lower into the squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor and push back up with your legs (be sure to focus on using your legs and not your back). A more advanced version of this medicine ball exercise involves keeping the ball raised overhead throughout the movement. This engages the whole body and really works your core and stomach muscles. Complete as many reps as possible.
2. Medicine Ball Crunch
Start by lying on the floor with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Holding the medicine ball overhead, raise yourself up slowly, using your abs and midsection to brace yourself. Reach the ball as far as you can at the top of the movement and lower yourself back down. Do 10-12 repetitions.
3. Russian Twists
Start by sitting on the floor and lifting your feet off of the ground. Hold the medicine ball out in front of you and twist from side to side, rowing the medicine ball like you’re paddling a canoe. Aim for 10 repetitions per side. This is one the best exercises for working your abs, core, and lower back.
4. Walking Lunge
Holding the medicine ball in front of you in a standing position, start by stepping forward with one foot and “lunging" until your thigh is nearly parallel with the floor (or as far down as you can). Next, step with your other foot, walking across the floor as far as space allows and then turning around until you have taken 20 total steps (or as many as you can complete). For added difficulty, try holding the ball overhead, which activates more core muscles.
5. Medicine Ball Explosive Bench Press
Start by lying flat on the floor with you knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Hold the medicine ball at chest level and push up, pushing the ball into the air as far as you can and catching it on the way down. Complete as many reps as possible. This works your chest, shoulder, and core muscles.
6. Medicine Ball Pull-Overs
Lie on a bench with your lower back supported and stabilized holding a medicine ball straight up in the air. Slowly lower the medicine ball behind your head as far as you can. Squeeze your chest and triceps as you bring the ball back to the original position above your chest. This exercise works your chest, triceps, core, and back muscles.
7. Chest Pass
Stand up, holding a medicine ball at chest height. Tighten up your core area to stabilize it and powerfully push the ball away from your chest towards a wall, 4-6 feet away. Catch the ball at chest height and repeat for at least 10 repetitions, or as many as you can. This exercise works your chest, shoulders, arms, and core muscles.
8. Turkish Get-up
Lie with your back flat on the floor and your legs bent so you feet are flat on the floor too. Raise the medicine ball overhead with one hand, and use your other hand to push off the floor and raise your body up to a standing position. Keep the arm with the medicine ball straight overhead throughout the movement. Get back down on the ground and repeat the movement while holding the medicine ball in your other hand. Do as many reps as possible. This is one of the best “total body” medicine ball exercises.
Get into a pushup position and place both your hands on the medicine ball. Slowly lower yourself down and back up. Do as many reps as possible. This exercise works your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles.
Start in a standing position holding the medicine ball on your right shoulder. Slowly bring the ball down diagonally across your body toward your left knee, like you’re chopping wood. Use your body to rotate through the movement. Raise the ball back up to the starting position. Do 10 repetitions and then switch and do 10 repetitions starting with the ball on your other shoulder.
Want More Tips on Getting Tight and Toned?
This article is #11 in my free 12-part tutorial called “Exercise 101: How to Get In Shape“.
Next up is article #12, where you’ll see a chart that shows you how many calories you burn with different exercises.
Or you can go back to article #10 and find out what the research says about the 10 most effective ab exercises.