A medicine ball is one of those soccer ball sized, weighted balls that boxers, amongst others, use to improve their fitness. You would have seen the trainer throwing the ball at the boxer, who catches it, does a sit-up and throws it back. In that case the exercise is plyometric, and incredibly good for core power, such as countering a punch, or learning back to avoid a punch, then countering. Reading this article will teach you how medicine ball exercises will benefit you, as well as giving you some ideas of compound exercises that you might do, that will really get you results. We will be straight to the point, and give you some information, although this article could not possibly address all the possible exercises.
The incredible flexibility of this gym equipment is many-fold, because it is round, it is harder to hold, and therefore will engage more of the arms and chest to hold the ball tightly enough to prevent you from dropping it. The core is also engaged to keep the torso stable, and if you add in an exercise such as a squat, a sit-up, a press-up, then you have already partially exhausted the muscle before that exercise is performed. Overall this means that whenever you use the medicine ball, you are performing compound exercises, which we all know builds more functional strength, muscle, and burns more calories. The other really great thing with medicine ball exercises are that you do not have any time to relax, your muscles need to be tense to hold the ball, and whilst you’re not holding the ball, you are performing some other exercise. If you were to perform this as part of a circuit, the medicine ball exercises certainly would be very intense. So what medicine ball exercises can you do, that are also effective compound exercises, and burn lots of calories and fat? Here are a few really great exercises:
- Medicine Ball Exercises 1: Russian Twist – Hold the ball in front of you at waist height at arm’s length from you with your arms slightly bent. Move the ball to the left, still in line with the waist, but as far around to the left as you can do – twist your feet to help with the range of motion. Make sure that you keep your abs tight, and tucked in, and use your core to make the movement. Now do the same to the right, and repeat. If this is too easy, perform the same exercise where you are standing on one leg once the weight is off your back leg, by lifting it up.
- Medicine Ball Exercises 2: Figure of Eights – Hold the ball in line with your ears, and your arms extended outwards, but slightly bent to your left side. Move the ball to your thigh level on your right side, then up to ear level on the right side (as you were when you started, but opposite side) then to the thigh level on the left side. The movement should form a figure eight – make sure that you keep your abdominal muscles tight and tucked in, and use your core to stabilize your torso.
- Medicine Ball Exercises 3: Medicine Ball Squat – Hold the ball at arm’s length throughout the exercise. Squat down so that your upper and lower legs are at ninety degrees, then slowly return to the start position. If this is too easy, start with the ball close to your chest, and as you squat, push the ball above your head, then return it to the start position, as you return from the squatted position.
- Medicine Ball Exercises 4: Medicine Ball Push Up – Start in the push-up position but with one hand on the ball, and the other on the floor. Perform ordinary push ups. Swap arms. If this is too easy, try putting both hands on the ball, gripping the top of the ball and doing push-ups. If this is too easy try returning to one hand on the floor, one on the ball, and push hard out of the push-up, and land with the other hand on the ball. Repeat.
- Medicine Ball Exercises 5: Throwing Push-up – Start on your knees with the medicine ball at chest level. Throw the ball forward as hard as you can do against a wall, or to a training partner to throw back. As you fall forward after releasing the ball, perform a push-up on your knees, and push out of the push-up hard, so that you are back upright on your knees ready to catch the ball and perform the next repetition.
There are many other compound exercises that can be done with a medicine ball. Far too many to list here, but we hope that this gives you a decent set of medicine ball exercises to work with to start you off, and that will build strong lean muscle fast.