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10 Highly Effective Medicine Ball Exercises
You’ve seen the medicine balls at the gym and you know one or two exercises to do with them, but that’s probably where your experience ends. There are, however, plenty more exercises that pair well with medicine balls. So, let’s dive into the basics of the medicine ball and review 10 great exercises to add to your workout.
Who Can Benefit from Using a Medicine Ball?
This is one of the most common questions out there about medicine ball workouts. And it’s an easy question to answer because there are many exercises, different weights, and varying styles of medicine balls. This means a beginner all the way through an elite athlete can benefit from them. Because the exercises and the weight of the ball used will differ, it’s one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that you can incorporate into a training program.
How to Choose the Weight
To choose a weight for the medicine ball you will need to think about a few factors. First, the exercise performed will partially indicate how light or heavy you should go. Next, think about the strength of the individual—the stronger they are, the heavier the medicine ball relative to the chosen exercise. Then, consider how many reps they’ll perform—lighter for more reps and heavier for fewer.
Make sure the weight you choose does not compromise movement. Your client should be able to perform the correct number of reps in a fluid smooth manner. They should not have to compromise range of motion, form, or reps. Over time, as strength and range of motion increases, the weight of the medicine ball may also need to increase.
What Exercises are Best Performed with a Medicine Ball?
Let’s look at 10 of the top medicine ball exercises you can add to your client’s workout.
Using a medicine ball in this exercise starts with the same set-up as a standard sit-up. Begin with your back on the ground, knees bent, and feet planted on the floor. The medicine ball will be on your chest, holding it with your hands. As you sit up you will raise the ball straight up. The ball should end up straight overhead and your arms next to your ears. Return down to the starting position to complete the rep.
Begin in a seated position with the knees bent and the feet elevated off the floor. You want to start with the medicine ball in front of the chest but not touching the chest. You will twist the ball to one side without letting your feet touch the ground and keeping a stable core position. Then twist to the opposite side. Alternate back and forth for the desired number of reps performed.
Start by lying flat on your back with both arms and legs straight with the medicine ball in your hands. From there, keep a tight core and press your low back into the ground. You will then raise your arms and legs straight up at the same time. Try to touch your toes to the medicine ball at the top and then lower back down, slow and controlled.
Begin standing up, facing the wall, and holding the ball with both hands in front of your chest. Have the medicine ball touch your chest then, using your elbows, extend forward throwing the ball hard enough to contact the wall. You should catch the ball at the same chest level as it bounces back to you.
Wall Underhand Throw
Start this exercise facing the wall with feet about shoulder-width apart. Slightly bend your ankles, knees, and hips. Hold the ball at hip height on one side of the body. In one movement, extend the hips, knees, and ankles while underhand throwing the ball at the wall aiming slightly higher than where the ball is starting. Catch the rebound immediately and switch to the opposite hip, going back and forth until completing all reps.
Alternating Side Push-Ups
Begin in the standard push-up position, with your feet together and hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toes. Place the medicine ball under one hand and lower your body to the floor, pause, and then press your body back up. Once you completely extend at the top, roll the medicine ball to the other hand and repeat.
Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Slightly bend your knees and hips, holding the medicine ball straight overhead. Slam the ball as hard as you can straight down into the ground. Catch the ball as it bounces back up and repeat until completing all reps.
Stand an arm’s length away from the wall with your feet hip-width apart. Position your feet like a squat, so toes may even turn out slightly. Hold the med ball in front of your chest. Squat down to below parallel and stand back up while throwing the ball up to a target. You will catch the ball right off the wall and immediately go into the next rep. Repeat this until completing all reps.
Single-Leg Hip Bridge
Begin by laying on the ground with your back flat. Place one foot on the medicine ball and lift the other leg straight up. Push through the heel that is on the med ball and push your hips into a bridge position. Your opposite leg should drive straight up towards the ceiling. At a controlled pace, lower yourself back down to the starting position and switch sides. This is a great option to help build your glutes.
Start by standing on one leg with the opposite leg lifted so the knee is at a 90-degree angle. Hold the medicine ball close to your chest and slowly bend the knee you’re standing on. Sit back, lowering yourself down to parallel, then stand back up. Complete all reps on one side and then switch, or alternate until completing all reps.
These are just a few of the exercises that pair well with medicine balls, but hopefully they inspire you to add a medicine ball to your workouts more often. The medicine ball is a great tool to use for strength training all the way to plyometric training. And if you’re interested in learning more, check out the Strength and Conditioning Certification. It’s a great way to increase your own knowledge and is an effective addition to your personal training business.