If you’ve never tried a medicine ball workout, now’s your chance. Adding a weighted ball to your existing workout routine adds resistance, effectively sculpting your muscles and nearly doubling the amount of calories burned.
Holding, lifting and balancing — all while holding a 3 to 10-pound weighted ball — creates an ab-flattening, core-shredding workout. Best of all, you’ll get it done in just three exhausting moves.
1. Medicine Ball Crunch
Lay on your back the floor with the knees bent. Hold a medicine ball in both hands, at arms length, pointing to the ceiling. Slowly lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Keep the ball at arms length and the chin at the same distance from the chest at all times. Slowly return to the starting position. Burn calories and build explosive speed with this move. Beginners should start with a lower weight and work up towards a higher one. You’ll want to do 3 to 4 sets of 20 reps each for this one.
2. Clean And Press
This move definitely works your full body: legs, torso, core, shoulders, chest, back and arms. With one foot propped on a weight bench behind you, prepare to do a lunge. In the clean and press starting position (straight-standing leg), hold the medicine ball above your head. Bend your standing leg to a 90 degree angle for the lunge. As you deepen into the lunge, lower the ball to chest-height and let the weight of the ball help you lower deeper into the lunge. With an explosive movement, come out of the lunge as you heave the ball up over your head again. Maintaining balance and control over the ball is what makes your core work the hardest. Do 3 sets of 15 reps each leg. You will feel this one in the morning.
3. Mountain Climbers
This move has been around forever and is a great full-body workout on its own. The basics of the Mountain climber move go as follows: In a push-up position, bring one knee in towards your chest (or as high as you can manage); return your leg to the starting position and repeat on the other side. To add intensity and increase the effectiveness of this move, place your hands on a medicine ball instead of the floor. If you maintain your balance during these fast-twitch movements you will double the calories burned as well as engage and challenge your core muscle groups.
Medicine Ball Tips
When using a weighted medicine ball, proper form is a must. Here are three important tips:
- Never arch your back – if you’re having trouble keeping your glutes tight and hips tucked forward during these workouts, chances are the medicine ball is too heavy. Try the same move with a lighter weight.
- Always warm up first – if you’re adding a medicine ball to a normally-lower body workout, make sure you warm up your shoulders, arm and chest muscles beforehand. Otherwise, you risk injury.
- Only do full-body medicine ball workouts with a day of rest (or other exercise) in between.
There are endless ways a medicine ball can be used to increase the intensity and effectiveness of your workouts. Remember, the warm-up and cool-down phase is equally important as the workout itself, so be diligent with them. Above all else, have fun with it — toss the weighted medicine ball between you and a workout buddy for a fun, but highly effective start to your workout routine!