If you’re looking to elevate your game in terms of your fitness endeavors, you can always rely on the good old medicine ball. I’ve put together these must-knows on how you can take your exercises to the next level by completing a full-body medicine ball workout.
As we continue to search for the most effective movements in this revolving world of strength and conditioning, the medicine ball remains to be an all-around reliable piece of equipment to unlock our potential.
Not only is medicine ball training great for increasing fat-burning capacities, but it can also greatly enhance your training regimen. It will certainly give your traditional movements some incredibly effective variations.
If you’re not familiar with medicine ball training, it’s time you incorporate these workouts into your daily routine.
Medicine ball workouts are an ideal means of gaining muscular power and endurance. You also improve your functional fitness and use this newly-gained strength in actual real-life circumstances.
Just about anyone can reach for a medicine ball to improve their fitness. This versatile piece of equipment can be used at home or the gym, to meet the fitness needs of newbies and to achieve specific conditioning goals of longtime athletes.
Medicine Ball Workouts: An Overview
If you’re committed to cranking up your training plan, then you need to use the medicine ball.
Not like the traditional weights which tend to engage individual muscles, these weighted balls drive you to work hard during a complete range of motion.
The medicine ball, therefore, makes sure that it puts up a good challenge for all your muscles.
These firm rubber balls range in weight, roughly between 2 and over 20 pounds (or between 1 and 10 kilos). You can find different versions, like medicine balls with straps, with handles, slam balls, and those filled with sand.
Because of its versatility, the medicine ball has stood the test of time in terms of yielding results relating to strength, endurance, and balance.
Incorporating a medicine ball into your workout can boost your heart rate and work your core muscles. I look forward to a wide range of benefits that can be a real struggle to experience with common strength training equipment.
With medicine ball workouts, you get to immerse yourself in the benefits of both strength and cardiorespiratory training. To further boost these benefits, medicine ball training typically requires that you repeat the movements in the circuit as many times as you can in a given duration.
When working with a medicine ball, remember that your body should be able to control this uniquely shaped and weighted object. Merely trying to control this ball will already challenge your muscles and increase calorie burn.
The opportunities are endless- you can lift it overhead, throw it against a wall, use it with lunges and squats, and so much more. Medicine date balls go way back some thousands of years ago, but time has proven that it’s a fundamental tool to help you gain some real strength.
Benefits of Medicine Ball Workouts
First used by physiotherapists as part of a rehabilitation program for people suffering from injuries, the medicine ball has turned out to become one of the most popular tools for training.
With the medicine ball being the perfect all-round training equipment, here are some of the best reasons why using this weighted ball would be the best thing for your own workout regimen.
The medicine ball will be your bodybuilding partner.
Firstly, you’ll be able to step up your game with a medicine ball because it will effectively strengthen all of your major muscle groups.
Medicine ball workouts do an incredible job of strengthening muscles and keeping your body in great shape. In particular, you’ll get better at enhancing your power and conditioning, thanks to explosive movements that strengthen all your muscle groups.
If you’ve only just started using the medicine ball, I suggest you begin with a lighter weight to match your level of fitness and physical activity. Gradually, you can work your way up and increase the weight as you achieve progress.
The medicine ball will fire up your abs and increase core strength.
There’s a wide range of exercises you can do with medicine balls to help improve your abs, such as chest twists, standing twists, and sit-ups.
Also, certain athletes, like boxers, practice enduring blows to their stomach with the use of medicine balls. They will typically lie on the floor and brace their core while their exercise partner releases the ball onto their stomach.
When you combine cardio and resistance movements in a medicine ball workout, you get to burn fat and build strength fast- all while keeping your abs flat and sculpting a tight torso.
The medicine ball allows multiple planes of movement.
In most dynamic medicine ball workouts, you can experience freedom of movement. This is the type of movement found in many athletic endeavors that aren’t always found in other strength training exercises.
Movements like the bench press, squats, and deadlifts are superb enough to build strength. However, you’re limited with their single plane of movement and their restricted ability to shift power throughout your whole body.
I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t build strength with these lifts. Rather, I’m emphasizing that combining these foundational movements with medicine ball exercises will allow you to reach so much more potential in terms of movement.
You’re able to increase force production and engage your entire body through different (not just a single) planes of movement. Depending on how you will move the ball, you can transfer and project power through the medicine ball in various planes.
The medicine ball improves functional movements.
Another reason why medicine ball training has become highly popular is that they do work. These movements replicate natural everyday movements.
Aside from upping your heart rate and sculpting your muscles, medicine ball workouts will make your day-to-day tasks easier. Notice how you’re picking up a heavy object or carrying bulky shopping bags. These movements call for the same energy and muscles it will take you to lift and move a medicine ball from point A to B.
The medicine ball boosts your physical performance and preparedness.
Medicine ball workouts are perfect for physical conditioning– they’re not excessively stressful but they’re effective enough to maintain fitness.
What’s more, is that the medicine ball can really improve your speed and accuracy. In turn, this enhances your perception and awareness of how you position and move your body.
No, I wouldn’t recommend medicine ball training to condition a long-distance runner. Yes, I would incorporate it in to keep you lean for all your athletic endeavors and cope with the demands in training.
The medicine ball allows you to gain power and explosiveness.
There’s something really good about being able to throw a medicine ball as forcefully as you can. You can certainly take the next big step in your training as you develop some serious power with this equipment.
When training to increase power, it’s important to give it a fast and hard go but never forget your proper form. This alone can significantly affect the outcome of a workout.
You can transform a regular strength training exercise into power moves just by doing these moves as fast and hard as you can.
The medicine ball develops coordination and balance.
When you use medicine balls in training, you’re either thrown off to keep yourself balanced or improve your coordination.
Performing movements when off-balance greatly helps engage deeper muscle groups. They’re the ones that play a crucial role in maintaining proper posture. In turn, you’re able to exercise safely, thanks to a stronger core and back stability.
As you perform movements that stimulate an entire chain of muscles, you get to develop your inter-muscular coordination as well as gain strength in your abs and lower back muscles.
The medicine ball is safe, versatile, and fun to use.
I’m a huge advocate of doing strength and conditioning exercises that have lower risks yet guarantee with great rewards. I’ve found medicine ball workouts to be some of the simplest and safest means of gaining strength and power. Force production can effectively be transferred onto sports performance.
If you’re new to all these fitness routines, learning to perform complex lifts require a certain level of technical ability. If you don’t really possess a great deal of strength, you might set yourself up for a bad injury if you can’t do these movements properly.
On the other hand, medicine ball workouts will allow you, new and longtime athletes alike, to be able to safely produce force and gain strength through the quick use of light medicine balls.
We can wait for you to gain some strength after a few weeks before learning more complex moves with other types of training equipment.
As I’ve mentioned, the medicine ball is highly versatile and you can maximize its use for some serious power. Go for a suitable weight for a certain number of sets and repetitions.
You can also use these medicine balls for a longer time if conditioning is the goal. Going for 30-second intervals will build not only power but for endurance as well, which is a fundamental component for most sports.
Generally speaking, with these low-risk movements, medicine ball workouts are just fun to perform.
Truth be told, most people I know can enjoy medicine ball training because they quickly improve, feel good about themselves and the workout, and can completely focus on what they should be doing.
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How to Choose A Medicine Ball
As I’ve mentioned, you can find the perfect medicine ball weight depending on what your goals are as well as your level of fitness and physical activity. They should be heavy enough to give your muscles a challenge but not adversely affect your control and range of motion.
In general, you should use lighter medicine balls for speed training and heavier ones for power and strength training.
For more specific guidelines, the American Council on Exercise suggests that you should aim for at most 30 to 50 percent of your 1RM (one-rep max) in a strength training movement that’s just the same as the medicine ball exercises you’re performing.
Of course, if you’re new to medicine ball training, it’s better to reduce the weight in half until you’ve completely mastered a certain movement. Medicine ball workouts involve throwing, jumping, lunging, squatting, or other quick movements you may not be used to.
I suggest you take some time to familiarize yourself with these exercises using a lighter weight. Your efforts will pay off more effectively as you’re less likely to experience unfortunate setbacks caused by poor form or injuries.
Top Medicine Ball Workouts
Here are some of my favorite medicine ball workouts that you can perform at home if you have your own equipment or at the gym. These will definitely work and engage your entire body while building strength in various muscle groups.
If you’re already looking forward to a full-body medicine ball workout, you can complete all of these exercises for 2 sets each to get your muscles fired up.
If you don’t want to perform a full-body medicine ball workout, select some of these movements to use for your regular workout routine. This way, you can effectively switch things up and boost your game.
Sometimes, the ideal way of keeping your exercises interesting to have some good changes in your workout routine. Try incorporating something new and different- these medicine ball workouts are one incredible way of doing so!
Just remember how important it is to keep things balanced- you should also recover well during your rest days.
If you do want to perform a full-body medicine ball workout, this may mean exchanging one of your planned workouts for the week.
Benefits: It’s the perfect whole-body exercise to improve your blood flow. It’s even made more challenging when you perform it with a medicine ball.
- Begin with a plank position while keeping your medicine ball underneath your hands. This will be your starting position.
- Maintain the straightness of your back and neck as you drive your right knee upward toward your chest.
- Return to starting position and immediately drive your left knee upward toward your chest. Make sure you keep your core engaged throughout these moves.
- Alternate between your knees and go as fast as possible while maintaining proper form for 30 seconds.
Benefits: Working your shoulders, doing circles with a medicine ball will be a great challenge for your upper body. Maintain a steady, controlled movement to produce the best results.
- In a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart, hold your medicine ball straight overhead.
- Engage your core and start to extend your arms, moving in a clockwise movement so you’ll look like you’re “drawing” a circle from the time you start until you finish. Brace and twist your core throughout the movement, but keep your feet still.
- Perform 8 to 10 revolutions in one direction, then do another 8 to 10 in the other direction.
Benefits: This movement makes sure you’re getting the ab work you need. Twist your entire trunk to each side to make the most of this exercise.
- In a sitting position, bend your legs at a 45-degree angle in front of you with your feet touching the ground. Extend your arms and hold your medicine ball in front of you.
- Engage your core and twist your torso. Simultaneously move the ball to your left side until it almost touches the floor.
- Return to your initial position, and then repeat on your right side. One set can take 20 reps (10 for each side).
Benefits: Engaging your body from one side to the other is as important as working movement front to back. That’s why side lunges with your medicine ball are a good movement to incorporate.
- In a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart, hold your medicine ball at your chest. This will be your starting position.
- Take a step to your right side. As your foot reaches the floor, bend your right knee and keep your hip sitting back as if in a one-legged squat position. Your left leg should be kept straight.
- Keep your chest up and don’t lean forward.
- Push off your weight through your right foot and go back to your starting position. Repeat on your left side. One set can take 20 reps (10 for each side).
- You can perform the side lunge with an additional movement, the chest reach, as shown in the video below.
Benefits: If regular push-ups aren’t that challenging for you, you can always take it up a notch and perform the exercise with a medicine ball. You’ll certainly experience an intense stretch in your chest! Make sure you perform the same number of reps on each side and that you’re moving in a pain-free range of motion.
- Begin in a push-up position. Rather than your right hand resting on the ground, place a medicine ball underneath it. You can tuck out your elbows just a little bit more than you would in a regular pushup. However, make sure your back and neck remain in a proper neutral form. Pay attention to your core stability as you lower your chest towards the ground.
- Finish the pushup by pushing yourself back to the starting position. Roll the ball to your left hand and repeat the same movement. Do the same number of reps on both sides.
Full-Body Medicine Ball Workout
In less than 30 minutes and using just a medicine ball, you can perform this full-body medicine ball workout that targets strength building, balance, agility, and toning.
I love this routine because it will certainly give your balancing skills a challenge. The added weight also increases the resistance in each exercise. As you control a weighted, unstable object, you’re always changing your center of gravity. This is perfect for reducing your risks of injury and improving your balance and agility.
You have 8 various exercises in this full-body medicine ball workout, and you can perform these movements three times through. These include medicine ball push-ups and Russian twists along with rotational lunges, squat passes, crossover passes, slams, three-point squats, and crunches.
In between each exercise, you get to take a 10-second rest to prepare yourself for the next movement. Make sure you do some light warm-up, like cardio of 5 to 10 minutes, before starting this workout.
You can perform this full-body medicine ball workout 3 or 4 times a week.
If you experience muscle soreness (it’s bound to happen especially if it’s your first time trying these exercises with this equipment), it’s best to give your muscles time to recover. You can do low-impact cardio instead or perhaps another routine that will engage a different muscle group.
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Hi, I’m David and I believe absolutely anyone can achieve the body of their dreams. I’m a qualified health and fitness coach and have been helping clients achieve their dream bodies for 15 years. Whether you are looking to get beach body ready, compete in a bodybuilding show or simply to improve your confidence and wellbeing, I can help.