PHOTOGRAPY BY DAVE LAUS
MUAH BY TWO CHICKS AND SOME LIPSTICK

We all know that dumbbells and kettlebells are great tools to help you build muscle, shed fat and elevate your metabolism. But, did you know that using a medicine ball during a workout is one of the best ways to amp up your fitness regime?

The benefits

What is so special about using a medicine ball? Well, it is perfect for core training since it allows you to move and balance weight in ways dumbbells often cannot. The ball also creates an unstable surface during exercises like pushups, which forces you to stabilize your body more than usual, causing greater muscle activation than traditional weights.

Finally, the medicine ball can really help you improve and master your coordination, because if you shift your focus even for a second while doing exercises like the plank leg lift, you risk taking a tumble to the floor.

(We’ve got more Home Work-In routines here.

Give yourself a challenge

How heavy does the ball need to be? You want to find something that’s going to feel comfortably challenging—something that will really make you work hard while still allowing you to maintain perfect form and technique. Don’t worry, if this is your first crack at a medicine ball workout, even a light ball can deliver an intense workout that burns fat and builds athletic power.

The workout

The medicine ball workout I’ve set up for you will tackle your whole body from head to toe—we’re talking legs, upper body, glutes and core! To get the best results, I suggest you do each exercise for one minute, blasting through as many reps as you can while maintaining pristine form. In between each exercise, take a 30-second break to rehydrate and calm your breath as efficiently as possible. 

Once you’ve pushed through the sequence and you’ve finished the last move, take a 90-second break and then repeat the circuit three to five times, depending on your skill level. Since this is a full-body workout, aim to do it on non-consecutive days, two to four times a week depending on what other physical activity you plan to do!

All of the moves in this workout can be done without a medicine ball, so if you’re struggling to build confidence or strength, listen to your body and layer in the medicine ball as you see fit.

Ball squat

Stand with your feet 4–6 inches wider than your shoulders, with your toes pointed out at a 45° angle.

Hold the medicine ball in towards your chest.

While keeping your back straight, lower yourself by bending at the knees and hips as if you are sitting down in a chair.

Aim to get parallel to the floor.

Return to the starting position by pressing upwards and extending your legs while squeezing your glutes.

Repeat.

Medicine ball pushups

Get into plank position, with your hands on the ball, your legs out behind you and your feet shoulder-width apart.

Grasp the ball with your hands placed at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock.

Engage your core, bend your elbows and lower your upper body towards the ball.

Pause briefly at the bottom and then slowly push yourself back up to the starting position.

Repeat.

Ball lunge knee tuck

Begin standing tall with your feet hip-width apart and the medicine ball held in towards your chest.

Extend your right leg back behind you and lower into a lunge, maintaining 90° angles in both legs.

Engage your glutes and push back to standing; instead of returning your foot to the floor, drive your knee toward your chest.

Hold for several seconds and then return to starting position.

Alternate sides with each rep.

Medicine ball plank leg lifts

 

Begin in high plank with your hands on the medicine ball, directly under the center of your chest.

Keeping your elbows soft, feet wide, spine long and your abs tight, slowly lift your right foot a couple of feet off the floor.

Gently return your foot to the floor and alternate sides with each rep.

Ball Russian twists

 

Lie down on the floor with your knees bent.

Elevate your upper body so that it creates a v-shape with your thighs, grasping the medicine ball in towards your chest.

Contract your core and twist your torso to the right side while breathing out.

Hold the twist for a second and then move back to starting position while once again breathing out.

Alternate sides with each rep.

Medicine ball single leg bridge

 

Lie face up with your right knee bent and your right foot resting on top of the medicine ball.

Rest your hands on the floor with your palms facing down and extend your right foot toward the ceiling.

Push through your right heel to raise your hips as high as you can off the floor.

Pause at the top and then slowly lower your hips back to the mat.

Alternate sides with each rep.

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