Adding some extra resistance to your strength-training routine can offer the results you're looking for, so bring a medicine ball into the mix! Challenge your whole body and update your workout with the following moves.
There are two variations of this exercise: one for core stability and one for torso mobility. To start, grab a medicine ball that's between five and 15 pounds. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, making sure your knees are not locked.
- Start with the ball at chest level, and slowly write the cursive alphabet in front of you.
- While your arms move around in all sorts of angles, you need to use your abs to keep your torso still. Think of keeping the area between your ribs and pelvis solid.
- For a more advanced version, try this move while standing on a BOSU.
- Start with the ball at chest level, but increase the range of motion of your arms by making your alphabet larger and using your torso and rib cage to write the letters as well.
- Keep your abs engaged the entire time, and start with a lighter medicine ball. For more of a challenge, try this version in a squat or a lunge.
- Start with your feet a little wider than hip's distance apart, keeping the knees slightly bent, and bring a five- to 10-pound medicine ball to your left shoulder.
- On an exhale, pull abs to spine, and "chop" the ball down diagonally across your body toward your right knee. Imagine you're chopping some wood at this angle and the ball is your axe — the move is a bit percussive.
- Focus on the rotation initiating in your torso. Remember you are moving with force but control. Don't give in to the momentum of swinging the ball around.
- Control the ball back up to the starting position. This completes one rep.
Reverse Lunge With Twist
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart. Grasp a five- to 10-pound medicine ball between both hands, your arms outstretched in front.
- Keep your core stable and weight on your heels. Take a large step back with your right foot, planting your foot and then lowering your body until both legs are bent in right angles.
- As you sink into the lunge, twist your torso to the left and over your left leg.
- Bring your torso back to center, and exhale as you extend your legs. Bring your feet back together, and then repeat with your left leg, this time twisting to the right.
- This completes one rep.
- Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart with a slight bend in your knees. Keeping your spine in neutral, lift a five- to eight-pound medicine ball overhead.
- Begin to circle the ball to the right, in the largest circles you can make, while maintaining a still and stable torso.
- Circle eight times to the right; then repeat, circling eight times to the left. This completes one set.
Double Crunch Pulse With Medicine Ball
- Begin lying on your back with your legs in the air, toes toward the ceiling, holding the five- to 10-pound medicine ball over your chest. Engage your abs to press your lower back into the mat while lifting your head, neck, and upper back off the mat.
- Exhale, and round your lower back, so the bottom of the pelvis raises as you lift your upper body an inch higher off the mat. Aim the medicine ball higher up your leg as you perform this double crunch, engaging both the upper and lower abs.
- Inhale, and lower your pelvis and upper back an inch toward the floor. This completes one rep.
One-Arm Med-Ball Push-Up
- Start in a plank position with your left hand on a five- to 10-pound medicine ball.
- Keeping your torso square to the floor, perform a push-up by bending and straightening both arms. This completes one rep. Remember to duplicate this move with the medicine ball on your right side.
- If a traditional push-up is too challenging, then lower your knees to the floor.
- Begin in plank position with your toes resting on a five- to 10-pound medicine ball.
- Keeping your core engaged, bend and straighten your arms to complete a push-up. This completes one rep.