I couldn't text "Yes" fast enough when a friend sent out a mass text to our group offering up her medicine ball to any eager home gym takers. Lucky for me, my eagerness paid off, and I snagged the secondhand medicine ball to round out my home gym a little more. There was one problem: I didn't really know what to do with the new 12-pound addition in my life.
I reached out to NASM-CPT personal trainer and Crunch Fitness Manager Bente Smart to devise a medicine ball workout that will get me sweating, and let's just say: mission accomplished. "Working with medicine balls not only can serve as an interesting alternative to dumbbells and other resistance equipment but also helps to develop coordination and balance," Smart explained. "It also helps to develop explosive power and overall build body strength."
See the workout that's been making me sweat through my Armour® Mid Crossback Sports Bra ($35). Complete all four exercises in a circuit for three rounds to feel that all over burn.
Ball Slams (Burns calories, increases cardio, develops explosive power and strength):
- Stand with your feet shoulder length apart and knees bent.
- Holding the ball in your hands, lift the ball up over your head.
- Throw the ball down in front of your feet while coming down into a squat, being sure to use your legs here and not just your arms. (Editor note: If you're in an apartment, try taking this move outside to a local park.)
- Catch the ball when it bounces off the floor and start again.
- Repeat for 10-15 reps.
Ball Twists (Strengthens the core and obliques):
- Sit down and hold the ball in your hands.
- Lift your feet off the ground and sit on your tailbone (or modify for more beginners by resting your heels lightly on the floor).
- Lean back keeping your chest up and your back flat.
- Twist your torso right to left touching the ball to the ground on each side, making sure that you are not just moving your arms side to side but are twisting at the torso as much as you can.
- Keep that core tight and relax your shoulders
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Squat to Overhead Press (Works the full body from the glutes and legs to the shoulders and core):
- Stand with the ball at chest height, feet shoulder-width apart in a squat stance.
- Go into a squat holding your chest up and the ball close to the body.
- Come to standing and squeeze your glutes and press the ball overhead, making sure your abs are engaged to protect your back.
- Bring the ball back to chest height and repeat.
- Repeat for 10-15 reps.
Lunge to Twist (Works the full body from the glutes and legs to the shoulders and core):
- From a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold the ball close to your chest.
- Step out with your right foot into a lunge position.
- As you step out, press the ball out in front of you.
- Once at the bottom of the lunge position, rotate to the right 90 degrees.
- Return the ball to center.
- As you push off your right foot to standing, bring the ball back to your chest.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps, alternating legs for the lunge.