There are hardly any gyms where one cannot find a Medicine ball. The Medicine ball has become a staple for every gym and is a very simple contraption- essentially being a weighted basketball. The weight and size vary, and some balls can weigh up to 150 pounds and be 36 inches in diameter.
A Medicine ball is used to build explosive strength by letting a user throw, catch, press, and slam. The use of medicine balls is not limited to weight training, as it plays a vital role in sports medicine and there is a game centered on it. The Hooverball is a game created by Joel T Boone- who happened to be President Herbert Hoover’s physician- with the intention of keeping the president fit. The game is played similar to tennis with a medicine ball being thrown and caught; needless to say, the game can be very physically demanding.
Wondering from where you can get the medicine ball. Click here to find out the top picks.
So how do we grab the right medicine ball for the job? For example to perform an overhead press choose a medicine ball that weighs enough to be challenging for the press; not to the point that your shoulders are hurting just lifting it.
Before throwing the ball make sure you have sufficient space to move around in – for an overhead throw one has to step back, so the ball has ample room to land. Just let your fellow gymnasts know that you plan on slinging a weighted ball around.
Full Body Exercises
- Rock and Roll Up
The first item on the list calls for all your coordination to do a smooth, seamless rep. Begin lying down on the mat with your chest facing the ceiling. Arms are extended overhead holding the Medicine ball resting on the floor. Bring the knees in towards the chest and engaging the core, swinging the ball off of the mat while reaching forward with both hands to bring yourself up into a low squat. Push through the feet to come to a standing position. Lower down to a squat, lean back, lie down and start again.
- Lunge with Overhead press
Stand with the feet hip distance apart and the medicine ball in front of your chest. Lift the right foot up and step forward into a lunge allowing both legs to bend at the knee – making sure the left knee does not touch the floor. While shifting your weight forward and allowing the body to lunge forward raise the ball straight up. When you step out of the lunge, lower the arms back down, coming back to start and repeating on the other leg.
- Lunge with twist
Step into a deep lunge with the right foot, allowing the left knee to rest on the ground. Engage the core and extended the arms forward with the medicine ball in the center. Rotate the torso to the left and then to the right, in a calm and controlled manner.
- Squat Press and Throw
Hold the medicine ball at chest level squat down. Push through your feet to jump up. As you’re driving through the heels, transfer the momentum to the ball throwing it straight up, stepping out of the way. Let the ball hit the floor and repeat. Imagine doing a keg toss, where the keg is a Medicine ball.
- Reverse Swing
Start by holding the ball at chest level with the elbows pointing towards the ground. Squat down letting the arms drop, keeping the back straight and reaching the ball back through the legs. Reach up swinging the arms forward, while explosively driving the legs up. Keep swinging the arms to the point the ball goes over and behind the head. Don’t let go of the ball as it will do some serious damage. The movement is similar to a caber toss.
- Single-leg Squat
This move requires a solid balance. Hold the medicine ball at chest level. Raise the right foot off the floor and begin squatting down. As you’re lowering ensure that the right foot stays off the floor. It is absolutely vital that the left knee doesn’t pass over the toes. Press up to standing, switch legs and repeat. That’s a rep.
- Reaching Romanian Deadlift
Position yourself with feet hip distance apart, the medicine ball between your hands in front of you. Step forward with the right foot, the knee bent extending the arms forward and the left leg back. The arms, head, back, and left leg will be in line with the right leg perpendicular to the rest of the body. Return the left leg to the floor, bringing the chest upright, switching legs and repeating on the other side.
- Single Leg Hip Raise
Lie down on the floor with the knees bent and ankles close to the glutes – back on the floor. Extend the arms straight up while holding the medicine ball. Extend the left leg towards the ceiling and hold. Push into the right foot to raise the hips off the ground, hold for a moment and lower yourself. Switch legs and repeat.
- Step Jump
It will get the legs fired up, building strength and blitzing fat. Hold the medicine ball in front of the heart. Squat down and with your all push off of the floor; feet coming completely off the ground, before landing in a natural wide stance. Lower and repeat.
- Circle Squat
Stand with the hands extended overhead grasping the medicine ball. Start rotating the arms in a clockwise motion, while squatting up and down. When you are squatting, lean on the side that your arms are pointing towards. Reverse the motion and repeat.
Chest and back
- Rolling Push-Up
Mastering this move requires control, balance and the fear of face planting the floor. Get into a plank with the medicine ball under your left hand. Lower the chest and perform a push-up. Place the ball under the right hand lower and push-up. If you face difficulty while performing, then drop to the knees and try completing a set.
- Medicine Ball Push-up
Triceps won’t know what hit them. This variation of a push-up leaves your shoulders and triceps screaming in agony. Start by getting into a plank with the medicine ball lying on the floor directly under your chest. Place both palms on the medicine ball. Lower yourself down while keeping the elbows close to your sides and push up. If the intensity is too much feel free to lower your knees on to a mat.
- Weighted Superman
Lie belly down on a mat. Extend the arms forward with a medicine ball between the hands. Engage the core and raise both legs and arms off the ground. Hold for a few seconds and lower yourself down. Repeat for a rewarding back workout.
- Lying Chest Toss
For this move, you’ll need two medicine balls. Place one on the floor and lie down on it with your chest facing the ceiling- the ball has both shoulder blades resting on it. The legs are bent, and the torso is parallel to the floor. The second ball will be in your hands above your chest. Push through the arms and chest to throw the ball up and catch. You should use enough force that the ball moves a few inches above your fully extended arms. Do not push too hard as what goes up must come down.
- Wall Pass
Time to let some steam out. Stand three to four feet away from a wall while facing it. Be sure to ask a gym trainer what would be the best place to perform this exercise. Lower yourself into a semi squat and bring the medicine ball in front of your heart. With all your might throw the ball against the wall. Retrieve and repeat.
Shoulders and arms
- Shoulder press
An effortless and straightforward move, perfect for beginners. While the shoulders do most of the lifting, the upper pectoral muscles and triceps will be engaged along the way too. Start by holding a medicine ball at chest level. Press straight up till your arms are fully extended. Hold for a pause and lower down, pressing back up for another rep.
- Figure 8
Not much explanation required. Extend your arms over head holding a medicine ball. Start moving the arms like you’re trying to draw a big 8 in a clockwise motion. Reverse direction and repeat.
- Ball Fly
For this move, you’ll need an exercise ball. Lay the upper body on the exercise ball, chest facing the ceiling. Extend both arms straight up holding the medicine ball. Take the ball in your left hand; moving the arm towards the left – like doing a chest fly- bringing it back to the center, switching hands and repeating on the other side.
- Triceps Extension
Stand with the arms extended above your head holding a medicine ball. Allow the arms to bend at the elbow, bringing the ball behind the head. Press straight up to return to start and repeat.
- Biceps curl
Stand with the arms hanging freely with a medicine ball in hand. Keeping the entire body rigid, allow the forearms to come up towards the chest – only bending at the elbows. Lower and repeat.
Lie down on a mat with the arms extended overhead holding a medicine ball. Engage the core and lift the legs and arms, like you’re trying to grab your toes. Forming a “v” shape; lower yourself back down and repeat.
- Overhead Slam
Position yourself for a triceps extension. However, instead of pressing straight up, channel all your strength into bringing the ball from the back of the head to the front and slamming it down with full force. When the arms go past the shoulders lean in slightly, the knees bent and back perfectly straight.
- Crunch with Hold
Lie back down on a mat. The legs extended fully pointed towards the ceiling. The arms will be overhead holding a medicine ball, begin by raising the arms and crunching up – like you want to touch your ankles with the ball. Hold briefly, lower yourself back down and repeat.
- Straight leg Sit Up
Lie with the back flat against the mat and arms holding a medicine ball right above the hips. Engage the core and lift both legs up pointing them towards the ceiling – your body will resemble the letter L. Lower the legs in a controlled manner and repeat.
- Hay Bailer
The last and final item on today’s list will leave your core hot and aching. Lunge forward with the right leg, left knee resting against the floor. Holding the ball in both hands at the right hip, start moving the ball from the right hip up and diagonally past the left shoulder. Bring back to start and repeat. Make sure to work out both sides and for an extra burn extend the arms as much as you can through the movement.