You don’t have to shoot hoops to get a good sweat on with a medicine ball. It’s a versatile gym staple perfect for compound movements like the ones below that add up to a fast, effective total-body session when you work, rest and repeat. Whether you use a ball that bounces or a “slam” ball that stays put where it lands, be sure to choose your weight wisely because lifting, gripping and slamming even a lighter ball will put your arms, core, back and legs to the test.
Medicine-Ball Half-Kneeling Ground to Standing
- Stand tall, holding a medicine ball at chest height. Keeping your spine tall, step forward and bend your knees to lower yourself into a half kneel (one knee on ground). Make sure your knees are bent at 90-degree angles and your forward knee does not track past your toes.
- Push away from the ground to straighten your legs and stand (in a split stance).
- Lower yourself to the half-kneeling position and repeat for 60 seconds, then rest 30 seconds and switch sides.
Medicine-Ball Rotational Slam
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball at chest height. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Raise the ball overhead. Twist your torso and slam the ball down hard about 5 inches from your right foot.
- Pick up the ball (or catch it if it’s a bouncing ball), raise it overhead and slam it 5 inches from your left foot. Continue for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 30 seconds.
- Tip: Let your feet twist into the ground as you rotate your torso away for the slam.
Medicine-Ball Vertical Chop
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball firmly at chest height.
- Rise up on your toes as you lift the ball overhead.
- Keeping your arms straight, drive the ball to the floor between your feet, lowering your body into a squat. Use your trunk, hips and abs to halt the motion just before the ball contacts the floor.
- Keeping your arms straight, push through your heels as you raise the ball overhead. Continue for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat.
- Tip: Pretend you’re chopping wood with the ball.
Medicine-Ball Single-Leg Hinge and Overhead Press
- Stand tall, holding a medicine ball firmly at chest height.
- Engage your abs and keep your shoulders and hips square as you shift your weight to your left foot, hinge at your hips and lift your right leg straight behind you.
- Pause and extend your arms to press the ball “overhead.”
- Bring the ball back to your chest and slowly lower your right leg to return to standing. Continue for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat with your left leg.
Medicine-Ball Skater With Rotation
- Hold a medicine ball at chest height in an athletic “ready” stance.
- Leap to your right, rotating your torso to swing the ball to your right hip as you land softly on your right foot, letting your left foot trail behind you.
- Spring to your left, rotating your torso and swinging the ball to your left and letting your right foot trail behind you.
- Continue for 60 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat.
Medicine-Ball Single-Leg Pike
- Lie on the floor with your legs extended, and hold a medicine ball in both hands overhead.
- Engage your abs and lift your torso and left leg to try to touch the ball to your left foot.
- Lower your leg and torso to the floor. Reach up and lift your right leg to touch the ball to your foot.
- Continue for one minute. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat.
- Tip: Keep your neck neutral and try not to round your shoulders or back.
Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages, thinkstock
Videos: Tom Casey, box24studio.com
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