7 Medicine Ball Exercises To Try Today
Who would’ve thought you could get a killer workout with a heavier version of a playground toy? The humble medicine ball looks deceptively plain, but it packs quite the punch when it’s used in functional training. By following just a couple of exercises to do with a medicine ball, also known as a weight ball, you can easily enjoy a workout that targets your entire body.
The best medicine ball exercises work by throwing you off balance, such as when you have to lift the ball overhead or rotate diagonally with it. You must engage your core to stabilize the movement while activating plenty of other muscles, too.
Looking to turn up the intensity of your daily workout? With a greater focus on core stabilization and creative movement patterns, these medicine ball exercises have you covered.
#1 Rolling Pushups
The rolling pushup using a medicine ball is a twist on the classic push-up, working the same muscles—your arms, core, shoulders, and chest.1 To avoid injury, ensure that you’re practicing each rolling push up properly:2
- Step 1 – Start in a plank position with your left palm on the floor and your right palm on top of the medicine ball. Your hands should fall directly below your shoulders, and the arm that’s placed on the medicine ball should be bent to ensure your chest is leveled.
- Step 2 – As you lower your chest to the floor, bend at your elbows and keep your core engaged and your body straight. You can also choose to keep your knees bent on the floor as you lower your torso to the ground. As you lower your body, breathe in deeply.
- Step 3 – Once your chest brushes the floor, push your body up to the starting position by engaging your arms, chest, shoulders, and core. Breathe out while pushing up.
- Step 4 – Roll your medicine ball to your other hand, and repeat the same movement with the ball underneath your left hand. This counts as a single repetition.
#2 Overhead Slams
Ever wanted to get the frustration of your day out in a workout? Nothing works quite as well as lifting a heavy ball high up in the sky and slamming it on the floor. A medicine ball slam is great for catharsis and activates the muscles in your back, shoulders, glutes, core, and legs.3
Unless you possess superhuman strength, don’t worry about damaging your floor. A medicine slam ball (unlike a medicine wall ball) is made to be thrown around. Here’s how to perform a medicine ball slam correctly:4
- Step 1 – Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet hip-width apart as you hold the slam ball with two hands directly overhead.
- Step 2 – In front of you, slam the ball to the ground as hard as you can while engaging your upper back, abs, and glutes.
- Step 3 – After it bounces once, catch the ball and raise it back over your head. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.
#3 Medicine Ball Crunches
The only difference between a regular crunch and a medicine ball crunch is that the latter involves holding a medicine ball above chest height while you perform each crunch. This movement not only strengthens your core muscles but also works your arms in the process.5
Here’s how to perform a medicine ball crunch correctly:6
- Step 1 – Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Hold the medicine ball with extended arms above your chest.
- Step 2 – Curl your head and shoulders and engage your core muscles while you lift your torso off the floor. While doing this, breathe out and lift the ball with you, bringing it in front of you as you reach a sit-up position.
- Step 3 – Lower your back down to the starting position while breathing in and allow the ball to move over your chest. Practice this movement for the desired number of repetitions.
#4 Lunge Twist
This compound movement works your glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, abs, and quadriceps.7 It’s an easy exercise to incorporate in med ball workouts since it targets multiple lower body muscle groups while training core stabilization.
Here’s how to correctly perform a lunge twist:8
- Step 1 – With your feet shoulder-width apart, step forward with your right foot and lower into a classic lunge position where you bend your forward knee while keeping your back knee off the ground. Avoid letting the forward knee extend past your toes.
- Step 2 – The medicine ball will be held directly in front of you with your arms extended. Now, twist only your upper body to the right side. Breathe out while twisting and engage your glutes and core as you do. Ensure you are not rotating your knee outwards or inwards as you twist. The medicine ball will remain in front of your chest at all times.
- Step 3 – In a controlled and slow manner, bring your torso and arms back to the center while breathing in.
- Step 4 – Bring your right foot back in and return to your starting position before repeating this movement on the left side. This counts as a single repetition.
#5 Medicine Ball Shoulder Press
A shoulder press is a killer upper-body exercise that strengthens your balance and stability, posture, shoulders, and back.9 Although it is typically done with rubber-coated dumbbells or neoprene dumbbells, here’s how to correctly perform a shoulder press using a medicine ball:10
- Step 1 – Hold your medicine ball about an inch in front of your chest.
- Step 2 – Slowly breathe out while pushing your arms to the ceiling, keeping the ball directly overhead.
- Step 3 – Slowly lower the ball back to the initial position as you breathe in. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.
#6 Figure 8s
This movement is a great addition to your ab routine. It works your oblique muscles and your shoulders, particularly your deltoids and trapezius muscles.11 To correctly perform Figure 8s using the medicine ball follow these steps:12
- Step 1 – With both your hands, hold the medicine ball with your arms extended in front of your torso. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart to avoid losing your balance or rocking back and forth while performing the exercise.
- Step 2 – Slowly move the medicine ball in a continuous pattern, forming the number eight in front of you. Your abdominal muscles should be engaged the entire time, similar to how they are during a plank.
- Step 3 – Keep breathing deeply as you perform making one ‘eight’ pattern. This counts as a single repetition.
- Step 4 – Repeat this for the desired number of repetitions on one side. Then perform the same movement by switching the direction of movement to the other side.
#7 Single-Leg Glute Bridges on Medicine Ball
This medicine ball workout isolates one of the strongest muscles in your body: the glutes.13 When you perform single-leg glute bridges using the medicine ball, you can also improve your balance and core strength.
Here’s how to correctly perform a single-leg glute bridge using a medicine ball:14
- Step 1 – Lay with your back on the ground with both knees bent. Place one foot on your medicine ball and lift the other leg up off the floor pointing upward toward the ceiling.
- Step 2 – Breathe out while pushing your hips up using your heel on the medicine ball, and engage the glutes as you reach your bridge position. Aim to drive the up-facing leg further toward the ceiling.
- Step 3 – Breathe in as you slowly bring your hips back down to starting position. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.
Things to Remember When Using a Medicine Ball
Once you’ve narrowed down what size medicine ball is best for you, it’s important to maintain proper form to improve the efficiency of your workout and avoid any injury. To that end, here are three tips to remember when incorporating a weighted ball into your workout routine:
- Select the right ball – Not all medicine balls are made to be slammed on the ground. In fact, this is why you’ll want to examine the differences between using a medicine ball vs slam ball to determine which will fit your workout needs. Secondly, the weight of the medicine ball you select should challenge you, but it shouldn’t be too heavy that you’re unable to lift it over your head. Since a weighted ball comes in one-pound increments, you’ll be able to find a weight that works best for you. For beginners, it’s recommended to start with 4-pound, 6-pound, or 8-pound medicine balls.15
- Mix up both static and dynamic movements – Using a medicine ball for static movements like wall-sits or supermans engage multiple muscles for an extended period. Alternatively, dynamic movements like squats, pushups, or shoulder presses can improve strength and increase your range of motion. To that end, you can make the most out of your med ball exercises by incorporating a lineup of both static and dynamic muscle training workouts.
- Plan with intensity and coordination in mind – Most movements using medicine balls are explosive, such as overhead slams, rotational throws, and chest passes. However, these movements also require good coordination. When planning a workout using a medicine ball, ensure that you create a sustainable routine that lets you reach your max intensity.16 This strategy allows you to steadily build up to the level of coordination that supports a full range of motion. As an example, you can start with simpler movements like overhead slams and eventually build up to more challenging movements like a total body push throw.
Get the Most Out Of Your Workout With Tru Grit
Incorporating a medicine ball into your workout routine can support your fitness goals, whether that’s building strength in your entire body or improving your balance and posture.
If you’re looking to diversify your workout, Tru Grit has you covered with our lineup of wall and slam medicine balls for the functional training enthusiast in you.
Our medicine balls come in a broad range of sizes and are made using scruff and collision-resistant materials to handle whatever your workout throws at them. With durable medicine balls crafted for high-intensity workouts, make the most of your workouts with Tru Grit Fitness.
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