Medicine Ball Exercises for Fun and Fitness

Variety with Medball Training

Medball couple
Medball training. Getty Images, Kali9, E+

The medicine ball, or medball, is a heavy, padded ball that comes in various weights and sizes. You can incorporate it into your exercise program for variety and excellent results. Anything you can do with dumbbells with two hands can just about be replicated with medballs with a slightly different feel (obviously) and muscle and joint contraction and movement.

Medicine Ball Crunch

The medball crunch requires you to lie on your back, hold a medball at the abdominal position, and swing the ball from side to side while raising the shoulders as you would in the traditional crunch.

This can be a challenging exercise if you do not have an existing degree of core and abdominal strength. Here's how to do it in steps.

  1. Lie on your back in the prone position with a medicine ball resting on the abdominal region and held with two hands.
  2. Raise your shoulders as you would for a traditional crunch exercise.
  3. Swing the medball from one side to the other without stopping for five swings each side. Do less to start with if you find this too difficult.
  4. Lower the shoulders and rest for 40 seconds. Take a little longer if you need to.
  5. Repeat the swings. Do 10 sets of five swings on both sides, or less to begin with if you need to.

There is another form of this exercise - the twist crunch - in which you bend more at the hips and raise the body higher and only complete one swing to one side before resting.

That's it: The medicine ball (swing) crunch. Great for strengthening the abdominal muscles.

Medicine Ball Pushups

Pushups are good exercises for the chest, arms and shoulders.

  1. Position your body face down in the pushup position with hands on the floor, legs stretched out, balancing on the toes. You can also do this exercise with knees on the floor instead of toes.
  2. Place a medicine ball between your hands in front of you (see diagram).
  1. Now place both hands cupped on top of the ball.
  2. Push up off the ball while attempting to balance on the ball. The ball, naturally, will try to roll around a little.
  3. Brace the abdominal muscles, keep the back straight and the head steady, and remember to breathe out on exertion and in on recovery.
  4. The medicine ball skip lunge is done with a medicine ball held at the waist or chest while skipping or lunging forward and backward on the same spot. Several variations are possible. Medicine balls, or medballs, are useful alternatives to dumbbells or kettlebells for some exercises, being somewhat soft, and fitting better in two-handed exercises.

Medicine Ball Skip Lunges

  1. Stand upright with a medicine ball at the chest in both hands.

  2. Skip forward and backward with split legs -- one leg thrust forward and the other thrust to the rear at the same time -- and then the reverse in a continuous motion.

  3. Try this without the medicine ball until you get the idea of it. See the diagram for a description of how this works.

  1. You can make this more challenging by leaping higher with each skip, and by squatting lower in the lunge.

  2. Take care not to make this exercise too demanding if you have ankle or knee-joint problems. Don't land too high on the toes. Landing on the flat of the front of the foot will take the pressure off joints to some extent.

  3. Do 10 exercises in a set, rest, and do a total of 3 sets.

Find out more about weight training terminology and exercise description if you need background information before you try this exercise.

Continue Reading