6 Best Medicine Ball Exercises

train Oct 16, 2020
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The old-school medicine ball, considered outdated until recently, is a form of resistance training designed to strengthen your abdomen, hip flexors, and low back, collectively known as your core.

Core muscles maintain the integrity of your spine, shield vital organs, and transfer forces between your upper and lower body.

If six-pack abs are your goal, combine the versatile medicine ball with portion-controlled nutrition, quality sleep, and stress management.

Better still, medicine ball training improves athleticism which is helpful on the golf course, ski slope, and in life.

6 Best Medicine Ball Exercises

By Joseph Arangio, M.S., C.S.C.S.
Originally appeared in Muscle Media

Most everything you do involves some “core” combination of hip flexion and extension (raising the knee towards your chest and lowering it, respectively), trunk flexion and extension (bending forward and backward, respectively), and rotation (twisting at the hips).

Resistance training with a medicine ball requires your core muscles to bend and twist in the same manner as when you throw a ball, swing a golf club or shovel snow.

Choose a medicine ball that weighs no more than 5% of your body weight. So a 200-pound person would use a 10-pound ball.

Consult your doctor or physical therapist before you begin. And don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Elite athletes have coaches and so should you. An online personal trainer will teach you the safest, most efficient way to make resistance training a part of your life.


A proper warm up stimulates blood flow, increases muscular temperature, and loosens joints so you have less chance of injury.

Do each move for 30 seconds. Rest 10 seconds between exercises. When you are finished, go to the next section.

1A. Medicine Ball Standing Trunk Circles

Grasp a medicine ball, assume a shoulder-width stance, and extend your arms above your head. Inhale and slowly move the ball in a large clockwise circle.

Bend your knees and exhale as you lower the ball past your ankles. Return to the start position and repeat in the opposite direction.

Tip: Concentrate on stretching your muscles as you perform this exercise.

1B. Medicine Ball Standing Trunk Rotation

Maintain a shoulder-width stance and slightly flex your knees.

Position the medicine ball in front of the chest, with your arms extended. Alternately twist to the left and right in a controlled manner while breathing normally. Keep the ball at chest-level.

Tip: Pull the ball into your chest for less resistance.


Do these moves, for 2 minutes each, as a circuit. That is, 2A, 2B and so on. That's one set. Rest for 60 seconds between sets. Complete two total sets.

2A. Medicine Ball Supine Leg Raise

Lie on a mat or flat bench and press your upper back firmly into the pad. Hold on to the edge of the bench or a stable object.

Gently straighten your legs and raise them to an 80-degree angle from the floor. Place a medicine ball between your ankles. Inhale and tense the abdomen as you slowly lower your legs to a point that is almost parallel to the floor. Hold and exhale as you gently raise the legs to the start position. Repeat.

Tip: Do not swing your legs or lift your low back from the floor.

Tip: Do not allow the ball to touch the floor.

Tip: Place the medicine ball between your knees for less resistance.

2C. Medicine Ball Prone Hip Extension

Lie face down on a bench and place the top of your hips at the edge of the bench. Stabilize yourself by pressing your hips and chest into the pad. Inhale and slowly pull your legs up until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you contract your glutes and then slowly lower your legs to the start position.

Tip: Keep your legs straight and toes pointed towards the floor.

2D. Medicine Ball Trunk Rotation

Recruit a fit friend for this exercise. Stand back-to-back, about an arm’s length away from your partner.

Hold a medicine ball at chest-level with your arms extended. Assume a shoulder-width stance.

Without moving your feet or hips, quickly twist your torso and pass the ball to your partner—who twists in the same direction. Repeat on the other side.

2E. Medicine Ball Supine Torso Rotation

Lie on your back with the legs extended straight overhead and arms out to the sides. Carefully place a medicine ball between your ankles. Inhale and tense the abdomen as you slowly lower the ball to the left side. Exhale as you return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Tip: Try to keep both shoulder blades in contact with the floor during the exercise.

Tip: Avoid touching your feet to the floor—this will release tension from the trunk, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the movement.



Joseph Arangio helps 40+ men and women get leaner, stronger, and happier. If you want to lose weight from home, with the best online personal trainer, or you want to visit the best personal trainer near Bethlehem, PA, you can take a free 14-day trial.

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