Focus On: Medicine Balls

[Better than Focus On: Balls] 🙂

Hi friends! How’s your day going? It’s humpday aka Indian Food Wednesday! Hope yours is wonderful 🙂

I started off the morning with an Amy’s GF dairy-free burrito + a 2 egg white puff:

burrito

[Hole in the tortilla is where the paper towel got stuck. Burrito was just *ok*- not my fave ever]

For today’s Focus On post, I figured we could talk a little about medicine balls, along with some of my fave exercises (and your faves, too!).

They’re almost always at the gym, and for the longest time, I didn’t have a clue what to do with them.

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medicine-ball-workouts Source

What are they: Weighted balls of various shapes and sizes, primarily used to target the core or in lieu of dumbbells. Many gyms offer classes utilizing medicine balls, and they’re a great way to challenge your stability and utilize different muscles during your standard exercise moves.

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Here are some of my favorite ways to use them:

Medicine ball squat press

Medicine ball slam

Medicine ball pass

Lunch and twist

Push-up to side plank on medicine ball

Plank on medicine ball

Medicine ball blast

Toe taps on medicine ball [AMAZING for cardio. Try Tabata intervals with this- 20 seconds hard, 10 seconds easy]

Tips to keep in mind:

-If you’re doing core work, heavier isn’t always better. For abs, you don’t want to lift too heavy- instead focus on quality and form.

-Medicine balls will challenge your stability. Make sure you’re already advanced enough with a move sans extra weight before trying to add in more resistance.

-Start with a lower weight and work your way up.

Do you use medicine balls in your weight training routine? What’s your favorite exercise?

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51 Comments

  1. Aine @ Something to Chew Over on September 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I love medicine balls! I like to do squats and lunges with a twist/rotation while holding one.

  2. Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life on September 21, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Hahaha I remember dreading using medicine balls in gym class back in grade school!

  3. Terran Leigh on September 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I would LOVE to know how and feel comfortable using a medicine ball at the gym. Sadly before I had no idea how to use them. I want to incorporate them into my core exercises and hope that these tips work! Any suggestions for starters with medicine balls?

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      most of the moves i posted are beginner friendly. even try holding one against your chest for a squat as extra weight, or on your chest during crunches or ab work

  4. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on September 21, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I love the medicine ball push-ups like in your photo above! They’re such a great total body toner and they definitely hit the core hard! I agree that higher weight is not necessarily good for ab work – it’s all about control!

  5. Ali @ Peaches and Football on September 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I’ve never used medicine balls but I like the variety of exercises you can do with them. I think it’s good to always be trying new things to switch up and confuse those muscles!

  6. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen on September 21, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I’ll admit I’m one of those people who is scared of them! Mostly b/c I don’t know how to use them properly. That plank/push up looks pretty intense though, bet it’s an amazing workout.

  7. Beth (Well I'll Be) on September 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I have a love/hate relationship with medicine balls! I always cringe a little when an instructor tells us to grab one because I know I’m in for a lot of pain, but they work!

  8. Alyssa on September 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

    At the end of a weights workout, I do one set of a total-upper-body move that works as following:
    1) Hold medicine ball (I like heavier but can use any weight that is challenging) with both hands with arms by sides.
    2) Lift ball in a bicep curl movement, then press arms up and toss the ball towards the ceiling.
    3) Without moving arms, catch the ball as it comes down, then slowly lower to starting position.

    Works the biceps, triceps, shoulders, back and abs– it’s great!

  9. Meg on September 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I love medicine balls 🙂 I like to do full sit ups with them, russian twists, wood chops, burpees, planks, mountain climbers, etc. 🙂 It`s a great way to add extra weight and challenge my balance 🙂

  10. Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine on September 21, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I normally just do crunches on top of them. I need to branch out. 🙂

  11. Yolie @ Practising Wellness on September 21, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Ah, medicine balls are awesome. the spelling is not, i always write it wrong. 😛 (except this time) I love using them while doing lunges, and sit ups/roll ups…my gym has heaps and they’re great to play with, I will definitely have to try out some of your ideas here! Thank you! xyx

  12. Diana on September 21, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I love doing planks with medicine balls – either with my toes on the ball, or one or both of my hands! Also, working out with balls creates so many great TWSS moments, which I really just can’t resist! 😉

  13. Sara @ RunnerWife on September 21, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I always see people using these in the gym and they look so intense 😉 will have to give it a try sometimes! Love your workout posts!

  14. Moni'sMeals on September 21, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Medicine Balls are brilliant. I use them with may clients daily. 🙂

  15. Allison @ Food For Healing on September 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    nice talk about balls!
    I want to use medicine balls at the gym but don’t know what to do with them! might have to try some of these moves out

  16. mary on September 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    “lunch and twist”… LOL

  17. Bonnie on September 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Great thoughts! Between this post and Mama Pea’s (dough) balls, I think the blog world has balls covered. 😉 I am a big fan of those toe taps with the MB – just did a good series of them the other day to finish off my workout! I like doing turkish get-ups with them, or simply get-ups with both legs together and coming up into a hop while holding the MB in front of you (a BodyRock move) – SO great for your abs! Thanks for this post and the compilation of good moves.

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      us bloggies like our balls, what can i say 🙂

  18. Jessica @ Fit Chick Wanna Be on September 21, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Love the medicine ball slam! It’s so fun and such a great exercise. Unfortunately, my gym does not have medicine balls though, and I have one at home but I’m scared I’m going to break my floor (we have a very old house) lol

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      it’s fun to *get angry* and slam it really hard 🙂

  19. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups on September 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I love incorporating medicine balls into my workouts. There’s so much you can do with them!

  20. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on September 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I love medicine balls 😀 My favorite exercise is doing sit ups with them– SUCH a more intense workout!

  21. Krystina (Organically Me) on September 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Hey chicka – I’m wondering if you have any fun treadmill workouts under your sleeve? I’m reverted back to running indoors (bleh) and need to spice things up a bit.

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      check out the fitness page- i think i have a few on there 🙂

  22. Angela @ PattycakesnPancakes on September 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    That ball + Me = Fallling on my face!

  23. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on September 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I am totally intimidated by medicine balls! I will defs check them out next time I have the chance.

  24. STUFT Mama on September 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Yay! So going to try some of these moves. My medicine balls are collecting dust. Ha ha!

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      you don’t want dusty balls! 🙂

  25. Lana on September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Russian twists are my favorite medicine ball move! Any suggestions on where to buy medicine balls at a reasonable price? I’ve only used them at the gym, and I have limited time with my current job so I am trying to create an at-home basement mini gym (very minimalist!). It is a bit dungeonish so far, but it works! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      do you have a used sporting goods store? or online??

  26. Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) on September 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I love doing lunges with a twist. You feel it in your abs SO wonderfully 🙂

  27. maria on September 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I use medine balls for squats and ab work. Thanks for posting new exercises to do with them.

  28. Maddie on September 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    In honor of Indian Food Wednesday, I made some homemade Aloo Mutter… Indian style potatoes and peas. So yummy and creamy (not to mention filling!), it’s definitely like a comfort food for fall. If you’ve never tried it, give it a shot 🙂

  29. Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) on September 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I do like medicine balls for crunches.. I’ve never tried those other exercises with it but I’ll need to give them a shot!

  30. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on September 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I have one medicine ball and one big ball that I lay on and do all kinds of moves. I never used balls during my workouts until a year or two ago and now realize how useful they can be!

  31. Anna @ On Anna's Plate on September 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I never knew how much you could do with balls (haha) until I worked out with a trainer– he showed me so many new methods that I never would have even thought of!

  32. Haley @ Fit, Young, and Fabulous on September 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I’ve never tried medicine balls! But I loveee trying new things!! When traveling or trying new classes, do you just get a day-pass for the gym for that day?

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      yep! sometimes they’ll give it to you for free

  33. Alexa @ Simple Eats on September 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Love medicine balls, especially for abs! I always feel super sore afterwards!

  34. Robin @ The Balanced Life on September 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Thank you! Great post 🙂 And thank you for the reminder that more weight is not always better with core work. So true and so important!

  35. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on September 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    The only medicine ball move I know is seated twists. Thanks for all the great ideas here!

  36. Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats on September 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Medicine balls are great. One of my favorite exercises is a three way arm combo. You hold the ball in two hands in front of your crotch. First you do a bicep curl with it, then push it over your head like a shoulder press, then do a tricep extension and start all over again! 🙂 Great way to work three groups in one shot!

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      ohh i like that!

  37. mi-an d. on September 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    i love medicine balls. i do lunges and squats with them. also, i wanted to try that ugi ball zuzana uses in bodyrock…but it’s like $129! what do you think about it??

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      whoa i haven’t seen it!

  38. Matteson @ Healthy High Schooler on September 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I play tennis, and one of the conditioning exercises we do, is play medicine ball tennis. I LOVE it! We play normal tennis (minus the raquets), and it really works your arms!

  39. Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas on September 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I use medicine balls from time to time…this post definitely informed me more on how and where to use them! I always tried to incorporate them into my routine more, but I never knew what to do with them!

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