Try These Medicine Ball Exercises for Superior Strength

The medicine ball is one of the oldest workout tools, dating back as far as 3000 years ago. Patients used them to go through post-injury stages… Trista - April 15, 2022

The medicine ball is one of the oldest workout tools, dating back as far as 3000 years ago. Patients used them to go through post-injury stages to retrain their muscles and get them working again. Today, people use medicine balls at home or gyms to help tone the body, improve balance, and build up a person’s core strength. Check out the top 20 medicine ball exercises you can add to your repertoire to strengthen your body. Working out with a medicine ball will also enhance your speed, help you burn those unnecessary calories, and allow your body to recover from any injuries. So, get your hands on a medicine ball and get ready to start putting your entire body to the test.

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20. Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian Deadlift is perfect for getting your butt looking in peak condition. It puts your hamstrings and glutes to work, making the backs of your legs stronger for more lifting power. Romanian deadlifts are also pretty easy to do and strengthen your core as you lift and lower the ball to the ground. Don’t start with a heavy load, as this can lead to lower back injuries and put a wrench in the works. Start with a weight you can actually handle and work your way up once you’re comfortable with it.

To do a Romanian deadlift, stand with your feet apart, about the width of your hips. Hold the medicine ball in front of you. While keeping your back and legs straight, bend at your waist and lower the medicine ball to the ground. Remember not to bend your knees as much as possible. Hold this position and go as low as you can go. Then contract your hips and return to the starting position. Repeat a few more times, about 10 to 15 in two to three sets.

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19. Medicine Ball Squat Throw

A medicine ball squat throw puts your legs to work and gives your arms a workout. It targets your glutes, thighs, upper body, and your core, giving you a great full-body cardio workout that will get the blood moving and have you burning those calories like nobody’s business. You can do this exercise by yourself, or it can be done with an exercise partner to put in the work and motivate the other person to keep going.

To begin this exercise, start in the squat position while holding the medicine ball in front of you. Push up with your legs and extend your arms above your head, throwing the medicine ball into the air. As you catch the ball, please return to your original squatted position, taking care of your knees as you bend them. Repeat a few more times, as many as you’re comfortable with. If you’re working out with another person, be sure not to throw the ball too hard, as you could cause an injury.

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18. Shoulder Press

Shoulder presses with a medicine ball are one of the easier exercises you can do. If you’re a beginner with a medicine ball, it’s one that you should start out doing. It’s also a great warmup exercise for more advanced gym-goers who need a way to prepare their bodies for a strenuous workout. It engages the glutes, the legs, the core, the shoulders, back, and arms. Shoulder presses are also an excellent way to increase your endurance to exercise for more extended periods.

You start by holding a medicine ball in your hands about an inch away from your chest. Bend your knees until you’re in a squat. Your feet should be hip-width apart to afford you some balance. Extend your arms towards the ceiling and straighten your legs simultaneously. Then slowly return to the squat position and bring the ball back to your chest. Repeat ten to fifteen more times; increase the number of reps over time to continue challenging your muscles.

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17. Seated Twist with Press

This exercise is also known as the medicine ball Russian twist. It’s a great way to work your abs. However, do them in a low-impact way. That way, you don’t put a lot of strain on your torso or back. It’s a popular exercise amongst athletes since it involves the same rotational movement that they use in sports. It’s easy enough to do but has a lot of impact on strengthening your muscles and joints. Add a medicine ball to the mix, and you’re further improving the quality of your exercise.

Focus on your breathing while doing these twists; exhale with each twist and then inhale when you return to the center. Start by sitting on the floor with your medicine ball in your hands. Hold it a few inches from your chest and lean back. Bend your knees for added support. While keeping your back straight, rotate your torso and shoulders to the right, touch the ball to the ground, and return to the starting position. Repeat on your left side. You can increase the difficulty of the exercise by raising your feet off the ground.

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16. Plank Jacks

Planks are already a pretty hardcore exercise that strengthens your core, and it not only improves stability but also puts your back muscles to work. Adding a medicine ball changes how planks work. However, it adds an unstable surface to engage your core muscles further. But before you start doing medicine ball plank jacks, you should first master plank jacks since they’re not easy to do. Plank jacks are where you do a plank and then jump to spread your legs apart. Think of bouncing back, but you’re horizontal and only moving your legs.

To start doing a medicine ball plank jack, get into a kneeling position on the ground. Your hands should be cupped around the medicine ball on the floor to find your center of balance. Tighten up your abdominals and glutes, and stretch your legs out behind you in a straight line. Straighten your arms to be in a pushup position on the medicine ball. Tighten your core, jump your feet to a shoulder-width apart, and then jump back together. Continue this motion without letting your body bounce too much.


15. Medicine Ball Lunge with Twist

Doing a lunge twist while holding a medicine ball puts your glutes, core, and legs to work. Your quads and hamstrings will thank you for it in the end, and you’ll be impressed by the results. The added twist to the lunge will contract your glutes, so this exercise is perfect for you if you’re looking to work on toning your butt. Lunge twists are also good at helping to improve balance, which will further enhance your performance in other exercises in your regimen. It is a good rehabilitation exercise for those who have had hip surgery.

Stand with your legs a few inches apart and the medicine ball in your hands, a few inches from your chest. Step forward with your right foot and lower yourself into a lunge position. Twist your upper body to the right without rotating your knee and hold that place for a few seconds. Bring your arms back to the center and bring your right foot back to return to starting position. Then switch sides, performing the same action with your left foot and twisting to the left side.


14. Medicine Ball Superman

The superman exercise is an effective means of building all the muscles in your body, no matter your fitness level. It focuses on your lower back, hamstrings, abs, and glutes, so all of the vital muscle groups you will use in a given day. It complements other core exercises, too, especially if you’re looking to build your abdominals muscles for that impressive six-pack. Knowing how to do the exercise correctly is essential to don’t risk injuring yourself and ensure that you’re targeting the right muscles properly.

Start by lying on your stomach. Your arms should be extended out of you, holding the medicine ball with your palms facing up. Using your core and chest, raise your legs, upper body, and medicine ball as high up from the ground as you can go. Hold the pose for a few seconds before lowering back to the ground. Do about two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions. Keep reading for more medicine ball exercises that you can do at home or in the gym.


13. Bent Over Two-Medicine Ball Row

Rowing can be an excellent exercise for those who have access to water, but if you don’t, you can still put in the work to develop your core and arm muscles. It just requires a little ingenuity. With a pair of small medicine balls, you can put your workout to the test and help your muscles to develop even more than rowing without them. The bent-over row with medicine balls isn’t a challenging exercise to perform, so it’s a great start for beginners. To increase the difficulty, you can work with slightly heavier medicine balls.

Grab a pair of small medicine balls that you can easily fit into your hands. Stand with your torso bent over and your knees slightly bent, a shoulder-width apart. Ensure that your back is straight. Use your back muscles to pull the medicine balls up to your chest while bending your elbows. Rotate your palms while doing so. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the medicine balls back with your elbows. Your elbows should end higher than your torso. Then return to the starting position and repeat the exercise 10-15 times.

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12. Overhead Circles

The weight of the medicine ball alone is good for targeting muscles in a low-impact manner that isn’t going to risk injury. That is only if you start with a lightweight ball, of course. Start too heavy, and you easily risk injuring yourself before starting. Overhead circles with a medicine ball will give your arms the workout they need, as well as develop your core from having to hold up the weight of the ball. It’s a great exercise that will also help you improve your range of motion and reduce the risk of further injuring it.

Stand with your feet apart, about the width of your hips. Slightly bend your knees to be at ease while you work out. Lift the medicine ball over your head and ensure that you have a good grip so that you don’t accidentally drop it on yourself. Start circling the ball to your right in the largest circle you can make; imagine you’re drawing a circle on the ceiling with the medicine ball. Make eight loops on the right, and then switch to eight on the left.


11. Single-Leg Squat

Functional strength is crucial for maintaining your joints and your core strength. However, that doesn’t mean you have to keep many heavyweights around your home. Just a medicine ball alone can help you get the job done, especially if you try doing some leg squats. A single-leg squat with a medicine ball may seem simple, and it is, but you’re going to feel the ache in your core as it puts your balance to the test.

To do a single leg squat, stand with the medicine ball in your hands, a few inches from your chest. Stand on your right leg and lift your left foot off the ground. Slowly sink your hips and extend your left leg in front of you, as well as your arms holding the medicine ball. Aim for getting your leg to 90 degrees while keeping your spine straight. Slowly extend your leg and return to the starting position. Do at least 10 to 15 more times, then switch to the opposite leg.


10. Medicine Ball Pushups

Pushups are great at putting your back muscles and arms to work. It’s an easy exercise to get into, and there are many ways you can change the difficulty of the activity to match your training level, such as doing one-handed pushups or adding claps between each one. Adding a medicine ball is one way to change things up too. Doing medicine ball pushups adds another element of forcing you to focus on your balance so that you don’t fall over. There are multiple ways you can put the medicine ball to use: you can use a small one on one hand to do your pushups, or you can use a larger one and use both hands on it to engage your core.

Start by kneeling on the ground like you’re about to do a pushup. Place your hands on the sides of the medicine ball. Shift your weight until your shoulders are over your hands; put all your weight on the medicine ball. Stiffen your torso and keep your back straight. Then slowly move your body towards the ball without allowing your back or hips to sag. Lower yourself until your chest is near the ball or touches it, ensuring that you keep your elbows close to your sides. Press upwards against the ball until you return to the starting position. Then repeat 7 to 12 more times.


9. Overhead Squat

The medicine ball overhead squat helps develop the lower body muscles and increases shoulder mobility, balance, and core strength. Squats alone are good at improving your glutes, so when you add a medicine ball, they will be even stronger and more impressive. Start with a weight you can handle first to work yourself up to a heavier weight over time. It is also a great exercise if you need to get your back muscles engaged without putting a lot of weight on them.

Grab your medicine ball and stand with your feet apart, wider than your shoulders. Hold the medicine ball over your head and do a squat, swinging your hips backward. You must keep your back straight. Squat until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Then return to the starting position and repeat the exercise 10 to 15 more times. Keep reading for more medicine ball exercises to strengthen your body.

8. Chest Push

Have you ever tried this medicine ball exercise? The medicine ball chest push focuses on the muscles of the chest specifically. That is because you’re not only throwing the medicine ball, but you’re also catching your weight on your hands as you give in to gravity. You can do this exercise with a partner or throw the medicine ball against a wall. Exercise care when doing this exercise, as there will be some strain on your elbows, and you don’t want to injure those muscles.

Start by kneeling on the floor with the medicine ball in your hands. You should hold it close to your chest. Then, explode forward, throwing the ball as hard as feasible to your partner or the wall you’re facing. Follow through by falling forward and catch yourself on your hands. Ease yourself back up and retrieve your medicine ball, then repeat as many reps and sets as possible. It is a high-intensity exercise, and you should avoid it if you’ve suffered an injury recently.

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7. Medicine Ball High-To-Low Chops

The medicine ball high-to-low chop can strengthen your back, legs, and core. It’s a great way to burn many calories by increasing your heart rate. In turn, that increases your endurance as well. In the end, you can exercise for much longer in the future. By engaging in an exercise with an extensive range of motion, you put multiple muscle groups to work so that you’re not only focusing on one area of your body. This exercise is a great way to get in both your strength training as well as your cardio.

Start standing with your feet apart, a little wider than your shoulders. Hold the medicine ball above your head and up over your right shoulder. Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat position as you pull the medicine ball down towards your left ankle, twisting your body in the process. Remember to keep your arms straight throughout the movement. Return to standing and bring the medicine ball back over your right shoulder. Repeat for about thirty seconds and then switch sides.

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6. Seated Knee Tuck

A seated knee tuck affords you some great benefits, but a seated knee tuck with a medicine ball increases those benefits a few times over. The primary muscle groups that it focuses on are the ones in your abs, and it also targets secondary muscles, such as the transverse abdominis, which is the muscle at the center of your core. For this reason, doing seated knee tucks can help you improve your core strength and posture. By forcing you to straighten your back throughout the exercise, you’ll never feel like slouching ever again.

Sit on a bench or the ground with your legs straight. Position the medicine ball between your knees or balance it on your ankles. Place your hands out by your sides to provide you with some balance. Then bend your knees and tuck them towards your chin as you tuck your torso up towards your thighs. Keep the medicine ball in place and hold the pose for seconds. Then return to the starting position. The added weight to your leg will put your abdominals to work.

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5. Medicine Ball V-Up

The medicine ball V-Up is quite a challenging move that will put your core muscles to the test. It’s a very advanced move that is not for the faint of heart. You should learn the moves before you decide to get a medicine ball involved. It’s an excellent exercise for your hip flexors, allowing for greater mobility while doing other activities. Stick with a medium or light ball at first, and then gradually work your way up to a heavier ball to avoid injuring yourself. The last thing you need is to stop your exercises before you’ve even started putting the actual work in.

Start by lying on the ground on your back. Hold the medicine ball in your hands with your arms straight behind your head. Your legs should be on the floor, too, your knees straight. Tighten your abdominals and lift your legs and your arms together to form a V with your thighs and lower torso. Hold this pose for a few seconds and lower back to the ground. Inhale slowly in the resting position and then exhale while in the V position.

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4. Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch with a medicine ball may sound confusing, but the name makes more sense once you see how to do this activity. A crunch is a short situp, putting your abdominals to work by raising your torso off the ground while your legs remain bent. On the other hand, a reverse crunch is where you raise your legs while your torso remains flat on the floor. The medicine ball adds more difficulty to the exercise since there’s added weight on your legs to make you work against gravity.

Start by lying on the ground or a bench. Bend your knees to hold the medicine ball between them. Ensure that your grip on the medicine ball is tight so that you don’t risk dropping it on your chest. Lift your knees to your chest as far as you can go. You can also increase the difficulty by raising your lower back off the ground, intensifying the crunch. Hold the position for a few seconds, and then carefully lower your legs back to the starting position.

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3. Mountain Climbers

Medicine ball mountain climbers will improve your back, chest muscles, and core. You’ll increase your shoulder strength as you try to maintain your balance on just your hands and arms, providing you with a fabulous back you’ll want to put on display. Another benefit to an exercise like this is that the more muscles you have engaged simultaneously, the more calories you’re going to burn in the long run. Furthermore, mountain climbers get all parts of your body moving. This exercise usually requires some kind of equipment, but you can do it without it. Just a medicine ball will do.

Start in a plank position with your hands on the medicine ball. Ensure that you have found balance, so you don’t fall over and injure yourself. Then, while tightening your abs, pull your right knee up to your chest. Straighten your right leg back to the ground and raise your left knee to your chest. Straight your left leg, and you’ve done one rep. Do 10-12 of these, or however many you’re comfortable with.

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2. Double Crunch Pulse

The double crunch pulse with a medicine ball is a great way to keep your abs engaged throughout the entire workout. The added weight of the medicine ball will further increase the burn but stick with a ball that weighs between 5 and 8 pounds. You’ll also be putting your glutes to work, giving you that round bum you’ve always wanted. Don’t worry; having this in your exercise regimen will get all of those essential muscles working so that you’ll see the unnecessary fat start to melt away.

Lie on your back and point your legs up in the air, your toes extended towards the ceiling. Hold the medicine ball in your hands with your arms straight. You should position it over your chest. Tighten your abs and lift your upper back, neck, and head off the floor. Lift your lower pelvis off the ground at the same time. Try to get the medicine ball as close to your ankles as possible. Inhale as you return to the starting position.

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1. Medicine Ball Slams

When you’re first working with medicine balls, medicine ball slams are one of the easiest exercises you can start with. They primarily work your upper body, including your abs, back, and shoulders, and are also an excellent way to get out a lot of pent-up frustration you might be having. You can channel all of your anger into the medicine ball slams so that you’re no longer keeping it bottled up inside. Just exercise caution about where you’re doing them, as you don’t want to break anything in your immediate surroundings.

Stand with your knees slightly bent and about a shoulder-width apart. Hold the medicine ball above your head with your arms straight. Bend forward at the waist and, while tightening your core muscles, throw the medicine ball at the ground as hard as you can a foot in front of you. Allow your arms to follow through to keep your balance. Catch the ball after its bounce and raise it above your head to repeat the exercise. Feel free to try any of these medicine ball exercises after stretching and carefully approaching each one slowly to avoid injury.