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Medicine ball exercises

Medicine ball exercises

There are hundreds of medicine ball exercises, medicine balls allow the user to perform functional off balance exercises. Medicine balls shape and composition means you can throw them, drop them, lift them and use them as a very challenging platform to exercise on. Medicine ball exercises are very dynamic, challenging and are great fun, ultimately they bring us back to our instinct with a ball to play.

Medicine Ball

Medicine ball wood chop

Unlike the cable wood chop (see diagonal medicine ball wood chop) this medicine ball exercise start with the medicine ball over head and finishes in a squat with the ball swinging between the legs. Bringing the medicine ball down in a chopping motion as if chopping a log in front of you.

Really straight forward medicine ball exercise, I recommend using this one as a dynamic warm up leading into so multi-planned exercises.

Diagonal wood chop

Really simple but effective medicine ball exercise. It’s a large compound exercises so it uses a lot of energy and core strength.

Like chopping a tree you start with the ball overhead to your right fully stretched upright, then squat down and bring the ball across your body and down to the outside of your left knee, in chopping motion. Then reverse this back up to the starting position. Keep your head up and eyes forwards through out this medicine ball exercise. Check out the video below to master your diagonal wood chop technique.

Medicine ball press ups:

Medicine ball press ups are tough and great for building up your shoulder stability, strength and proprioception.

  1. Single arm – First the single arm medicine ball press up, start with one hand on the ball, perform a press up and at the top of the press up roll the ball across to your other hand and repeat on this hand.
  2. Two medicine balls – the next level of progression is press ups with both hands on separate medicine balls. This is a significant step up, also try wide and narrow grip medicine ball press ups.
  3. Two hands one ball – Really push yourself by going for both hands on one ball during a press up.
  4. Now try this exercise with 3 medicine balls, one on each hand and one for your feet.

Single arm medicine ball press up video

Two medicine balls press up

Medicine v-sit ball twists:

A tough abdominal medicine ball exercise, really challenges your abs and obliques when done correctly.

Two levels for this medicine ball exercise first with your feet on the ground and second with your feet in the air. It is really important to have good form during this medicine ball exercise or your not going to get the full benefit and your going to be developing bad habits.

Your main focus should be on keeping your back straight and sitting on the base of your back side really pulling your abs in to lock that position, it is very tempting to perform this exercise with a slightly rounded lower back sitting on your lower back.

Now maintaining a straight back lean back 30 to 45 degrees and twist the ball from left to right, keeping your head facing forwards. Really focus on slow control and perfect technique to make this most effective.


Medicine ball slams

This is my one of my favorite exercises, so its definitely my favorite medicine ball exercise. It is an explosive power exercise and should be used to push someone until they have run out of power meaning it is a great exercise to raise someone’s heart rate fast and get them breathing hard. It is also a great stress reliever.

Medicine ball lateral slams:

Great exercise much like the medicine ball slams however it adds in the added dimension of twisting. Making this medicine ball exercise work your lateral core and arms.

Start with the medicine ball centrally at chest height, bring the ball over your head and left shoulder then swing the ball over your head reaching out until your arms arm stretched out to your right inline with your right shoulder and release the ball slamming it down vertically here. Catch and repeat. You should aim to have the control to do this medicine ball exercise without moving your feet.

Medicine ball squat and throw

Another large compound medicine ball exercise, it can be done on your own on a wall or with a partner.

The focus of this exercise should be on performing a good squat and using the squat to power through the arms to propel the ball as hard and explosively as possible.

This exercise will not only increase power it will also train you how to coordinate your whole body to generate power efficiently.

Start with the medicine ball in both hands  on your chest, squat down keeping the ball on your chest. Power out of the squat pushing the ball away with your arms as you straighten your legs. Catch and repeat.

Medicine ball twist and pass

This medicine ball exercise is ideal training for racket and passing sports. It will really strengthen and increase your power in lateral rotation. The twist pass can be done on your own against a wall or with a partner.

There are two variation on this exercise, one with static legs the other incorporating a slight squat into the movement (demonstrated in the video below).

Start and continue to face the direction of the pass through out this exercises. Start twisting  the ball away from the direction of pass as far as possible with the medicine ball in both hands. Then powerfully twist the ball through using your arms and torso releasing the medicine ball with your arms and torso twisting towards the direction of the pass. Concentrate on maximum power on each pass.

Medicine ball lunge and twist

The medicine ball lunge and twist is good medicine ball exercise to increase the challenge of a lunge. It’s a good exercise for knee stability and balance. It really works the glutes quads and the twist works the abdominals and core control.

Start with the medicine ball in both hands at waist height, standing tall with feet together. Now lunge forwards with your left leg make sure your stride is long enough so that when you lower into the lunge your front knee to 90 degrees and also your rear leg to 90 degrees. Next at the base of the lunge pause briefly for control and then twist the ball and your torso including head over the front knee, twist back to the centre stand and repeat on the opposite leg.

Key point to focus on are control and stability, rushing this medicine ball exercise will decrease the amount of control and balance required.

Medicine ball reverse lunge

This is a great medicine ball exercise to challenge the glutes and quads, it is also great for knee alignment and stability, when done correctly.

Start with the medicine ball in both hands at waist height, standing tall with feet together. Now transferring all your weight to your left leg reach the right leg behind you until your left leg is bent at 90 degrees. Tap the right toe down then stand focusing on using your left leg and glutes.

Medicine ball toe taps:

This is a great non impact cardio exercise which requires control and agility. I add these into most medicine ball circuits. Firstly it is important to only tap the medicine ball and maintain your weight over your hips. Nice and simple medicine ball exercise just stand behind the medicine ball. Start with one foot resting on the ball and now alternate. The aim is to do this as quickly and delicately as possible. Aim for 100 in under 60 seconds.

Medicine ball Turkish get ups

Medicine ball Turkish get ups are even tougher than traditional Turkish getups using kettlebells. This is because you can’t grip the ball and instead have to balance the medicine ball throughout the exercise.

I’ll go through the method using your right hand.

  1. Start Laying on you back
  2. Bend your right leg at the knee, extend your arm fully with your wrist and elbow straight. Through out the whole movement keep arm fully extended above head keeping eyes fixed on the medicine ball.
  3. Drive right foot down twisting onto left elbow
  4. Then straighten left arm taking weight on left palm and right foot.
  5. Twist onto left knee.
  6. Now transfer weight off hand onto right foot and left knee into lunge position
  7. Then stand up.
  8. Now reverse this exactly until you are laying flat again with the medicine ball directly above you with a straight arm