Medicine Balls are an important part of strength training, especially if you’re developing sport-specific strengths. Strength training for sports is drastically different from getting strength through bodybuilding. A medicine ball exercise can provide the explosive power that most athletes need in a workout. A medicine ball is light, which allows the exercise to be done explosively.
When you are using a medicine ball, you should combine it with other forms of training. A medicine ball exercise is only just “part” of the big picture. One of it’s biggest advantages in strength training is that you can create an exercise that mirrors movements that you do in specific sports. For example, if you wanted to practice forehand and backhand strokes for tennis, there are specific exercises to train for that. In this article, I will provide you with a multitude of exercises. You should see if any of them fire up the muscles you use in your particular sport, and if they do, integrate a few of them into your workout sessions.
Medicine Ball Exercise #1: Reverse Curls
a. Lie down on your back on top of a flat surface. Your hands should be by your sides with palms down.
b. Using your legs, hold a medicine ball in between your two knees.
c. Now bend your legs at the knees. (Your upper body will be flat on the ground, and your legs will be forming an upside down “V” with a ball in between them).
d. Leading with your heels, raise them toward the ceiling. Your glutes (butt) should be raising off of the surface as well.
e. Return to the start position. Try to avoid letting your legs swing, or else you may generate momentum.
Medicine Ball Exercise #2: Russian Twists
a. Assume a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
b. Hold the medicine ball in front of you, with your arms bent slightly.
c. Swing the ball over towards your right hip, and then quickly swing the ball forward and towards your left hip.
d. Repeat in the opposite direction. Try and keep your stomach drawn in so that the right muscles are used.
Medicine Ball Exercise #3: Kneel to Push Ups
a. Find a wall or a partner to do this with.
b. Get into a kneeling position. That means you will be in an upright position, but you will be sitting on your knees.
c. Hold the medicine ball at your chest level (and keep it close to your chest). Keeping your torso straight and rigid, fall forward and chest press the ball (as you are falling, you will be releasing/throwing the ball) towards a wall or your partner.
d. As soon as you throw the ball, drop your hands onto the ground and immediately do a pushup (yes, you’ll be doing a pushup with your knees on the ground rather than the traditional way)
(f) Challenge: If you want a tougher exercise, then have your partner throw the ball back to you immediately after he receives it. By doing this, you’ll have to explode yourself upwards with the push up so that you are back into starting position and ready to catch the ball.
Medicine Ball Exercise #4: Single Leg V-Ups
a. Lie down on a flat surface. One leg should be bent at the knee, and the other one will be flat on the ground. Your hands should be behind your head. (If you want a more challenging exercise, hold the ball in your hands, and keep it behind your head. Otherwise, you can still do this exercise with no ball)
b. Leading with your head, raise your upper body towards the ceiling (similar to a regular crunch). At the same time, using the leg that’s flat on the ground, raise it up towards the ceiling. You want to take your hands (or medicine ball) out from behind your head, reach over towards your rising foot, and touch it.
c. Return to the starting position.
If you can’t touch your foot with the ball or hand, then that’s okay. Just go as far as you can. Do not overextend yourself or you may cause injuries!
Medicine Ball Exercise #5: Medicine Ball Lunge Crossovers
a. Assume a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart.
b. Take your left leg, and move it about two feet behind you. Stand on the ball of that foot.
c. Starting Position: Your feet should be apart from each other, as described in the previous steps. Keep your upper body straight and rigid. Hold the ball in the front of your chest.
d. Lower your body by bending at the knees until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Remember that your upper body should remain straight.
e. As you are lunging, swing the ball down towards one side of your leg.
f. Return to the start position and repeat by bringing the ball to the other side of your body. You can also switch up your sets by changing leg positions.
These five important exercises covered a great deal of body movements which will benefit you in any sport you need strength training in. Pick the exercise that fits you best, and add it to your workout.