Available in various sizes and weights, medicine balls can improve muscular power and sports performance, and are great fun to use – discover how to use them and the best exercises for beginners…
Looking for the best medicine ball exercises for beginners? The beauty of this weighted ball is that it can be thrown and caught, making it great for explosive movements that can improve overall athletic ability and boost fast-twitch muscle fibres. Medicine ball workouts also offer a mix of cardio and resistance moves to help you build strength and blast fat, all while working your core and abs. A weighted ball is a great training tool because you can add it to almost any exercise to challenge your core stability and improve power and co-ordination. Ready to give one a go?
How to use a medicine ball:
When choosing a weight, pick a ball that’s heavy enough to slow your motion – slower than if you were using just your bodyweight – but not so heavy that you can’t control it. You need to ensure accuracy, good form and range of motion. Here are our favourite moves.
A great full-body move that includes a rotational element which will help work your core, lower back and obliques.
Focus area: Abs, obliques, shoulders, arms, core, thighs, hamstrings and bottom
- Start with your feet together, holding your medicine ball in front of you. Extend your arms (don’t lock the elbows), take a large step forward with your right leg, lowering into a lunge. Allow your back knee to bend as you move towards the floor.
- Simultaneously, engage your core and twist to your right, moving the ball over your right leg (A).
- Return to centre (B), push through your right heel to stand up, then step backward to bring feet back together.
- Repeat the movement on the other side, stepping into a lunge with the left leg in front and twisting to the left. Continue alternating.
Beginners: 3 x 16 (8 each side)
Intermediates: 3 x 20 (10 each side)
Advanced: 3 x 30 (15 each side)
The instability of the ball will make your core work hard, while tiny stabilising muscles in your shoulders, elbows and wrists also get a look in.
Focus area: Abs, shoulders, arms and core
- With the ball directly underneath your shoulders, place all your weight on your hands as you lift your body into a high plank position.
- Make sure wrists are directly under shoulders and legs are extended out straight behind you, with the balls of your feet resting on the floor.
- Continue to keep your body stiff and engage your core muscles as the ball wobbles beneath you. Hold, rest, repeat.
Beginners: 3 x 30 seconds
Intermediates: 3 x 40 seconds
Advanced: 3 x 45 seconds
Squat to Throw
This total body move is great for co-ordination and energy transfer, as you lower into a lunge and throw. It’s a plyometric (jumping) exercise that will get the heart and lungs working.
Focus area: Core, shoulders, arms, glutes, hamstrings and quads
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold the medicine ball with two hands in front of your chest.
- Lower down into a squat position, keeping your chest lifted and the ball still (A).
- Push up out of the squat and, as you stand, drive up in an explosive movement, tossing the ball overhead (B).
- Catch the ball at chest level and return to the squat position. Repeat.
Beginners: 3 x 20 seconds
Intermediates: 3 x 30 seconds
Advanced: 3 x 40 seconds
Model & words: Lucy Miller | Photographer: Eddie Macdonald Clothing: Shein Solid Seamless High Elastic Raglan Sleeve Sports Set; Sketchers UNO Everywhere Rose trainers (iconattheo2.co.uk); Medicine Ball; accessories, earrings and hairband (all from iconattheo2.co.uk)