Using Medicine Balls in Your Ab Workout

Medicine Ball ExercisesThe medicine ball has been used in physical training for over 3,000 years because of its ability to assist in the development of strength, coordination and balance. Incorporating medicine balls is a good way for beginners who are looking to build a strength base, but it’s also beneficial for those more physically advanced because they help increase the intensity of a workout.

Although medicine balls can be used to develop overall strength, they can be used to develop the strength of your core, which includes your abdominals, obliques, lower back and muscles surrounding your hips. When you perform traditional sit-ups or crunches, your abdominal muscles must overcome the weight of your head and shoulders, which is likely an adequate about of resistance to adequately overload your muscles and stimulate developments in strength and tone when you’re starting out with training. As you improve, however, it’s important that you increase the intensity of your abdominal workouts. One way of doing so is to incorporate medicine balls.

Medicine balls range in weight from 2 to 25-lbs. Begin with a lighter ball than you would expect to need until you master the technique of each exercise. Move on to heavier medicine balls as appropriate.

Here is a list of quality abdominal exercises that utilize a medicine ball. They can be used in accommodation with your own workout or all together as a complete core training session:

Medicine Ball Leg Lifts

Lie on your back on a mat with your legs extended. Squeeze a small medicine ball between your feet. Place your hand down by your sides. Keeping your legs extended, lift your legs up until they point directly up towards the ceiling and then lower them back down to the floor. Stop just short of the ball touching the floor and immediately begin the next repetition.

Medicine Ball Crunch

Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a medicine ball with both hands and extend your arms out in front of you. Keep your arms extended as you perform a crunch.

Medicine Ball V-Sit Twist

Sit on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a medicine ball at your chest with both hands. Pick your feet up on the floor and lean back so that you create a v-shape with your torso and thighs. Twist your torso to the left and then immediately twist to the right. Keep your feet up off the floor throughout the entire exercise. To increase the difficulty even further, straighten your knees and perform the exercise with legs extended.

Medicine Ball Front Plank

The medicine ball front plank is appropriate for those physically advanced. Lie on your stomach. Place your hands atop a medicine ball and rise up into a front plank position so that you’re holding yourself up with your hands and your toes. Create a straight line through your torso and thighs. Hold this position for as long as you can.

Medicine Ball Wood Chops

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and hold a medicine ball with both hands. With your knees bent slightly, bend forward at the waist and place the medicine ball outside your left knee. Extend your knees and hips and swing the medicine ball up and across your body so that it ends up over your right shoulder. Control the ball back to starting position and repeat. Perform all repetitions on one side before switching to the other side.

Medicine Ball Circles and Torso Twists

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and hold the medicine ball out in front of you with extended arms. Move the medicine ball to create large and small circle shapes in front of you, all while simultaneously holding your torso and hips stationary. Then switch to torso twists by keeping your arms extended and twisting left and right at the hips.

About The Author

Kim Nunley - Article AuthorKim Nunley has worked in the health and fitness field for over 10 years. She received her Master’s of Science Degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S.) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She has been a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, physical education instructor and athletic coach, and now works as a freelance writer. She also writes short and feature-length screenplays.

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