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We are now onto our third installment of At Home Training Ideas. You can check out #1 and #2 here. This installment will get you moving with a piece of equipment that has been around for a long, long time – the versatile medicine ball. Just like in our last posts, there is nothing flashy or fancy about this piece of equipment. However, with proper structure and execution a medicine ball can be a very effective tool.
At Home Training – Why the Medicine Ball?
If you have read the other articles you are going to start honing in on a trend. EMH is not recommending expensive, cumbersome and bulky equipment for you to use. The medicine ball is in keeping with our trend. The first major benefit of the medicine ball is that it is inexpensive. You can stock up your supply of medicine balls in various weights from less than most boutique gyms one month membership cost. At this link you can find a great medicine ball in different weights.
Second, the medicine ball is a very versatile tool. As with many great things, the simpler the tool the more elegant it can be in the hands of the right person. Ever watched the Harlem Globetrotters use the simple basketball? A medicine ball can be used to tone, strengthen, balance and stretch our muscles and tendons. All without breaking the bank or taking up your entire living room.
Third, as alluded to above, the medicine ball can be easily stored when not in use. Pack it away in a closet, under a bed or in a cabinet to allow your workout room to return to your living room.
Fourth, medicine ball training, because of its various weight levels, can easily allow progressive improvement and development. With a modest collection of weights you can work through movements with progressively more weight to develop progressive strength and mobility.
So, we have affordable, versatile, compact and progressive. Sounds like a great at home training tool.
At Home Training – Medicine Ball Exercises?
A few points to consider before you dive into your first medicine ball routine. Be honest with yourself about the weight that you are using. Nothing derails progress more than an injury. Start lighter than you think and work up from there.
Second, get yourself a comfortable mat to work from. You will be on your back and/or knees a lot with these exercises. Here is a great thick yoga mat that may be a perfect choice (and this mat hits the high points, inexpensive, versatile and compact).
Third, consider adding in bands as you progress forward with your medicine ball routines. Bands can be a great addition to your progress. You can check back to the At Home Training Idea #2 article here for more information on bands
Now, let’s get to how you can really realize the benefits from these weighted balls. One of the secrets to getting great results with medicine balls is to develop a passion for using this remarkable piece of exercise equipment.
Using it can prove more powerful at blasting away fat while increasing muscle tone than many of the workouts popular with those on this level. It’s therefore worth being the foundation of your fitness program. Since this is a ball, users can take on moves that simply wouldn’t be the same if done with dumbbells or resistance bands. Since the ball is weighted, it helps build muscle faster, and burns fat. The challenge created in using this unique piece of exercise equipment can give you an amazing workout overall and expedite the results you get.
What better place to start than with the abs? For many the midsection is a problematic spot that’s resistant and stubborn. Yet having flat abs is a sign of great fitness. Medicine balls are one of the best pieces of equipment you can use to tone your abs because of their weight and the fact that they can easily be used with ab moves you may already be familiar with. But first, one word of caution; remember to make sure the medicine ball you choose for this move is challenging but not too heavy. We don’t want any injuries.
The simplest medicine ball move for abs is the standard crunch. Laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground, hold the medicine ball above your chest and crunch upwards. Now, to target your lower abs place the ball between your bent knees. Use your thighs to press against the ball and hold it in place as you bring your knees in towards your chest.
If you’re one who cannot manage doing abs on the floor, then try using the medicine ball to do standing abs. One move is simply to hold the ball out in front of you with both hands and control your movements as you twist your upper body left and right, keeping your lower body in place. Another standing medicine ball abs move is to hold the ball straight up in the air, take a wide stance, then alternate your knees, bringing them one at a time up towards the opposite shoulder as you bend your elbows and bring both hands and the ball towards the knee.
Lower Body Medicine Ball Fitness
Squats make perhaps one of the most recognized and simple workouts with medicine balls for beginners. A great thing about this move is how much variety you can add to it. Just combining squats with a few arm and knee moves can give you a challenging full body workout – especially when you factor in the weight of the ball. Still, the primary focus of this move is the lower body.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart as you hold the medicine ball. Bend your elbows and raise them to shoulder height. Then, simply squat up and down. To work your abs as well, just from the waist to the left and right when you reach the top.
Another great lower body move to do with a medicine ball is the glide lunge. This move does wonders for the inner and outer thighs as well as the buttocks. It can even help tone your calf muscles. As you hold the medicine ball with both hands bend your elbows and keep your arms at waist level. Take a wide stance. Then, alternate bending the left and right knees as you shift your body-weight in the direction of the knee you’re bending. You can also use the medicine ball with traditional lunges. The difference is that traditional squats do more to work your quadriceps and hamstrings.
Bonus: A Simple Upper Body Move
There’s one upper body move that’s simpler to do with a medicine ball than with weights. Just practice throwing the ball straight up in the air and catching it. As simple as it sounds, this move would be difficult, even dangerous, to do with dumbbells and using wrist weights or a resistance band wouldn’t give you the same results. This move tones all the upper body muscles, including the biceps, triceps, chest, back, and shoulders.
Medicine balls can be a real game-changer, helping you stay motivated by producing results. Most calisthenics moves can be modified to make use of this novel piece of exercise equipment. Once you get to the point of creating your own workouts with medicine balls, that could be a sign that you’ve arrived at the next level in your fitness journey.
This post was originally published on December 28, 2018. Here at EMH we appreciate that what was old can be new again, so we have updated this post to keep it current and relevant to our readers.