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Fitness Articles  ›  Focused Fitness

Medicine Ball Training

Exercise Equipment for All

-- By Joe Downie, Certified Physical Fitness Instructor
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Medicine balls are a great way to exercise any area of your body, whether upper, lower, or core. There are different sized exercise balls from 2-12, that you can use for numerous different exercises.

Medicine ball training is suitable for all ages, fitness levels and sizes. There are many advantages to training with medicine balls. They allow for improved range of motion, core strength, coordination, flexibility, joint integrity, and upper and lower body strength. The great thing is that you can involve a partner or simply use a solid, sturdy wall.

Core Benefits
Improving core strength should be a goal for everyone. Movement and stability begin with the core – abdominals, lower back, hips and spine. The core is the body’s center of power. Using a medicine ball to train the core is perfect because you can perform so many functional movements similar to those that you do in everyday life.

Instead of isolating certain muscle groups, you are able to train many different core muscles at once with the medicine ball. As an example exercise, stand approximately 6 feet from a wall and face it, knees slightly bent, with your abdominals contracted and your hips out so your back is completely upright. Then toss a medicine ball against the wall like you’re making a chest pass in basketball.

Rotate your torso while tossing the ball against the wall, catching it and doing it from the opposite side, trying to hit the same spot each time. You’ll notice your dominant side is easier than your non-dominant, so it's important to train your non-dominant side. You will balance out your body’s strength.

Do this exercise as fast as you can, making sure to keep your movements smooth while maintaining correct form and good posture. This will allow you to train all the muscles in your core you need for everyday activities such as lifting a heavy bag of groceries. The core, not the upper body, begins that movement and helps to keep you stable.

Upper Reaches
At the same time you are improving your core strength and stability, you are also developing upper and lower body strength. Another functional movement associated with everyday living is lifting and placing something on a top shelf. That movement definitely takes strong stabilizer muscles to keep you balanced, but it also takes upper body strength, in the shoulders especially.

A great medicine ball exercise to mimic this motion is to stand 6-8 feet from a wall, with one foot approximately a foot in front of the other. While holding the medicine ball above your head, throw the ball against the wall and switch your lead foot, almost like a little skip. As you catch and throw, switch feet again, finding a good rhythm.
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About The Author

Joe Downie Joe Downie
Joe, an exercise enthusiast, is a certified physical fitness instructor and high school soccer coach.

Member Comments

  • ASHPATCH11
    So how many people have chest passed the ball in there house at their wall? I am scared it will damage or mark up my wall???? - 1/19/2013 12:33:03 PM
  • My gym now has soft medicine balls. They are bigger but they have you throw them at the wall. I have a 6 pound ball at home would only throw it at the cement walls in the basement. I need to use it more. - 11/29/2012 1:10:40 PM
  • Great tip - 8/11/2012 7:05:04 AM
  • Good discussion of medicine ball use. I would love to see a video demonstration!! - 8/10/2012 2:25:17 PM
  • But from reading the posts a LOT of people seem to think a MEDICINE ball is the same thing as a (SWISS / PHYSIO ) ball it is NOT. Also I would be reluctant to throw a medicine ball against my walls!!! - 7/29/2012 5:10:06 PM
  • SANDIBETTS1
    Glubka: My hat off to you and your medicine ball head balance. sbb - 1/4/2012 7:51:36 AM
  • 4ME4MYKIDS
    Gotta get me a medicine ball! Looks like a great workout. - 1/27/2011 2:03:14 PM
  • GAILSFITNESS
    very resourceful to use medicine ball while doing activities unrelated, like computer work! - 1/27/2011 8:33:35 AM
  • I use one of the larger balls to sit on while I'm on the computer or watching tv ...great for balance and working your core - 10/16/2010 7:19:44 PM
  • GLUBKA
    I use the medicine ball at the gym all the time. and I love it.
    Just went up and down a set of stairs 4 times holding a 15 lb. medicine ball above my head. - 6/5/2010 7:39:51 PM
  • Great article. I bought a 5 pound medicine ball and it came with a video. It is great and I am able to do most of the exercises with good form. My core needs a lot of work from neglect. The Russian Twist is torture though. LOL. - 10/17/2009 7:35:10 AM
  • I just bought me a medicine ball and am going to try it out. We will see how it goes! - 9/13/2009 3:49:55 PM
  • MEOWSER2
    good article. I am afraid that I would damage the wall. Not because I am strong lol, but because I was always told never to throw anything heavier than a tennis ball. - 8/3/2009 5:08:01 PM
  • I would love to see an article (linked to this?) about what size of medicine ball to buy! Until I actually start doing the exercises with one, that might be the only way to see??? If anybody knows, let me in on the secret! - 3/21/2009 4:11:16 PM
  • I will have to try the medicine ball out! I have heard tons about it...and yet it is about the one piece of "equipment" I have never tried using!!...all i know is..if it is as fun as the stability ball..I'm IN!! ;) - 9/15/2008 10:09:15 AM
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