Fitness enthusiasts are always looking for the latest machine or the newest workout. But sometimes it’s better to go with a tried and true classic method. Medicine ball exercises indeed aren’t anything new. They’ve been around since the ancient Greeks used them 3,000 years ago. But oh man, do they work.
One of the great things about using the medicine ball to work your core is that you don’t have to do a ton of reps. By adding the resistance of the weighted ball, you make the exercises more intense and considerably more challenging. If you do them correctly, you should feel a deep burn and reach fatigue after one set. These medicine ball exercises aren’t easy. But nothing worth having ever is. Do you want those shredded abs? Then you’re going to have to work for them, my friends.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Medicine Ball for My Abs Workout?
There are many benefits of doing medicine ball exercises for your abdominal muscles and your core as a whole. For one thing, using the medicine ball is one of the best ways to build explosive strength. It’s also one of the most effective ways to use weighted resistance to work your core. The medicine ball exercises on our list will also help you with balance and stability. They will improve your hand-eye coordination. And besides all that, they are super fun! If you are looking for an advanced workout to blast your abs, you can’t beat the medicine ball exercises. Trust me, they will kick your butt.
Can I Do These Medicine Ball Exercises If I Don’t Have a Medicine Ball?
Absolutely! The medicine ball exercises on our list are all advanced movements. If you are a beginner or if you find any of them too challenging, you can modify them or do them without a ball at all. You should be able to do all of these exercises using the correct form without the ball. And I emphasize the words “correct form,” before you try them with a medicine ball.
How Much Do Medicine Balls Cost?
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You can get a weighted medicine ball [amazon link=”B00S0QDD8C” title=”from Amazon”] for $8 to $50. Walmart sells them for $10 to $40. You can also find them at most sporting good stores and gyms for similar prices.
What Weight Medicine Ball Should I Use?
Medicine balls come in different sizes and weights. Some come as small as softballs while others are the size of a volleyball or beach ball. And you can get them weighing from 1 to 50 pounds. For most of the medicine ball exercises on our list, you should use a light ball weighing five to eight pounds. One of the movements uses a 20-pound ball.
The general rule is that you want to use one heavy enough that it visibly slows your motion down without sacrificing your form. You want to use a weight that gives you enough resistance to just get through a full set of reps using a full range of motion When in doubt, go lighter.
How Often Should I Do Medicine Ball Exercises for My Abs?
According to the American Council on Exercise, you should not work your abs every day. Like other muscles in your body, your abs need time to recover. You can, however, work your core every other day. We recommend that you do the medicine ball exercises at least twice a week. At least 10 minutes of intense core work should be done 3 times a week according to most top trainers.
The Top 8 Best Medicine Ball Exercises for Ripped Abs
All eight of these medicine ball exercises are advanced moves. You should use a light six or eight-pound medicine ball for most of them. If you are a beginner or if you find the exercises too challenging with the ball, you can practice them using just your body weight for resistance. We chose these eight medicine ball exercises because they are the most effective and safest moves to give you an intense workout for your abs and core. Top trainers use these exercises with their advanced clients at the gym. And now you can do them at home.
I have listed these medicine ball exercises in no particular order. You can do any one of them alone. Or you can blast your abs by doing all of them in any order that you like. If you do several of them, I suggest that you alternate between the exercises that lay on your back and the ones that use the plank position.
1. Medicine Ball Crunches
Crunches or sit-ups are one of our favorite medicine ball exercises. They are a classic move in fitness. Adding the medicine ball makes them even more intense. Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold your six to eight-pound medicine ball at the center of your chest and then pull your abs in tight, round your back, and slowly lower your upper body down to the ground as you inhale. Keep your abs pulled in tight and exhale as you curl your body back up to the sitting position.
You should do 10 to 20 reps per set for 3 sets. If you have any issues with your lower back, you can modify this exercise by shortening the movement. Instead of coming all the way up to a sitting position keep your lower spine on the ground and just curl your shoulders and upper back up each time. Be sure that you keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise.
2. The Spartan Medicine Ball Roll
The Spartan Rolls are one of the more advanced medicine ball exercises on our list, and they work your entire core. You will need a heavy 20-pound ball for this one. As you get stronger, try going heavier. Start with your knees on the ground and your hands on the medicine ball, balanced in a push-up position. Tighten your core and gradually roll the ball away from your body with your hands, keeping your arms and back straight. And then slowly walk the ball back in toward your knees to the starting position. Don’t allow your upper body to touch the ground. Your body weight should be balanced between your knees and your hands on the ball, using your core to hold the body position.
This exercise is challenging, but don’t hold your breath while you do it. You should inhale as you walk the ball out and exhale as you walk it back in. Do 4 to 10 reps per set for 2 to 4 sets.
3. Medicine Ball Russian Twists
The Russian twists are one of the medicine ball exercises on our list that work your oblique muscles along with your entire core. Start by sitting on the ground, holding the medicine ball in front of your stomach. Pull your abs in tight and lean your upper body back to about 45 degrees. Then lift your feet off the floor so that you balance on your butt. With your core engaged twist your body to the right and left keeping your arms bent and moving the ball back and forth to the sides of your body.
You should use a light ball for this exercise, five to eight pounds. And you should do 15 to 20 reps on each side per set for 3 to 4 sets. You can make this exercise a little easier by leaving your heels on the ground.
4. Medicine Ball Planks
Planks are another one of our favorite medicine ball exercises for your core. You can use any size ball for this one. Start on your knees with your hands balanced on the medicine ball, lined up directly beneath your shoulders. Pull your stomach in tight and extend your legs to a push-up position. You want your body to be in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. This movement gives you all of the core work that you get from doing regular planks with the added benefit of testing your balance and your core stability.
Planks are one of the medicine ball exercises that you do for time. You should hold the position for 30 seconds to a minute and then rest. Repeat the movement three to eight times. As you get stronger, try to do the plank longer.
5. Medicine Ball Mountain Climbers
Mountain Climbers are an advanced variation of the plank medicine ball exercises. They work your core, and they also get your heart pumping. Start by getting into the plank position with your hands balanced on the med ball. Before you try the Climbers make sure that you have the form correct for your plank. You want your abs pulled in tight and your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Then bring your right knee in toward the ball and extend it back to the starting push-up position. Repeat the movement with the left leg.
You should do 20 to 30 reps on each leg per set for 3 to 4 sets. If this movement is too difficult for you, try doing it without the medicine ball. You can make the exercise more challenging by pulling your knees in faster like an inverted run. If you’re fast-running the Mountain Climbers, you should do them for time, going for one to four minutes on each set, doing three to four of them.
6. Reverse Medicine Ball Planks
This next movement is another advanced variation of the plank medicine ball exercises. But this time instead of balancing your hands on the ball, you are going to balance your toes on the ball. Start by getting into a high plank position and then put your toes on the medicine ball. Make sure that your body is straight and your abs pulled in tight. And then lower down to your elbows in a low plank position. You want your elbows to be lined up directly beneath your shoulders.
Like the other planks on our list, you will do this one for time. Hold each reverse plank for 30 seconds to a minute. And you should do three to eight of them. This one is an advanced exercise for your core that also tests your balance. But if you find it too difficult you can do regular low planks on the floor without the ball.
7. Medicine Ball V-Ups
The next movement on our list of best medicine ball exercises is V-ups. You should use a light ball for this one, five to eight pounds. Start by laying on your back with your legs extended. Hold the medicine ball above your head with your arms straight. Pull your abs in tight and then in one movement bring your body up into a V position, balancing on just your butt, as you bring the ball in front of your chest toward your toes, keeping your arms straight. You should exhale as you do the sit-up and inhale as you lower yourself back to the ground.
These V-up medicine ball exercises should be repeated 8 to 12 times per set for 3 to 4 total sets. If you have any issues with your lower back, you can modify this exercise by keeping your feet and lower body on the ground. Concentrate on keeping your stomach tight and your lower spine on the ground until you get strong enough to add the lower body.
8. Medicine Ball Sit-Ups with Partner Toss
For this last exercise on our list, you will need a partner. Start by sitting on the floor with knees bent. Both partners will sit face to face with their feet 6 to 12 inches from each other. One partner will toss a light five to eight-pound ball to the other. When you catch the ball, you will pull your abs in tight and roll your upper body down to the ground keeping your arms straight and the ball in front of your chest. Then exhale and curl your body back up to the sitting position and throw the ball to your partner. They will then repeat the movement. Like with the other medicine ball exercises you should keep your core tight as you go through the motion.
Each partner should do 12 to 15 sit-ups per set for three to four total sets. If you don’t have a partner, you can still do this exercise. Instead of throwing the ball to a partner when you get to the top of your sit-up, toss the ball straight up and catch it yourself before you lower your upper body to the ground.
One Final Thought
Shredded abs require exercising, that is true. But if you want to be able to show off your chiseled six-pack, you’re going to need to do cardio at least three times a week to burn off the layer of body fat covering your abs. And you need to eat healthily. Getting a ripped midsection isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would have one. It takes hard work.
Now it’s your turn to talk to us! If you have a favorite medicine ball exercise that didn’t make our list, share it with us in the comments section below.