You may have seen medicine balls piled up at the gym or thrown around in bootcamp studios. But if you never knew how or why to use them, we’ve got the perfect full-body workout that proves just how this unique piece of equipment is and how it can improve your fitness in several ways.
Dane Miklaus, CSCS, Founder of WORK training studio in Irvine, California, created this workout to help push you out of your comfort zone by challenging your strength and stability in different ways, using a single medicine ball.
The Benefits of a Total Body Medicine Ball Workout for Runners
The exercises included by Miklaus will help you strengthen all your key running muscles to improve performances on the road, increase your stamina and help you avoid injuries. Each exercise included in this routine also involves your whole body, with an emphasis on core power and control.
For example, practicing jumping lunges with a medicine ball slam will help you focus on plyometric power, core stabilization, and coordination, says Miklaus, while working your cardiorespiratory system into overdrive. The oblique throw also targets your midsection from a new angle, helping you build even more stabilitywhile the addition of a skater helps you work in a new plane of motion to build resilience and strength in all directions.
How to use this list: This workout routine should be completed after a warm up to prepare the body for more intense training. Perform each exercise in the order listed below for the number of repetitions described. Complete 3 sets, resting as needed between exercises and sets.
Every move is demonstrated by Jodalyn Zambuto, Certified Personal Trainer at WORK training studio in Irvine, California, so you can master the form. You will need a medicine ball and a wall to complete this workout. An exercise mat is optional.
1. Walking lunge with overhead carry
Why it works: Carrying a medicine ball overhead will force you to engage your core even more than in a traditional slot— which strengthens lower body running muscles — while helping you practice a stable, upright stance posture. “The stronger your heart, the tighter your race Steps can become, and the more of an overall rider you can become,” says Miklaus.
How to do: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a medicine ball overhead with your arms straight, biceps close to your ears. Step forward with the left leg and bend both knees 90 degrees to drop the right knee toward the floor. Press down on the left foot to stand up, bringing the right foot forward and bringing the right knee in towards the chest. Then step forward with the right foot and repeat. Keep alternating as you move forward. Do 10 reps per leg.
2. Jump lunge with snap
Why it works: This movement will force you to work on your coordination while helping you build strength and improve stability. By jumping from lunge positionyou also build an elastic step for more fast and powerful runs, says Miklaus.
How to do: Start in a staggered position with the left leg in front and the right leg behind. Hold the medicine ball in front of the body at chest level. Bend both knees to 90 degrees to lower into a lunge. Cross the feet to jump, switching legs and landing in a lunge on the opposite side. When you jump, reach the medicine ball over your head and when you land, slam it to the ground on the opposite side of your front leg. Keep alternating lunges and snaps. Do 10 reps per leg.
3. Wall ball
Why it works: “You get reinforcement and advantages of explosive power quickly squat down and get back up,” says Miklaus. You also fire up the kernel and strengthen the upper body. Miklaus suggests starting with a light to moderate weight ball to focus on speed and height.
How to do: Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward, at arm’s length from a wall. Hold a medicine ball against your chest. Lower into a squat, sending the hips down and back. Cross the feet to get up and, as you do, cross the ball against the wall above your head, extending your arms. Catch the ball at chest level, then squat back down. Repeat. Do 20 reps.
4. Skater with oblique throw
Why it works: Like many moves on this list, this exercise will force you out of your comfort zone. It trains your legs in multiple planes of motion, thanks to the skater, which also targets your kidnappersstrengthening your hips. The spinning throw also hits your oblique muscles– super important for core stability and posture.
How to do: Start standing at about arm’s length from a wall, facing to the side with the left arm closer to the wall. Hold a medicine ball under your chest, arms down. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and send hips back, keeping back flat and abs engaged. Bring the left foot behind the right. Next, push off with the right foot, jump to the left and land on the left foot, with the right foot now reaching behind the left. Jumping to the left, throw the ball against the ball. Catch the ball, then roll the skater back to the right side bringing the ball in front of you. Do 12 to 15 reps. Then switch sides.
5. Alternate Oblique Throw
Why it works: This movement emphasizes the obliques, as Miklaus says, many people tend to neglect them. “Every time you catch the ball, think about pushing your tailbone back like you’re going to bump into someone, then squeeze your buttocks and stand up with as much force as possible, being careful not to overextend the hips,” he explains. “Although most of the work in this exercise comes from your heartthe buttocks and hamstrings; you’ll also target the biceps and anterior deltoid muscles in your arms.
How to do: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward, and about arm’s length from a wall. Hold a medicine ball with both hands below, below the chest. Keeping the core engaged, twist to the right. Then, toss the medicine ball against the wall as you spin forward. Grab it, then turn left. Repeat. Keep alternating. Do 15 repetitions on each side.
6. Triple Chest Toss to Burpee
Why it works: Miklaus says that burpees some of this movement—which you can do by keeping your chest off the ground or dropping into a push-up—adds dynamic athletic movement that also forces core engagement. You challenge the lower body muscles in this exercise, while also recruiting the shouldersthe chest and triceps, as well as all the deep muscles trunk muscles.
How to do: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, at arm’s length from a wall. Hold a medicine ball at chest level. Throw the ball against the wall three times. Then crouch down placing the ball on the ground, jump back into a plank position, using the ball as support. Then jump the feet towards the ball. Repeat. Do 10 reps.
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