Medicine balls have been in existence for as long as medicine science itself. Sand-filled pouches which could have been the origin of the medicine ball were used by the father of medicine, Hippocrates himself in treating injuries. Medicine balls have been effective in increasing core strength of athletes looking for sport specific workouts.
The first step towards a successful medicine ball workout session is to select the right ball. Medicine balls are available in varying weights. Start by lifting the ball, if you can lift it very easily move to another. The goal is to select a ball which will slow down your motion considerably but not to the level of injury. There are innumerable exercises which can be performed with the medicine ball, but here are the top five exercises which will help you keep your entire body in shape.
1. Power Squat
Give the age old squatting exercise a twist with the medicine ball. Stand in an upright position with your feet shoulder width apart. Lift the medicine ball and hold it outwards with your arms stretched before you. Now, bend your knees till your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold that position for a second and then move back to the neutral position. While pushing back up, make sure pressure is maintained on your legs and not your back.
To perform lunges stand in an upright position with the medicine ball held at waist level. Now, take a step forward with your right leg and bend your knee till your thigh is parallel to the ground. To facilitate this, make sure your left is also in a bent position. To avoid injuries, make sure your knee does not extend past your toes. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat the exercise with the other leg in front. A variation of this exercise can also be performed where rather than returning to the original position you can perform walking lunges by continuously stepping forward.
3. Alternating Push ups
To perform this exercise, get in the push-up stance with one of your palms resting on the medicine ball. Perform the push up and pass the ball to your other arm and perform the push up again. Keep the medicine ball alternating between both the arms.
4. Sit up pass
If you have a workout buddy the sit up pass is the best exercise for you. To perform the exercise sit on the ground facing your partner about 4 to 6 feet apart. Lie down with the medicine ball held overhead and perform a sit-up with the ball still in the same position. As you finish the sit-up throw the ball over to your partner who will repeat the exercise.
5. Russian Twists (Standing)
A great overall exercise, the Russian twist has to be performed by standing with your feet shoulder length apart. Hold the ball at waist behind your left hip and swing it across your body to the right side. The exercise is to be repeated for both the sides.
A medicine ball workout is great for developing core strength but make sure you take advice from a physiotherapist before indulging in these exercises.