A medicine ball is an excellent addition to your workouts. It’s one of the oldest gym tools around. In fact, ancient athletes used medicine balls to train! You can use a medicine ball to make traditional bodyweight moves more difficult. It adds weight and forces your stabilizing muscles to work more. It is also portable, so you can run, jump, and throw the ball, making it a great functional fitness tool.

How to Begin

Medicine balls can range in weight from 3 pounds to over 20 pounds. You can also buy them with different materials for extra grip. If you’re unsure of how to start with a medicine ball, begin with a smaller weight. You can work your way up as you become stronger. Medicine balls can be used to get a full body workout. Ready to learn how? Here’s how to use a medicine ball to tone your entire body.

Compound Moves

One of the great things about the medicine ball is that you can use it for compound moves that work different muscle groups. You get an efficient workout that truly challenges your body. Here are some compound moves to add into your workouts.

Medicine Ball Slam

This is a fun exercise move because you can release a lot of stress with it! Begin by holding the medicine ball above your head and your feet hip width apart. Keeping your arms straight, bend your knees and slam the ball on to the ground. Keep bending down to pick the ball up and stand back up. This move works your entire body and gets cardio in too!

Squat with an Overhead Press

Begin with your feet hip width apart and the medicine ball at your chest. Squat down, keeping your chest up, butt out, and weight in your heels. As you squat down, lift the medicine ball above your head. Lower the ball down to your chest as you stand back up.

Lunge Pass Under

Begin with your feet hip width apart with the medicine ball at your chest. Step forward into a lunge. Now, pass the medicine ball under your front leg from one hand to the other. Step back into a standing position and bring the ball back to your chest. Step forward with the opposite leg and pass the ball under that leg.

Push Ups

You can do push ups with a medicine ball to help stabilize your core and increase your upper body strength. Start with the medicine ball under one hand and your other hand on the floor. After you do a push up, roll the medicine ball to your other hand and place it on the ball. Your other hand will now be on the floor. Do another push up and then roll the ball back.

Planks and Mountain Climbers

You can do both planks and mountain climbers on a medicine ball. Place the ball on the ground and put both your hands on the ball. You will immediately feel unstable, which is a great way to force your core to work. If you aren’t ready for mountain climbers, just hold a plank. If you need to turn it up a notch, then do mountain climbers while holding onto the ball.

Upper Body

You can use a medicine ball to work your chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and upper back. Here are a few exercises you can do with a medicine ball.


Circles are a great shoulder exercise. Begin by holding the medicine ball above your head. Slowly make a circle with your arms as you bring the ball down towards your stomach and back around.

Tricep Press

Hold the medicine ball above your head with your arms straight. Bend your elbows so that the ball goes behind your head. Bring it back up for one rep. You can do this one sitting, standing, or kneeling for extra difficulty.


Medicine balls are a great way to train your core.

Russian Twist

Sit on the floor and bend your knees so that you are balancing on your butt. You can bring your feet off the floor, or keep them on the floor for better balance. Hold the medicine ball at your chest and then twist to one side, bringing the medicine ball close to the floor. Come back to the middle and then twist to the other side.


Lay on your stomach with your legs and arms fully extended. The medicine ball will be in your hands. Lift your legs and upper body at the same time, so that only your stomach is touching the floor. Bring your legs and upper body down at the same time. This will work your lower back and glutes as well!

Lower Body

If you want to focus on your lower body, here are some exercises for your legs.

Single Leg Deadlift

Begin with your arms extended in front of you, holding the medicine ball. Hinge forward on one leg, lowering your torso towards the ground. Keep your other leg straight behind you. As you lower your upper body, keep your arms straight, so that the medicine ball almost touches the floor. Come back up and repeat on the other leg.

Pistol Squats

Stand on one leg with the medicine ball at your chest. As you lower down on your leg, extend the opposite leg while extending your arms. Go down as low as you can and then come back up. This is an advanced move that take some practice!
You can do just about any move with a medicine ball to add intensity to your workout. Experiment to find what exercises work best for you. You’ll be surprised at how adding this one piece of equipment can make a big difference in your body!

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