Using a combination of research and personal experimentation we have put together a list of our overall top 8 exercises as well as other ‘mini lists’ with recommendations for men, women, working different muscle groups, training with a partner and also training for specific sports. In total there are 19 exercises listed and described in the guide. If you would like to skip to a particular section then you can use one of the links below:
Benefits of Medicine Ball Exercises – Why Use Them?
Medicine balls have been used for years for one simple reason – they work. You can build a full body workout using nothing more than a medicine ball and achieve some amazing results. Exercises using a ball are particularly effective for building core strength and working your abs and lower back. They also allow you to combine both cardiovascular and strength training in the same workout, as well as muscle building.
These exercises allow you to build what is knows as functional strength by working all major muscle groups and their stabilizers together, rather that just isolating one or two as you do with many regular weight training activities. In both everyday life and also in sports we regularly move in an unlimited number of different ways, not really using the rigid and robotic movements associated with many forms of training. Medicine ball exercises involve what are known as Multiplanar movements which are particularly effective for athletes as they replicate ‘in game’ moves very well. They do not repeat the same motions over and over. The net result of all of this is that your body will become much more efficient overall.
A medicine ball is also a great way to improve your propioception which is basically your understanding of different body parts and muscle groups, where they are in relation to each other and also how they interact to work together. This is a really key benefit for anyone who takes part in sports as both coordination and overall agility levels will improve.
So now that we have an idea why you should be using a med ball, here is our hit list with 8 of the best exercises to get you off to a strong start. A number of separate mini guides will follow the main list.
8 of The Best
1. The Woodchopper
The Woodchopper and its variations are great exercises for building up and toning your core, back, shoulders, legs, glutes and both the upper and lower arms.
To perform the wood chop, start by holding the ball above your head with both hands and stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart. Your arms should be very slightly bent. The first part of the movement involves bending forward while swinging your arms down beneath your legs, try to swing your arms back as far as they will go without bending them further. Imagine you were going to throw the ball behind you, but obviously make sure you keep hold of it. To complete the exercise simply reverse the movement by standing up and swinging your arms back to the overhead position.
- Keep your arms bent just a little at all times.
- Try to perform the exercise as fast as possible, but keep the motion controlled.
- Practice the movement without a medicine ball first until you have perfected it.
Side to Side Woodchopper – This is the same as the standard motion but instead of swinging the ball through your legs, swing it diagonally to one side so that it passes the outside of your knee. Switch between left and right for each repetition.
Woodchopper Squat – Start in the same position as when performing the regular woodchopper but instead of bending forward, squat down as you would for a dead lift when swinging the arms down and through your legs. Be sure to keep your back straight and head up so you face forwards at all times.
2. The Russian Twist
The Russian Twist is designed to build your obliques but also works the abs and core.
The motion itself is very simple. To start, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and hold the ball out in front of you, keeping your arms straight. Twist your torso to the right as far as you can and then return to the starting position before then twisting to the left. Your head should turn with your body as you twist. One full repetition is complete once you have performed the twist to both sides.
Russian Twist Tips
- Keep your eyes on the medicine ball at all times so your head and body move together.
- Ensure your arms remain straight and at shoulder height, do not allow them to drop.
- Keep your feet and legs still so that only your trunk twists during the exercise.
Russian Twist Variations
3. Medicine Ball Slams
Slams are an explosive exercise which can effectively build abdominal and core strength. They will also work the shoulders and lower back.
Start by standing with your knees slightly bent and feet a little more than shoulder width apart, while holding the medicine ball high above your head. Now bend forward from your waist and use the power of your abdominal muscles to slam the ball as hard as possible into the ground roughly one foot in front of you. Catch the ball as it bounces up, return to the starting position and repeat.
Medicine Ball Slam Tips
- Do not hold back! Slam the ball into the ground as quickly as you can with as much force as possible.
4. Squat and Press
The Squat and Press will build your quads, hamstrings, glutes, triceps and shoulders – a great overall body workout.
Begin by standing and holding the ball close to your body in front of your chest, your feet should be just a little wider than shoulder width. Now perform a squat and make sure you go deep enough so that your hamstrings are below parallel with the floor. Push up out of the squat while at the same time pushing the ball up and over your head, try to use the power of your legs to aid you in getting the ball above head height. Bring the ball back to the starting position and repeat.
Squat and Press Tips
- Make sure you perform a full squat where your legs go slightly beyond the point of being parallel with the floor.
- The push up out of the squat should be an explosive movement.
Squat and Press Variations
Squat and Throw – Rather than simply pushing the medicine ball above your head as the movement ends you can throw it high into the air, again using the power of the legs to aid this. When you have caught the ball return it to the chest position and begin the next repetition.
5. Big Circles
Performing Big Circles with a medicine ball is a great way to work your abs, shoulders and oblique muscles.
In the starting position you will be standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms straight up above your head holding the medicine ball. While keeping the arms straight, rotate your arms to the left then down in front of your pelvis, before moving them out to your right then finally back to the starting position above your head. The easiest way to visualise this movement is to imagine drawing a large circle with the medicine ball in front of your body while keeping your arms straight. Once you have completed 10 circles by rotating to the left, repeat the movement by rotating to the right for a further 10 reps.
Big Circles Tips
- Make sure your knees remain slightly bent throughout the movement.
- Try to keep the arms straight.
- Stretch to make the biggest circle possible.
Big Circles Variations
You can combine the Big Circles exercise with the Medicine Ball Slam. When you complete a circle and return to the starting position with the ball above your head, carry out the slam before starting your next circle.
6. Lunge with Rotation
This medicine ball exercise will strengthen your legs, glutes, obliques and core muscles. It is also great for improving balance and overall stability.
Stand with your feet at shoulder width and the medicine ball held out straight in front of your chest with both hands, your arms should remain straight at all times. Now perform a lunge forward with one foot, you should ideally land in a position where your knee is directly above your ankle when your foot is planted on the floor. When you are in the lunge position, rotate your core to one side above the forward leg as far as you can. If you lunge with the left leg then you will be rotating to the left and vice versa. Rotate your torso back so the ball is held out in front of your chest again and then return to the starting position. This is one rep.
Lunge with Rotation Tips
- Hold the ball out as far as possible in front of your body when performing the twist.
- Do not allow your knees to move laterally when performing the rotation, only your torso should twist.
Lunge with Rotation Variations
- This exercise can be performed stationary or in a walking motion if you have enough room to do so.
7. Figure of Eights
Performing Figure of Eights will pretty much work your whole body upper body. They are one of the best med ball exercises for back strength (upper and lower) and also do well for the deltoids, core and shoulders.
In the starting position you will be stood with your feet at shoulder width holding the ball with both hands above your right shoulder, just next to your ear. Now move the ball diagonally across your body down towards your left knee until your arms are fully extended. Bring the ball up to your left ear and repeat the motion, this time moving the ball from the ear, down across your body to your right knee. To finish, bring the ball back to the starting position near your right ear. This completes one repetition. The idea is to ‘draw’ large, looping circles with the ball so that they would form a sideways figure of eight in front of your body. You can stand in front of a mirror to check you are forming the correct shapes.
Figure of Eight Tips
- When moving the ball diagonally across your body, imagine you are chopping wood, but remain standing up straight.
- The exercise should be performed as one smooth continuous movement.
8. Medicine Ball Crunches
Performing crunches with a medicine ball is a great way to work on that flat stomach and tone your abs.
Start by lying with your knees bent and back on the floor, you may want to use some kind of exercise mat for comfort if there is no carpet. Your shoulders should be raised slightly off of the floor so you are not lying totally flat. Take the ball and hold it with both hands against your chest. Now perform a regular crunch sit up and use your abdominals to hold your body in the forward position for 1-2 seconds. To complete one repetition, return to the initial starting position.
Medicine Ball Crunch Tips
- Keep the motion controlled and make sure that your abs are doing the work, do not swing the ball to gain momentum.
- If you are having trouble keeping your feet on the ground while performing the crunch, wedge them under a heavy object such as an exercise bench or weight rack. You can also ask a training partner to hold them in position.
Medicine Ball Crunch Variations
Crunch and Twist – As you complete the crunch and are in the forward sitting position, twist your upper torso to one side and then back to the center, before lying back down. Alternate between left and right side twists.
Crunch and Throw – With a partner standing directly in front you, throw the medicine ball to them as you sit up. They will then throw the ball back so you can catch it before lying back into the starting position to complete the rep. If you do not have a partner you can instead throw the ball at a wall in front of you, catching it on the rebound.
Overhead Crunch – Start in the lying down position but this time holding the ball above your head with your arms straight. As you perform the crunch the ball should finish above your knees before you return to the starting position.
Medicine Ball Exercises for Women
Women are often a little cautious about weight training or using dumbbells as they do not want to add bulk or just appear to be slightly ‘too muscly’. This can be a valid concern but there are a whole range of exercises you can work in to your training sessions that will tone your body and increase fat loss without building up too much muscle mass. Many of them involve the use of a medicine ball which is great news for women looking to work on their abs and core to lose those extra bits of fat which are notoriously hard to shift. Here are three great women’s exercises for you to try with a ball, and guys, these are awesome for you too!
1. Medicine Ball Twists
Start by sitting on the floor or on an exercise mat with your knees bent and the soles of your feet down flat on the ground. Take the ball in both hands and hold it out in front of your chest with your arms straight. Lean back until your body is at roughly a 45 degree angle – this is the starting position. Begin the exercise by twisting your upper body to the left and touching the ball on the ground then perform the same motion while twisting to the right.
Medicine Ball Twist Tips
- Keep your lower body still and only twist your torso from the waist.
- Move your head with your body as it twists so you are looking at the ball.
Medicine Ball Twist Variations
To make the exercise more difficult, raise your feet very slightly off of the ground and keep them in the same position while performing the twists.
2. Medicine Ball Chop and Leg Lift
This is a great exercise for working your glutes, hips and core muscles, areas that most women like to focus on toning.
While holding the ball above your head with slightly bent arms, stand with your feet at shoulder width. Bring the ball down diagonally across your body to the outside of your left hip. While performing this motion, raise your left knee to at least a 90 degree angle. Return to the starting position and repeat. Switch sides and carry out the same number of repetitions for the right side.
Chop and Leg Lift Tips
- The exercise should be one smooth motion with the ball moving across your body and your knee being raised at the same time.
- Try to repeat as fast as possible while still maintaining good technique.
3. Medicine Ball Push Ups
Push ups using a medicine ball will tone your chest, arms and abdomen. They are a great way to fight flappy skin around the triceps or “bingo wings” as they are sometimes known – a very common concern for many women. There are many different ways to perform this medicine ball exercise so we will go over a handful of variations for you to try.
Begin by placing the ball on the ground with both of your hands on top of it. Assume the press up position with either your knees on the floor with your legs bent backwards in the air slightly, or your toes touching the floor (knees resting on the floor makes the exercise easier). Your body weight is now supported by your hands on the medicine ball and either your knees or toes. Your torso should remain tense. Now bend your arms so your chest moves downwards towards the ball, just as it is about to touch your hands straighten your arms again to complete the push up.
Medicine Ball Push Up Tips
- Keep your back straight and do not allow your legs or stomach/torso to sag downwards towards the floor.
- You head should be facing the floor – do not pull it back or let it drop downwards.
Medicine Ball Push Up Variations
One Arm Variation – Here you place one hand on the ball and the other on the floor, make sure you complete the same number of reps for each side.
Two Ball Pushups – This involves performing push ups using two medicine balls with one hand on each.
Medicine Ball Exercises for Men
Men have been long time fans of the medicine ball, using it as a way of building lean muscle mass and also shedding that belly fat to build rock hard abs. Here are 3 of the best men’s exercises:
1. Medicine Ball Curls (With Exercise Band)
Medicine balls can be extremely effective for building your biceps, but to get the most out of them it is best to also use a rubber exercise band. This exercise will also work your chest muscles at the same time. Here is how to do it . . .
Begin by standing with your feet at shoulder with, trapping the band beneath each foot. Hold the medicine ball tight with both hands and allow the band to wrap over the top of it, this will provide the resistance as you perform the curl. Keep your back straight and do a set of two handed medicine ball curls, bringing the ball up to your chest.
Medicine Ball Curl Tips
- Increase band tension to work your arms harder.
2. Medicine Ball Chest Pass
The chest pass is a fantastic way to build all round upper body strength, develop explosive power and build your core all in one exercise. This will work the biceps, triceps, forearms, lats, abs and quads.
Stand in front of a wall (roughly three feet away) holding a medicine ball in front of your chest with one hand placed on each side of the ball and thumbs pointing back towards you. Keep your feet at shoulder width and maintain a slight bend in your knees. The idea is to throw the ball with as much power as possible against the wall by pushing it outwards from your chest, then catching the ball as it bounces back, bringing it back to your chest before repeating.
Medicine Ball Chest Pass Tips
Maintain balance at all times, do not allow your weight to fall back onto your heels.
Ensure the ball bounces back at chest level, not lower. If it starts to dip before reaching you then throw harder, higher or move slightly closer to the wall.
Medicine Ball Chest Pass Variations
3. Medicine Ball V’s
Medicine Ball V’s will give your abs a great workout and can also build quad muscles at the same time.
Start lying flat out on the floor holding the medicine ball back behind your head with both hands. Both your arms and legs should be fully straightened. Next lift your legs a few inches from the ground and hold them there, you are now in the start position. To begin the exercise, move your torso and legs up together so they eventually meet with the ball touching your feet or the bottom of your legs. When you reach this position hold it for a second or two then return to the start position – that is one repetition.
Medicine Ball V Tips
- Make sure you keep both your legs and arms straight throughout the exercise.
- Reach as far as you can with the ball, ideally aiming to touch it against your feet.
- Make sure the movement is controlled, do not jerk up to gain extra momentum.
Medicine Ball V Variations
Medicine Ball Exercises for Abs and Core Strengthening
Most exercises using a ball will give your abs at least some kind of workout and many will work them super hard. Here is a list of 5 of our top ab exercises using a med ball to help you build that illusive six pack, burn tummy fat and get flat abs.
1. Medicine Ball Crunches + Variations
In our earlier list of the overall top 8 exercises you saw crunches at number 8. Crunches are highly effective and have always been popular but using a ball adds many new dimensions to this exercise. Be sure to try the regular medicine ball crunch and also the three variations we explained. These are the crunch and twist, crunch and throw and also the overhead crunch.
2. Medicine Ball Slams
Slams were number 3 in our original top 8 list and are a great medicine ball exercise for core strength. Many people do not think of them as an effective ab workout, but just try a few reps and you will see that when done correctly the power for the slam is generated from the abdominal and core muscles.
3. Medicine Ball Twists + Variations
Twists were number 1 in our top 3 women’s exercises . . . but don’t let this put you off guys! Try adding the twists to your abdominal workout along with the following two variations we mentioned: Feet raised up off of floor and Decline Twists.
4. The Woodchopper
The woodchopper is a great core abdominal medicine ball exercise and appeared first in our top 8 exercises. Be sure to contract your abs to get the full benefit, you should really feel them tighten as the ball is swung back up and over your head when returning to the start position. Also try the two variations: The Side-to-Side Woodchopper and the Woodchopper Squat which are also good core exercises.
5. Medicine Ball V’s
V’s were at number 3 on our list of exercises for men but are a fantastic choice for anyone wanting to build ab muscles and tone their stomach. This exercise can be difficult to begin with but stick with it and use a lighter ball than usual if necessary. Make sure you try out the variations and switch between holding the ball in your hands and between your ankles.
Those 5 should help you develop both upper and lower abdominal muscle strength and definition, there are obviously a few more ab medicine ball exercises but these will get you off to a flying start! Also keep an eye out as we update the list.
Exercises for Arms
A medicine ball can be used very effectively to build up your upper arms including biceps and triceps, as well as the forearms. Here are3 of the best to start with:
1. Medicine Ball Curl with Exercise Band
This was the first exercise in our men’s exercises list and gives a great workout for both the biceps and forearms. Do as many reps as you can until you cannot complete another full one without cheating.
2. Medicine Ball Push Ups
Featured at number 3 on our list of women’s exercises, push ups really should not be left out by anyone looking to either tone or build their arms and chest. The great thing about this exercise is that there are a number of variations to try, allowing you to make things as easy or difficult as you like. Along with the standard two handed medicine ball push ups try the incline and decline, one handed and two ball variations.
3. Medicine Ball Chest Pass
Taken from position number 2 on our men’s exercise list, this is one of the best upper body exercises using a ball. It also allows you to work on your balance and core strength. Be sure to try the squat variation as well.
Exercises for Your Legs and Lower Body
You can give your lower body a great workout using nothing more than a medicine ball. Here are our top 3 for building up your quads, gluts and hamstrings.
1. Medicine Ball Squat and Press
The squat and press was number 4 in our top 8 exercises list. It is a great way to build up and tone your quads, glutes and hamstrings while also working your upper body and core. Remember to try and use the power of your legs to aid the push up above your head.
2. The Woodchopper
This is an extremely popular exercise and was number 1 in our top 8. The Woodchopper also builds the glutes hamstrings quadriceps and core for a great lower body workout.
3. Lunge with Rotation
This is another great all round lower body medicine ball exercise and was featured at number 6 in our original top 8. Be sure to try the walking variation and the stationary exercise as well as working in multiple twists to work your core extra hard.
Exercises for Your Chest
There are some fantastic med ball exercise options for chest strength and toning, you can give this muscle group a great workout with just a few variations. Here are some of our most effective favorites:
1 – 3. Medicine Ball Push Ups – Multiple Variations
Push ups were number 3 in our list of exercises for women above but they are also great for guys looking to build chest muscle and power. Try the multiple variations we explained including the following:
- Two handed push ups on a single ball.
- One handed push ups on a single ball (one hand on the ball, the other on the ground).
- Two handed push ups with two balls (one hand on each ball)
All of these can include incline and decline variations using a bench or step up block.
4. Medicine Ball Chest Pass
Exercises with a Partner
1. Back to Back Medicine Ball Pass
This exercise will give your obliques a great work out while at the same time working the abs and lower back muscles.
Start by standing back to back with your partner, one of you should be holding the ball at chest height with both hands. The idea here is to twist your upper body to your left and pass the ball to your partner (they will be twisting to their right to receive it). Your partner then twists to their left and passes the ball back to you, with you twisting to your right to receive. This completes a circle shape and one repetition. Change directions after completing your required number of reps.
Back to Back Medicine Ball Pass Tips
- Make sure that it is your torso which is twisting to pass the ball and your feet remain stationary.
Back to Back Medicine Ball Pass Variations
This exercise can also be carried out while the two of you are kneeling down back to back on the floor, rather than standing.
2. Medicine Ball Slams with a Partner
Slams were the number 3 exercise in our top 8. To do slams with a partner simply stand facing them and throw the ball into the ground at an angle where it will bounce towards them, rather than bouncing straight back up for you to catch. Instead your partner catches the ball then completes a slam themselves, bouncing the ball back to you.
3. Medicine Ball Chest Pass for Two
The chest pass was at number 2 in our list of exercises for men. If you want to carry this out with another person simply throw the ball towards them so they can catch it, rather than throwing against a wall.
Medicine Ball Chest Pass for Two Variations
You can vary this exercise by moving around between passes and jumping forwards and backwards or side to side so you are both kept on your toes. There are other variations to try such as standing on one leg to bring in an element of balance.
4. Medicine Ball Lunge and Chest Pass for Two
This is a great partner exercise to work your legs, gluts, obliques, arms, chest and core muscles while at the same time improving stability and balance.
Stand opposite your partner while holding the ball in close to your chest with both hands. Now lunge forward with one foot and aim to land with your knee directly above your ankle. When in this position throw the ball to your partner for them to catch before returning to the starting stance, they will then repeat the exercise and throw the ball to you.
5. Medicine Ball Crunch and Twist with Partner
The crunch was the 8th exercise in our original top 8 list. This variation allows two people to carry out the exercise together.
Sit opposite your partner with one of you holding the ball and perform the crunch and twist as we explained earlier, you should both be doing the exercise at the same time. Once one repetition has been completed throw the ball to your partner so they can do a rep with it before passing it back to you. In this exercise you are both performing the crunch and twist movements at the same time, just taking turns at holding the ball and passing it after each rep.
6. Medicine Ball Squat and Throw to Partner
This is a great full body workout medicine ball exercise for two. It will work your legs, glutes, core shoulders and arms.
Stand opposite your partner with feet at shoulder width and knees slightly bent. Your back should remain straight as you are preparing to squat. One of you will hold the ball in close to your chest while you both squat simultaneously. When pushing up and out of the squat, use your leg power to aid you when throwing the ball up high into the air for your partner to catch. Your partner will catch the ball above their head before bringing it in to their chest and repeating the exercise, then throwing the ball back to you as the next squats are completed.
Those are some of the best ball exercises to do in a group of two (or more if you want to rotate). I will be updating this section after looking into some further exercises soon.
Training for Sports with a Medicine Ball
Many professional athletes incorporate medicine balls into their training regimens which often contain specific exercises suited to individual sports. Here I will take a look at some popular sports along with some appropriate medicine ball exercises to work into your training plan.
Exercises for Tennis Players
Training with medicine balls can add huge benefits to a tennis training regimen as core strength and stability is extremely important for any successful player. Equally important is the development of explosive power in the muscles of not just the upper body, but also in the legs and core which are the source of much of the power behind the shots of the world’s best players.
Slams were the 3rd exercise in my top 8 list and can add huge value to any tennis training program. They are one of the very best tennis exercises using a ball because of the explosive nature of the movement – this builds the necessary power throughout the upper body and core muscles. When performing the slam, be sure to throw the ball down as hard as possible, your feet would ideally leave the ground.
2. Parallel Wall Throws
This is an exercise we have not yet covered but one which can build fantastic core strength while mimicking the twisting motion used in a variety of shots.
You will need to stand with an open stance and your legs slightly bent facing a nearby wall a few feet in front of you. While holding the medicine ball at waist height with both hands (one underneath and one behind it), twist your torso to one side away from the wall and bring the ball back by the side of your hip. Now twist from the hip back towards the wall using your core muscles to power the release of the ball directly at the wall face. Catch the ball on the rebound and repeat the exercise. Carry out both forehand and backhand style throws so that each side of your body is worked equally.
3. Figure of Eights
This was number 7 on our top 8 medicine ball exercises list and offers great benefits to tennis players. The exercise will work most of the upper body and also your core, all muscle groups used in this exercise are vital for every shot you will play.
Exercises for Golf
Golf is another sport where core strength and stability is extremely important and so medicine balls can be a great addition to a golf work out. Rotary power is a huge part of the golf swing and using a ball can be an effective way of improving and developing this power. Here are three great exercises for golf:
1. Medicine Ball Golf Swing
This exercise mimics your regular golf swing but the added weight of the ball helps to build up your rotary power.
Stand exactly as you would when performing your swing but hold the medicine ball with two hands in front of your waist. Carry out your backswing while keeping both hands on the ball. When you reach the top proceed with your regular swing action through all the stages until the end of the follow through where you will hold the ball for 1-2 seconds. Basically this exercise involves carrying out your golf swing as accurately as possible while holding the ball at all times.
2. Parallel Wall Throws
As seen above in the tennis section, the parallel wall throw is a great way to build core muscle strength with a twisting movement. This is the kind of power which is really necessary to develop your golf swing.
3. Medicine Ball Twists
Twists are listed as number 3 in the women’s exercise list but are also one of the more effective golf exercises. This is because they will build your obliques and abdominal muscles – two key muscle groups for enhancing your rotary power, core strength and therefore your golf swing.
Exercises for Basketball
Basketball players can benefit hugely from working medicine balls into their routine. A very large number of top flight teams will regularly perform exercises using medicine balls because the movements involved in many of the exercises correlate very well with actual in-game play. We know that using a ball is one of the very best ways to build core strength and also strength in the squat position. This is huge for a basketball player as the core and squat form the foundation for the triple extension – hips, knees and ankles. It is vital to build, stabilize and strengthen the muscles that surround these three joints if you wish to compete successfully at a high level.
With the above in mind, here are three fantastic basketball medicine ball exercises:
1. The Woodchopper and Angled Chops
This exercise can be found at number 1 on our original top 8 list. Ball players are going to want to make sure they are stabilizing their body using their hips and knees. Also remember to keep your arms straight at all times in order to work your core as hard as possible.
As well as the regular Woodchopper, work the angled wood chops into your routine to both the left and right sides.
2. The Russian Twist
The Twist was number 2 in our top 8 exercises. This is a great core and oblique building exercise, two very important muscle groups for basketball players. Twists are an effective way to build up strength in your stance while under pressure from nearby opponents.
3. Squat and Press
From number 4 in the top 8, the Squat and Press works several muscle groups which are vital in high performance basketball. These are the quads, glutes, core and shoulders.
For more ideas check out this full medicine ball basketball training workout from the University of North Carolina’s basketball training handbook, I personally think it is great: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/ultimate-medicine-ball-workout
Exercises for Hockey Players
To play hockey at a good level requires very high overall fitness as well as core strength and balance. If you can build strength which is both functional and also explosive this is going to be a huge help to your game. This is where hockey medicine ball exercises come in as they are one of the best ways to build up strength of this kind. Here are three great exercises for hockey using a ball:
1. Parallel Wall Throws
Throws were featured at number 2 in our tennis exercise list but they are also fantastic for developing your physique for hockey. The exercise develops your core muscles as well as rotary strength, both of which are hugely important when performing wrist shots and slap shots.
2. Lunge with Rotation
The Rotation Lunges came in at number 6 on our top 8 list. The exercise will primarily work your legs and build core strength, allowing you to improve that all important balance on the ice and stay in control when making quick movements and sharp turns.
3. The Woodchopper
This exercise has appeared in quite a number of our lists, because it is just so effective. We originally explained it in position number 1 of the top 8 exercises list. A great exercise for building that vital core strength, make sure you also do the variations we described – side chops. These will improve your rotary strength and your balance at the same time, two key components for an effective hockey player.
Exercises for Boxing
Core abdominal strength is extremely important for boxers of all levels and so medicine balls have played a key role in boxing training programs for a very long time. Here are three of my favorite boxing exercises that use a ball to build up the ultra strong core you will need to succeed in the ring:
1. Medicine Ball Stomach Hits
This is an exercise we have not come across yet in this article but it is a fantastic way to tone your abs specifically for boxing and practice taking an impact to your core muscles. The exercise basically simulates being punched in the stomach.
Start with a medicine ball and a willing training partner standing around 2 meters in front of you. Holding the ball with both hands, throw it directly at your partner’s abdomen by pushing forward forcefully. As the ball is heading towards their stomach, your partner should NOT catch it or block it before it hits them. The idea here is to take the full impact and get both your body and mind used to how this feels. Your partner catches the ball on the rebound and only after it has hit them, before repeating the exercise and throwing the ball at you.
There will need to be some level of trust between the two of you here. Be sure to start with a light ball and throw conservatively the first time you carry out this exercise. You will soon be able to move to a heavier ball and begin training more intensely as you get used to taking the impact and learn how far you can push each other.
2. Medicine Ball Crunches + Variations
Crunches were number 8 on our original 8 top exercises list. They are one of the best ways to build core abdominal strength that is vital for anyone who wants to achieve boxing success. Remember to also try to two variations we suggested, these are crunches with twists and also crunches where the ball is thrown either against a wall or to a partner as you sit up.
3. Back to Back Medicine Ball Pass
The Back to Back pass was the first in our list of partner exercises. It works the core, obliques and lower back muscles very well. Adding this exercise to your boxing program will help you build the core strength you need to generate as much power as possible in your punches.
Although the lists above are far from exhaustive, whatever your goals are there should be some fantastic exercises on this page for you. If any of your favorites have been left out, why not let me know so I can get them included? Also feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and let me know whether you agree or disagree with what is written.