How do I Choose the Best Medicine Ball Workout?

Dan Cavallari

A medicine ball workout will help the user develop muscle and burn fat effectively without spending a significant amount of money on equipment. A medicine ball is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment that can be used at home or at the gym, and they come in different weights to accommodate a range of users. The best medicine ball workout will be tailored to the specific user's needs, as a medicine ball workout can focus on either burning fat, building muscle, or both. A medicine ball workout can further help the user develop what is known as explosiveness, which essentially means building a quicker muscle response time.

Medicine balls may be used in a wide variety of workout classes, including toning yoga and pilates.
Medicine balls may be used in a wide variety of workout classes, including toning yoga and pilates.

Most people begin using a medicine ball workout to utilize a plyometric workout. Plyometrics is the development of muscles in such a way that they can be engaged in fast movements that are powerful — or explosive. If plyometrics is the aim of the medicine ball workout, some exercises that may come in handy are lateral exercises such as the overhead flexation. While standing with the feet firmly planted at hip-length apart, hold the medicine ball above the head. Lock the arms in place and move the ball to the left, hold, then move to the right. Increase speed and longevity as muscle develops over time. Do not start with too many repetitions at once, as this may cause injury.

Another good exercise for the medicine ball workout requires a partner. This exercise can be quite strenuous; it is called the kneel-to-pushup. While kneeling in front of a partner, hold the medicine ball chest-high. Begin to fall forward and thrust the medicine ball forward toward your partner, who will catch the ball. Continue the falling motion and immediately go into a push-up motion. After completing the push-up, return to a kneeling position and prepare to receive the medicine ball from the partner, who will be throwing it back at you. A variation of this exercise is the sit-up throw, in which users lie in the sit-up position facing each other. Upon completing a sit-up, the user throws the medicine ball to a partner, and vice versa.

Swinging the medicine ball in a diagonal motion across the chest will also help develop muscle and burn fat. Doing this exercise enough times in rapid succession will raise the heart rate as well, which contributes to fat burning. An alternative to this exercise is the figure-eight twirl, in which the user swings the medicine ball downward from one shoulder, then upward toward the other, and vice versa.

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Discussion Comments


@heavanet- I have this problem too and my physical therapist put me on an exercise regimen that included using medicine balls. She instructed me to start with the lightest medicine ball available, and do lifts with it. I hold it in front of my body, lift it over my head, and then back down to the starting position. I do several repetitions of this exercise, depending on my comfort level.

You should check with your doctor first, but once you have been given medical clearance, I think these types of exercises using medicine balls will help your shoulder problem.


I have heard that working out with different sizes of medicine balls is good for stiff shoulder muscles. Doesn't anyone have any experience using these types of exercises to get relief of sore, stiff shoulders? I have this problem, and I'm looking for exercises I can do at my gym to get some relief.

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