7 Beginner Medicine Ball Exercises To Fire Up Your Core

Core exercises used to be my favorite, but hours of virtual mat workouts later, I never want to hear "do a round of crunches" ever again. The good news is reaching for the humble medicine ball is a simple way to add some spice back into your routine.

The medicine ball is drastically underrated for how well it can provide an impressive full-body burn. I mean, even J.Lo's trainer recommends using it regularly. While they're super versatile and can be used numerous different ways: "They can be thrown, caught, and used to provide resistance for many movements, in all three planes of motion, and at varying speeds," says trainer Tony Vacharasanee. And they're especially great for working your core.

Experts In This Article

If you're looking for some medicine ball exercises for beginners to get you started, here are some of the best options to try.

Medicine ball exercises for beginners to fire up your core

1. Medicine ball plank

Do your best to stay still—and not wobbly!—during the medicine ball plank.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a plank position with your hands on the medicine ball.
  2. Keep a neutral spine as you hold for 30 seconds, remaining as stable as possible.
  3. Gently come down to your knees, and repeat for another 30 seconds.

2. Medicine ball roll-ups

Think of these as a twist on Pilates roll-ups. With bent knees and the addition of weight from the medicine ball, you can up the challenge of the exercise.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your mat with your legs bent and your arms overhead, ball in hand.
  2. Slowly roll up as you bring your arms overhead then in front of your body. As you roll up, try not to use momentum. Instead, focus on using your muscle strength.
  3. Roll down to your starting position, vertebra by vertebra. As you roll up, try not to use momentum.

3. Medicine ball boat balance

This exercise tests your balance and stability, as well as targets your lower abs.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on a mat with the medicine ball in hand.
  2. Lean back, keeping your core engaged, and lift your feet off the ground.
  3. Either hold this position for 30 seconds, or make it more challenging by tossing the ball and caching it.

4. Medicine ball lunge twists

Aside from working your quads and glutes, the twist in this exercise also targets your obliques.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a lunge position with the medicine ball in hand.
  2. Starting by holding the medicine ball on the inside of your knee, bring it overhead and lower it to the outside of your knee.
  3. Continue going back and forth for 10 reps, then repeat on the opposite leg.

5. Medicine ball wood chop

If you really want to feel the burn in your obliques, try the medicine ball wood chop.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Holding the medicine ball in both hands, rotate your torso to the right and lift it above your right shoulder.
  3. Rotate your torso to the left as you bring the ball down across your body toward hip-height on your left side.
  4. Complete 10 reps, then switch to the opposite side.

6. Medicine ball side twists

Really dig into your obliques with these medicine ball side twists—aka weighed Russian twists.

How to do it:

  1. Start lying on a mat with your arms overhead and a medicine ball in hand. Make sure your knees are bent.
  2. Rise up, balancing on your butt. Hold the medicine ball by your knees.
  3. Begin twisting from side to side, tapping the mat as you do.

7. Medicine ball squats

Take your squats up a notch by adding a medicine ball to the mix. It works your core, as well as your quads and glutes.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Holding the ball at chest height, lower into a squat.
  3. Return to standing.

Need extra help with your squats? Learn the basics first:

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