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Medicine Ball Moves Are the Most Overlooked Way to Fire up Your Entire Body

Zoe Weiner

Zoe WeinerApril 4, 2019

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Photo: Getty Images/Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm

There’s that one corner in the gym, somewhere between the mats and the weights, that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. You know the one I’m talking about—where the medicine balls all just sort of hang out together until, once in a blue moon, some adventurous soul comes over and takes one out for a test drive. But while they may not seem as sexy and exciting as the cardio equipment, or as easy to grab-and-go as the weights, medicine balls should not be overlooked when it comes to getting in a full-body workout.

Sure, you’re probably familiar with slams (a trainer favorite in seemingly every modality), but what you may not realize is that there are literally hundreds of other ways to feel the medicine ball burn from your head—or at least, shoulders—to your toes. “Using a medicine ball provides countless uses that can be used to increase muscular stretch, endurance, and power,” says Tony Vacharasanee, a trainer at NYC’s BodySpaceFitnes. “They can be thrown, caught, and used to provide resistance for many movements, in all three planes of motion, and at varying speeds.” He also notes that both beginners and experts can benefit from their versatility. 

Developing explosive power is one of the unique benefits of using medicine balls since maximal movement speed is critical to increasing power capabilities,” he says. “Medicine balls are great for this since they allow movements to occur as explosively as possible without the need for eccentric deceleration.” 

Trainer and influencer Mariela Bravo Fit is a big fan of med balls (which are prominently featured on her Instagram feed) because they help you to work on your balance, while also strengthening and conditioning your other muscle groups. “Most of the exercises with a medicine ball require balance,” she tells me. “They’re also very versatile by using an appropriate weight.” To supplement your medicine ball moves with a little bit of cardio, Vacharasanee likes to do two different exercises followed by a sprint. He does this for two to three sets, then changes up the moves.

See? I told you you could get a full body burn with these things. Here, trainers share their fave full-body moves to help you stop ignoring that medicine ball corner once and for all.

Mariela Bravo Fit

Debi Lofstrand


Stephanie Derby

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Grab a wall ball for this Thursday HIIT circuit! You can use any medicine ball or just your bodyweight.. . —— ✏️30 seconds each, 30 seconds rest. 3-5 rounds. Adjust to your level of #fitness. —— 1️⃣Jump & press. 2️⃣1/2 burpee press. 3️⃣Switch lunges w rotation. 4️⃣Forward #lunge press. 5️⃣Twist & press. 🔄Rest & repeat!! . —— 🔴12 lb ball from @rfe_fitness . . —— 🤸🏻‍♂️Have fun with it and enjoy the day!! . ——- 💫💫💫💫💫💫💫💫💫💫💫 #cardio #homeworkout #gym #wallball #medicineballworkout #coreworkout #core #abs #abworkout #cardiocore #womenshealth #wod #dynamax #workoutoftheday #igfitness #igfit #tiu #bbg #hiitworkout #fitlife #fitforlife #stephderbyfitness #reebok

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Robin Niderost

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//Holy Hotel Med Balls! SCORE!// 👉 Tag a friend that likes a challenge! 👉 Including 2 Awesome Core Challenges 👉 Rain day means hit the hotel gym! Always fun to see what is there! This one actually has a slide board! 👉 Swipe left ⬅️ to see all 6 sets 👉 SO many peeps have crushed the second challenge including… @eatprayrunlift @sfm_fitness @fabiorigas @gymrats.nuff_said CHECK THEM OUT! Sorry I can't remember everyone! 🔹️🔹️🔹️🔹️🔹️🔹️ @gymsharkwomen @womenshealthmag @menshealthmag @coreexcercises 🔹️🔹️🔹️🔹️🔹️🔹️ . . . #coreworkout #medball #medballworkout #performbetter #homeworkout #gymworkout #calisthenics #gymshark #bodyweightworkout #strongwomen #functionaltraining #coreworkout #abchallenge #corechallenge #fitspo #slideboard #pushups #6pack #workoutoftheday #lifestyle #healthylifestyle #burnfat #womenshealth #menshealth #movewithrockinrobin

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Danyele Wilson

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MED BALL HIIT: My go-to circuit to burn max cals, improve endurance and feel POWERFUL AF. 💥 . ACTIVATION: Wall squats — stand as close to the wall as possible sit back into your heels, press the knees outward, keep your chest tall, core tight, and lightly tap dem cheeks on the ball to reinforce proper squat form and depth. . WORKOUT: 30 secs on, 20 off, 4-6 rounds 💥 Wall balls 💥 Superman slams (modification: ball slams) 💥 OH sit-up to chest pass . Even on a Sunday, you don’t HAVE to, you GET to. There’s still plenty of time to get off your couch and get one in today. 💦 . GO MAKE YOUR FUTURE SELF PROUD. . . . . #STRIVE #striveforgreatness #functionaltraining #hiit #conditioning #metcon #wod #workout #medicineballworkout #totalbodyworkout #fitnessmotivation #fitness #fit #fitspo #fitgirl #whstrong #legday #squats #glutes #coreworkout #abs #armworkout #afrogirlfitness #workoutroutine #fitnessgirl #workoutmotivation #gymmotivation #nikewomen #lululemon #danyelewilson

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Another piece of corner equipment you might be overlooking, but shouldn’t be? The Bosu ball. And this is the common mistake that could be totally wrecking your plank practice.

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