When I first started as a personal trainer I didn’t have a studio. I worked in my clients’ homes. I had many clients with rather impressive selections of exercise equipment. However, they needed me to hold them accountable to actually use the equipment.
Others had nothing. I brought with me any tools we might need. I quickly learned how to design programs using body weight, bands and other simple pieces of equipment. One of my favorites was the medicine ball.
A medicine ball can be used in many exercises like a dumbbell, but also provides a new level of versatility because of their shape and their ability to be thrown or bounced. You can use them for strength or cardio. Check out my favorite medicine ball exercises to see what I mean.
Medicine ball slams: This core activating and heart rate elevating exercise is the favorite among my clients They ask for it! How often does that happen? Use a rubber medicine ball that will bounce. Hold it high above your head then throw it forcefully down to the ground. Grab and repeat.
Medicine ball squat to press: Assume a wider than hip stance with your feet turned out slightly. Hold your medicine ball at chest height. Lower into your squat, being sure to keep your chest up and your weight back in your heels. As you rise up push the medicine ball up over head, making sure you fully extend your arms.
Medicine ball twist: I love this one to work obliques and arms at the same time, or for clients who can’t get to the ground for core work. Start by standing with both feet flat on the ground, shoulder width apart. Hold the medicine ball in front of you at chest height with arms fully extended. Twist from the middle keeping the ball out front and your feet flat on the floor. Rotate from side to side making sure each time to focus on the twist and letting the motion come from the waist. If it makes you dizzy don’t let your eyes follow the ball!
Soccer taps: Let’s get your heart rate up and channel your inner Olympian. Place the medicine ball at your feet. Shift your weight from side to side as you lift a leg up and tap the top of the ball with your toe. Make sure you bring your knee all the way up so you hit the top of the ball and not kick it on the side. This is a great option for interval training.
Medicine ball push ups: Regular push ups getting boring? Get in push up position with a medicine ball under one hand and the other flat on the ground. Perform a push up, then roll the ball to the other hand. This can be done on your toes or knees just keep your body straight and don’t engage your hips.
Medicine balls are a perfect portable workout tool. If you’ve got a summer road trip planned, grab a medicine ball to do these moves on the road. You’ll have fun and get a great workout on the go.
June 30th, 2012