If you’ve been strengthening your core with our basic core strengthening routine for the past few months, then you’re probably ready to kick things up a notch. A simple way to do that is to add a medicine ball. Medicine balls are versatile, store easily and retail for about $15-$30 depending on the weight and quality. Just about any exercise you do with your body weight can also be done with a medicine ball. In addition, medicine ball throws help develop power and speed.
The dynamic crunch is a more interesting – and more difficult – variation of the standard medicine ball crunch. In addition to your rectus abdominus, it’ll work your hips and obliques as you alternate lifting each leg and passing the ball underneath.
As the name implies, the oblique twist is highly effective at strengthening the oblique muscles. Performing the exercise with your feet in the air (as shown) makes it even more effective, but it’s okay to start out with your feet on the ground if you haven’t quite developed the balance and core stability required. Remember, you’re not just moving your arms from side to side. To target your obliques your upper body needs to twist, and you’ll know you’re doing it correctly if your shoulders rotate with each twist.
The standing rotation works the obliques and the lower back muscles. Although the model in the video smoothly rotates from side to side, it’s best to pause at the bottom of the rotation. The pause will require some muscle to slow the ball and will keep you from using the ball’s momentum to help you lift the ball up on the other side. Also notice that as he lifts the ball it comes a little over shoulder height and back beyond each shoulder.
Those of you who have been doing the basic core strengthening routine will recognize this exercise as the “Superman”. We’ve simply added resistance in the form of the medicine ball. Your lower back is included in your “core” muscles, and you should be sure to gently work out your lower back each time you work the opposing muscles – your abs.
Throw downs help develop power in the rectus abdominus. They’re best performed outside, in a gym, or in a basement or garage where there is a concrete floor. Remember to keep your navel tucked to your back and your knees slightly bent.
The granny toss develops power in the lower back muscles. Make sure you’ve got plenty of space overhead! A medicine ball can easily be thrown through most ceilings.
Side throws develop power in the obliques. Try to throw hard against the wall, but control the throw so you can catch it on the rebound. Again, make sure you’ve got plenty of room and the wall you’re throwing against is very sturdy.
To create a full-body workout, group or alternate this routine with some of our other workout routines. And there are more to come!