In an informal survey of my friends, clients and fellow trainers, I asked: What's the least used piece of fitness equipment in your home? "All of them," was a common answer, but the second most popular answer: "The medicine ball." Everyone seems to have one and no one really knows what to do with it...toss it in the air? Juggle it? Throw it at the trainer's head to 'test her reflexes?'
I use the medicine ball in a number of ways, but I really like it for whole body, dynamic exercises that challenge everything from strength and cardio fitness to coordination and stability. I particularly like the medicine ball as a distraction. As my clients are rolling, tossing or playing with them, they don't realize they're exercising.
Below are some of my favorite medicine ball exercises and, of course, I'd love to hear from you. Do you use a medicine ball in your workouts? What are your favorite medicine ball exercises?
For this exercise, you squat to the side while circling the ball all the way around to the opposite hip, making another overhead circle as you step back. This is a great challenge for one's coordination and patience.
Diagonal Wood Chop
This is one of my favorite functional exercises because it involves lateral movement with rotation, two things that are often lacking in our workouts. This is a great move for warming up the core and the lower body.
Squat, Dribble and Toss
This is another favorite of mine because it's one of the few moves that my clients occasionally admit is 'fun.' Tossing and dribbling a ball can distract you from the fact that you're exercising.