The Centers for Disease Control and prevention recommend two to three days of weight-bearing activities weekly and 2.5 hours of cardio exercise weekly. Medicine balls look similar to basketballs, in various sizes that range in weight ranges from about five pounds to fifteen or more pounds. Medicine balls are convenient tools used to build and tone muscles while improving cardiovascular fitness. Complete a combination of 10 to 15 repetitions of at least three of the medicine ball exercises of your choice and repeat two to three times to target different areas and create different medicine ball workouts throughout the week.
Medicine Ball Twists
Medicine ball twists increase the intensity of regular abdominal exercises. For a more intense exercise, increase repetitions and weight. This exercise tightens and tones your core for a sculpted physique. Lying on your back, position yourself with legs slightly spread for stability. Grasp the ball with two hands. Bring yourself up halfway to your knees and twist your body so the ball touches the floor next to the side of your waist. Repeat on the opposite side.
Medicine Ball Partner Toss
The medicine ball partner toss works the pectorals and major latissimus dorsi muscles, or the shoulder muscles. Since this exercise requires partners, it is often used for team practices and couple workouts. Stand a few feet apart from your partner and toss the medicine ball to your partner. Ensure you catch the ball by bending your knees rather than your back to help prevent injury.
Medicine Ball Throw
The medicine ball throw exercise works your pecs or chest muscles and latissimus dorsi. Your rotator cuff helps keep your shoulder in place as you throw the ball. Strong chest and shoulder muscles are needed for lifting objects, and activities such as carrying groceries. Grasp the medicine ball with your hands on either side. Position your hands behind your head with elbows slightly bent and throw the ball in front of you at least a couple feet in front of you. Catch the ball when it bounces off the ground.
Medicine Ball Pushups
Pushups increase your heart rate and are a challenging exercise to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. To make the exercise more challenging, you can include a medicine ball. Medicine ball pushups work your deltoid, pectoral, tricep and abdominal muscles. This exercise also improves balance, which helps prevent falls in older adults. Position two balls shoulder-width apart and place one hand on each ball. Your body should be in a straight line and your feet on your toes. Perform a regular pushup by bending your elbows until you reach a 90-degree angle with your elbows. Straighten your arms.
Medicine Ball Chest Press
If you are working out at home or cannot yet lift a bar for the chest press, using a medicine ball is a convenient tool that is easily accessible and portable. You can use a smaller weight to work your way up to using the bar with weights by starting with a medicine ball. The chest press employs your triceps, deltoid and pectoral muscles. Simulate the chest press with a medicine ball by sitting on an incline bench. Make a triangle with your hands, thumbs and pointer fingers touching. Lower your arms until your hands touch your chin and straighten your arms.
Medicine Ball Squats
Medicine ball squats work all of your lower-body major muscle groups. Squats are useful for maintaining proper body posture by strengthening the back muscles. Strengthening lower back muscles can help you eliminate or decrease back pain. Perform regular squats by starting in a standing position with legs shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until bent at a 90-degree angle. Meanwhile, grasp the medicine ball so your arms are in front of your body. Keep your arms straight, but with a slight bend in your elbows.
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Madison Hawthorne holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing, a master's degree in social work and a master's degree in elementary education. She also holds a reading endorsement and two years experience working with ELD students. She has been a writer for more than five years, served as a magazine submission reviewer and secured funding for a federal grant for a nonprofit organization. Hawthorne also swam competitively for 10 years and taught for two years.