On the Ball: Medicine Ball Workout for Cardio & Strength
Looking to vary your routine with exercises that incorporate both cardio and strength training?
Try these simple medicine ball moves — two to three non-consecutive days per week, either on its own or as a part of another strength training routine — for a comprehensive, integrated, and efficient workout. Aim for three sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise.
1. Shuffle, Squat, and Press
This exercise is a great way to include a little cardio and strength training all in one. With a medium weight medicine ball, start in a neutral position with knees slightly bent and a medicine ball held by your chest. To begin, take two, quick shuffles to the left. Follow with two squat-and-press movements. The squat-and-press should be a standard squat while keeping the medicine ball at your chest. As you stand to complete the squat, press the medicine ball all the way over your head (towards the ceiling) and repeat for the second repetition. Next, repeat this entire process, starting with two shuffles to the right instead of the left.
Modification: To make this move low-impact, instead of quick shuffles to the side, take two side steps while staying low in a squat position.
2. Bicycle Crunch and Pass
This move kicks the standard bicycle crunch up a notch. Begin with a small medicine ball that you can hold in one hand. Start in a seated position with feet on the floor and knees slightly bent. From here, lean back into a “V” position, feet off the floor, with the medicine ball in your left hand. Alternating each time, bring your left knee towards your chest. Straighten your right leg, just as if pedaling a bike. When your left knee is all the way up, pass the medicine ball under your calf and into your right hand. Then repeat with the right leg bent and left leg straight, passing the ball back from your right hand into your left.
3. Squat and Chest Press
This move engages your lower body in an extended squat while using the upper body for a press at the same time. Choose a medium weight medicine ball. To begin, stand with feet shoulder width or slightly wider. Hold the medicine ball close to your chest. Lower into a standard squat. As you reach your lowest point, press the medicine ball out directly in front of you at chest height. Bring it back in right away and stand tall again to complete one repetition.
Mix-up your standard plank with this variation using a heavy medicine ball. Begin in a full plank position, arms extended and medicine ball just in front of your right hand. Lifting your right hand, roll the medicine ball towards your left hand. Repeat back and forth for the duration of your plank. Be sure to keep your hips in a neutral position facing the floor; you don’t want them to open to the side or sway while lifting your arms!
5. Table Top Leg Extensions
Laying on your back, begin by holding a small, light medicine ball over your head. Let the ball hover about an inch or two above the floor. Keep both legs out straight. Lift both feet off the floor and draw your knees towards your chest while simultaneously bringing the medicine ball up and crunching to place it on the lower part of your shins. Balance the medicine ball on your shins as you extend your feet completely straight, then immediately bring them back in. Remove the medicine ball, pulling it back to the overhead position and extending your feet straight.
Modification: Instead of extending both legs, just lift one leg off of the ground. Crunch, return arms overhead, and switch legs.