You’ve Never Tried a Core Workout Like This Before

Tony Bonvechio
by Tony Bonvechio
Share it:
You’ve Never Tried a Core Workout Like This Before

Most gyms discourage you from throwing or dropping weights, but medicine balls (med balls for short) are designed for exactly that: slamming, throwing and tossing.

Besides providing some cheap anger management — who doesn’t love blowing off some steam with med ball slams? — med balls work well for nearly any movement you could do with a dumbbell or kettlebell with one crucial addition: You can throw them. This opens the door for tons of fun fat-burning and core-building routines.

We’ve combined nine of our favorite med ball exercises into three quick circuits to increase your core strength and athleticism, all while ramping up your heart rate for a crushing workout in minimal time.

Start with a light ball (2–4 pounds), preferably a soft canvas one with a moderate amount of bounce. You can use rubberized balls, but they may bounce excessively (watch out for your face on the rebound) or hardly bounce at all (forcing you to bend over and pick it up after each rep). Experiment with which med ball works best for you, and be sure to check with your gym staff to make sure it’s OK to slam away.

Med Ball Slam Circuit

Complete 3–4 rounds of 8–10 reps per exercise with 30–60 seconds rest between rounds.

Overhead Slams

Reach up for the ceiling, lifting up onto your toes with the ball above your head. Make a straight line from your fingers to your feet without overarching your lower back; squeezing your abs and your glutes will help with this. Then, immediately slam the ball to the ground as if you were trying to put a hole in the floor. Catch the ball on the bounce, and repeat.

Recoiled Rollover Slams

Reach up high like an overhead slam, but instead of bringing the ball directly overhead, make a big circle around one side of your head, as if drawing a halo. Slam the ball to the floor, and repeat by drawing a circle on the opposite side. Alternate sides for each rep. Make sure to rotate only through your shoulders and upper back, not your lower back. Imagine that your hips are headlights, and keep them pointed straight ahead on the road.

Side-to-Side Slams

Again, reach up high for the ceiling, but as you reach overhead, pivot on your feet and rotate your entire body to one side. Slam the ball to the floor, catch the rebound and immediately rotate to the other side. Your hips will turn similarly to a golf or baseball swing, so make sure your chest moves a full 90 degrees from where you started.

Med Ball Wall Toss Circuit

Complete 3–4 rounds of 8–10 reps per exercise with 30–60 seconds rest between rounds.

Chest Pass

Stand facing a wall about 2–3 feet away. With the ball at your chest and elbows tucked in tight to your sides, squeeze your butt and brace your abs as if you were about to get punched in the stomach. Then, explosively push the ball toward the wall, throwing it forward as if you were trying to blast a hole in the wall. Let your arms return to the starting position as you catch the rebound and immediately perform the next rep. Make sure to use only your upper body, and resist the urge to bend too deeply with your knees or sit back through your hips.

Rotational Scoop Toss

Stand perpendicular to the wall, with your head turned toward the wall and eyes on a spot about chest height. Holding the ball at hip height with your palms up, sit back into your back hip, allowing your arms to swing back and about 80% of your weight to shift away from the wall. (i.e., If you’re throwing right-handed, your weight will shift into your left hip, and your right foot will lift slightly off the ground.) Your front shoulder should turn in slightly, as if you were trying to show your back pocket to the wall. Then, quickly turn your hips toward the wall, and scoop the ball forcefully, as if you were trying to shovel snow and throw it across the road. Avoid bending over at the waist or letting your head drift in front of your belly button (i.e., keep your head back, and don’t lean toward the wall). Repeat for reps, and then switch sides.

Diaper Toss

Face the wall with a wide stance (1–2 steps outside hip width) while holding the ball at hip height with your palms up. With slightly bent knees, sit back through your hips, letting the ball travel between your legs. Then, thrust your hips forward, and shovel the ball toward the wall. Squeeze your glutes once you’ve stood up straight. The motion should look like a wide-stance kettlebell swing. Shift your hips back again to catch the ball in your backswing position and immediately perform the next rep. Be careful not to bend your knees too much on the backswing or overarch your lower back on the toss.

Med Ball Core Circuit

Complete 3–4 rounds of 8–10 reps per exercise with 30–60 seconds rest between rounds.

Front Plank with Alternating Reach

Assume a forearm front plank position, keeping a straight line from head to toes by tucking your chin, squeezing your glutes and bracing your abs. Move your feet slightly wider than normal, and place the med ball an arm’s length in front of you. Without letting your hips sag or twist side to side, reach out with one hand and tap the med ball, then repeat with the other side.

Pullover with Glute Bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent, heels on the floor and med ball over your chest like a bench press. Push your hips up as high as you can without arching your lower back. While squeezing your glutes and pushing your heels through the floor, reach back over your head with straight arms until the ball hovers just above the floor. Exhale fully then return to the starting position.

Dead Bug

Lie on your back with your arms up toward the ceiling, and your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. Place the med ball between your hands and knees, squeezing it as if you were trying to pop it. Gently press your lower back into the floor to engage your abs, then reach out with your opposite arm and leg until both limbs are completely straight and just above the floor. Continue trying to break the ball with the nonworking arm and leg. Exhale, return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.

About the Author

Tony Bonvechio
Tony Bonvechio

Tony Bonvechio (@bonvecstrength) is the co-owner of The Strength House in Worcester, MA, where he trains primarily powerlifters and team sport athletes. A former college baseball player turned powerlifter, he earned his Master’s degree in Exercise Science from Adelphi University. You can read more from Tony at bonvecstrength.com.

Shop Under Armour

chevron_left chevron_right

Related

Never Miss a Post!

Turn on MyFitnessPal desktop notifications and stay up to date on the latest health and fitness advice.

Great!

Click the 'Allow' Button Above

Awesome!

You're all set.