June 2, 2016

These exercises can help elevate your next ab or total body workout.

Had enough of the elliptical? Next time you’re at the gym, pick up a medicine ball for some serious benefits — plus, added fun.

The equipment typically comes in two types: larger, soft balls made of vinyl, or slam balls — smaller, rubber-shelled balls. Your gym will likely have both, and they’re often interchangeable.

Medicine ball workouts have a host of benefits, says Lori Cowan, ACE, AFAA, group fitness coordinator at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center. They include:

  • Building explosive strength;
  • Challenging your core with resistance;
  • Helping improve balance;
  • Improving hand-eye coordination;
  • Adding an element of fun.

Below, Cowan provides a list of five intermediate core exercises. She reminds, “When performing any exercise, listen to your body and don’t do anything that hurts (especially your back!).”


Med Ball V-Up

  1. Lie flat on your back, legs extended.
  2. Reach the arms overhead with a medicine ball in both hands.
  3. Engage the core to lift the hands and feet simultaneously so the body forms a “V” position.
  4. At the top of the “V,” pass the ball from the hands to the feet.
  5. Squeeze the ball between your shoes, and slowly lower the arms and legs back down to the floor.
  6. Return to the “V,” and pass the ball back to the hands. That’s one rep. Repeat.


Crunch with Medicine Ball Hold

  1. Lie on back with legs in tabletop position, bent 90 degrees.
  2. Holding ball over head, crunch up and place ball on ankles, keeping legs steady.
  3. Lie back to start position, holding ball in place. Crunch back up, grab ball and return to start position, holding ball overhead. Repeat.


Straight Leg Sit-Up

  1. Lie flat, back to the mat, with a medicine ball in both hands.
  2. Extend the arms straight so the ball is directly above the hips.
  3. While keeping the legs together, raise them directly over the hips to the ceiling (so the body forms a giant “L”). With control, return to the start position and repeat.


Have a kettlebell handy? Check out these three exercises to try today.