Medicine balls went out of fashion long ago, but with the recent return of focus to core strength they have made a roaring comeback.
Basically, the medicine ball allows you to perform exercises that mimic a host of natural movements – and movements you would perform in sports – while strengthening at the same time.
The focus of a workout when using a medicine ball is to do slow, repetitive movements while drawing strength through your core.
For example, a standard exercise is to hold the ball out in front of you at shoulder height, and then turn fully to your left and right. This works several abdominal muscle groups and demands arm strength too.
You can go a long way to furthering your sit up routine with a medicine ball too. Particularly if you get stale and tired of your stomach workout, introducing the medicine ball will add variety and a new challenge.
The ‘woodchop’ is another classic exercise that is basically a whole-of-body strengthening routine. Grasping the medicine ball through your legs and pushing it behind you, with knees bent, you then lift it forward and up over your head.
The real challenge with medicine ball workouts is sustaining strength through the whole routine. As your body fatigues, it is easy to let the core lapse and start to use the other areas of the body (particularly the back) take over.
However, this is a dangerous thing to do as you risk injury. The best approach is to do the workout to your max, and when you get to tired to exercise with correct form, rest.