The fitness classic medicine ball is the great-grandfather of physical education accessories. A versatile all-rounder, it is still an excellent partner for work on the washboard. There are numerous exercises with the leather ball for defining the straight and lateral abdominal muscles, and at the same time to strengthen the lower back. But what is the most important thing about practising with the medicine ball? It’s about hard work.
Choose the right ball
Before you begin your medicine ball workout, it is important to find the right exercise equipment. The choice may not be easy. In addition to old-school models in leather, there are variants of synthetic leather, fabric or rubber material. The weight and handling of the ball are more important than the look.
The right medicine ball should be comfortable in the hands. The specific weight depends on the personal fitness level. For starters, men should opt for a model that weighs between three and five kilos. Rule of thumb: you should be able to complete ten repetitions of a lift exercise at medium speed. As always, don’t forget to drink water.
A medicine ball classic is the so-called jackknife. In this exercise you lie stretched out on your back and hold the medicine ball with arms outstretched above your head. The aim of the exercise is to bring together the outstretched arms and legs over the midsection. Two to three sets of eight to ten reps with a break of 30 to 60 seconds will make you work up a sweat and your abs.
For this rotation exercise you sit with closed, slightly bent legs on the floor. Hold the medicine ball with both hands in front of your body with arms slightly bent. Lifting your legs slightly off the ground, move the medicine ball alternately to the left and to the right of your body. It is imperative to tighten the core muscles in order to avoid a curved back and perform the exercise cleanly. You should aim for two to three sets with eight to ten reps per side with intervals between 30 and 60 seconds.
Crunches can be totally boring but they don’t have to be if you have a medicine ball and a training partner (or a wall). In this playful version you start out lying on your back and hold the medicine ball in both hands with the arms slightly bent above the head. Then, you follow a classic crunch and throw the medicine ball for your training partner or at the wall. The optimal target again is two to three sets of eight to ten reps and intermediate breaks of 30 to 60 seconds.