While medicine ball exercises have grown in popularity over the last decade or so, the origin of medicine ball fitness can actually be traced back thousands of years. Persian wrestlers and Hippocrates himself used medicine ball-type exercises for medicinal purposes. Medicine balls made a popular comeback in the early 1900s with the Hooverball, continuing the use of this simple but effective piece of health equipment. If you want to add something other than traditional floor work to your abs routine, consider incorporating a medicine ball into your exercise program. Ball-based exercise opens the door to dynamic core work and floor work.
- Medicine ball twists are a great way to get an excellent core workout with one piece of equipment. Use medicine ball twists to activate your internal and external obliques, rectus and transversus abdominis, spinal erectors, other back muscles, quadratus lumborum, and hip flexors.
- Integrating standing oblique twists, Russian twists, and bicycle twists with additional resistance from a medicine ball into your workout are great ways to strengthen your abs. We’ll profile each exercise in this post.
- Don’t overlook core exercise programs—a strong core will help reduce fatigue, improve endurance, and lessen injuries. In addition, a strong core will help improve your posture and back health.
Exercise Your Core with Medicine Ball Twists
Medicine ball exercises are a great way to work on engaging your core while building strength, endurance, and toning your midsection.
Standing Oblique Twist
If you’d like to target your core muscles, focusing on obliques, you’ll want to do so regularly. Oblique twists are a great way to condition yourself for sports performance, improved balance, stability, posture, and overall health. Standing oblique twists focus on your rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.
- Position your body with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Using excellent posture, position your feet hip-width apart and raise your arms to your chest—gripping your medicine ball firmly with both hands.
- Stabilize your core and twist your upper body to the left and then back to the right.
- Make sure your body is still, aside from your torso.
- As you turn, exhale. When your body returns to the center, take a deep cleansing breath.
Repeat these exercises until you’ve reached the desired number of reps. 10-12 reps on each side is an excellent place to start.
Follow the step-by-step directions below to learn how to do a medicine ball Russian twist. After you have mastered the basic movement, we’ll show you a few variations and suggest additional abdominal exercises.
- While sitting on your mat, sit back very slightly—engaging your core—and gently lift your feet from the floor while keeping your knees bent.
- Create a V-shape with your torso and legs. Your back should be aligned and in position 45 degrees from the floor.
- Extend your arms straight out in front of you, gripping your medicine ball. Imagine that your tailbone is cemented to the floor.
- While continuing to engage your core and holding the medicine ball, twist to the right, back to center, and then twist to the left. This motion counts as one repetition. Perform 8-12 repetitions (this counts as one set). Complete three twist sets in total.
Be sure your core stays engaged throughout this set of exercises to protect your lower back.
- While on your mat, lay flat on your back with your knees bent. Firmly grip your medicine ball and hold it steadily above your chest. While on your back, make sure your knees are bent.
- Crunch your upper body and at the top, rotate your torso, so your left elbow meets your right knee. Extend your left leg simultaneously (think of pedaling a bike). Curl your upper body, and at the top of the crunch, rotate your torso so that your left elbow meets your right knee. Now extend your left leg as if your body is pedaling a bike.
- Recenter your body and repeat this exercise on the other side. Completing the exercise on both sides counts as one repetition.
- Execute this exercise for time—45 to 60 seconds, depending on fitness level should be sufficient. Include this activity as part of a circuit and repeat all 3x.
Ready to add the standing oblique twist, Russian twist, or bicycle twist to your workout? Consider adding one of our medicine balls to your home gym. We carry medicine balls ranging from 4 to 30lbs and a great selection of colors! Incorporating a full medicine ball workout is a great way to work your abs and improve muscle definition.
Tip: As with any fitness program, remember that you can’t out-train your fork. You will see the best results when your nutrition is optimized to match your performance. Be sure to share this post via email or social with your fellow fitness friends. Medicine ball exercises are great for all fitness levels.