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You don’t need a ton of gym equipment — or even a gym — to break a sweat and improve your physique. In fact, it could be as simple as grabbing a medicine ball and busting out a few quick but powerful moves. Here are the best medicine ball exercises for men, how to do them and why you should incorporate them into your routine ASAP.
1. The Slam
If you really want to look like a boss at the gym — or in the mirror — try the good old-fashioned slam. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the medicine ball at your torso. Squat down slightly. Then, in one powerful motion, Press up unto the balls of your feet, raise the ball over your head and slam it straight down. If you move with enough force, it should smack loudly against the floor.
Anyone who adds the slam to their workout can improve their athletic performance, cardio conditioning and multi-directional core strength with just this one move. Start with a lightweight ball and work your way up to 20 pounds or heavier as you get stronger and the exercise becomes more automatic.
2. Front-Rack Lunge
Are you tired of doing the same old dumbbell lunges? Sure, they’re effective but, if you want to switch up your routine, grab a medicine ball and try the front-rack lunge.
This exercise puts all the extra weight at your center to encourage good form and slow, controlled movements. Lean too far to one side and you’ll have to drop the ball — or a knee — to catch yourself. The stakes are high, which will make you work even harder to stay strong and maintain your focus.
3. Medicine Ball Push-Ups
Perhaps you’re looking to switch up your push-ups instead. In this case, a medicine ball can really come in handy. Pump up your arms, chest, back, core, glutes and legs by placing both hands on the ball and assuming a high plank position. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your chest toward the ball. Hold for a beat before pressing back up.
You can also perform one-handed medicine ball push-ups with one hand on the floor and the other on a ball. Roll it from one hand to the other at the top of each rep to really set your abs ablaze and test your balance.
Counterbalance your slams with a few thrusters. Unlike the slam, this medicine ball exercise requires you to exert an upward, pushing force. It’s just as dynamic but works different muscles to maximize power and minimize injury. It’s a strength and cardio booster all wrapped up into one, making it a perfect addition to HIIT routines and other high-intensity workouts.
Stand with your feet beyond shoulder-width apart and hold a medicine ball in both hands at your chin. Squat down until your elbows touch your knee. Then, in one quick motion, drive through your heels to press all the way up. Raise the ball triumphantly above your head before lowering back down and doing it again.
5. Weighted Russian Twist
You’ve probably heard of the Russian twist and, if not, you’ve seen someone busting out a set at the gym. This killer core exercise tests your balance and builds stability in your spine, obliques and abs simultaneously. If you want to intensify the move even further, add weight with a medicine ball.
Simply hold the ball in both hands and twist from side to side like you would with a typical Russian twist. You can even tap the ball on the ground if it helps you keep pace.
6. Sit Up and Throw
If you’ve already assumed a Russian twist position, go on ahead and stay down there for some sit up and throws. No, not sit up and throw up — although this exercise might make you want to do that, too. Also called gator roll med-ball tosses, this tough move requires a wall or partner and some serious motivation.
Assume a hollow hold position and slowly lower down until your back touches the ground. Roll through a sit-up and toss the ball to your friend or at a wall. Catch the ball and repeat the same motion again… and again. Just don’t let your shoulders or arms touch the ground.
Go Balls to the Wall
Medicine ball exercises are great for getting more powerful, especially when you pair them with dynamic movements like the ones above. These exercises are tough yet effective and to get your blood pumping in no time. Go balls to the wall and add some jumps, squats or even supersets to your routine if you really want to torch body fat and build strength fast. Just remember to take a rest every now and then, too. You can only go hard so long as you can breathe.