Medicine balls are also known as exercise balls, med balls, and fitness balls. They are among the simpler pieces of exercise equipment used while exercising. It is frequently used in strength training and rehabilitation, thus playing an important part in the field of sports medicine.
It is also very useful in plyometric weight training, and helps athletes to increase their explosive power. It is a weighted ball with an average diameter of about 14'', but comes in many different sizes.
Beginners usually use a ball that is between 2 to 6 pounds, while people (usually men), who have strong abdominal muscles and bigger hands, use a ball that's between 6 to 12 pounds. Most medicine balls are filled with sand or some other filler, while some are made of solid rubber.
While it is more common to see men using a medicine ball for working out their abs, women can use the lighter ones with ease to achieve great ab workout results.
For most women, abdomen is the problem area, and the flab here can often be very hard to get rid of. However, it has been observed that by incorporating a medicine ball into regular abdominal exercises, it becomes more effective.
Medicine Ball Twist
This workout is great for the abs, sides, and back. Commence the exercise by sitting on the floor with the knees bent. The soles of your feet should be flat on the floor. Next, while holding the medicine ball in your hands, extend your arms out in the front. After you assume this position, lean back till your body is angled at about 45 degrees.
Now, without moving your lower body, turn your upper body to the right, and touch the ball to the ground on the right side. Next, touch the ball to the ground on the left side. Do as many sets as you can, of about 15 repetitions each. To increase the intensity of the exercise, lean back further, or lift your feet about 1-2'' off the floor.
Vertical Medicine Ball Crunches
This exercise is a must for toning the abs. Here's how you do it; start by lying on your back, and raising your legs to the ceiling, so that they are perpendicular to the floor. Hold your arms straight up too, while holding the ball.
For the crunch part, squeeze your stomach muscles as you lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Exhale as your upper body is lifted off the floor, and attempt to touch your toes with the ball. When you have extended as much as you can, hold the position for about a second, and gradually fall back to the floor.
Remember to keep your legs straight while you work out. Repeat this movement about 5 times, take a breather, and then, do it for another 5 times in one set.
Stability Ball Crunches
This workout is very similar to normal ball crunches. First, sit on an exercise ball, and hold a medicine ball in your hands.
Position yourself such that, your hips are at the edge of the ball, and your back is supported by it. To perform the crunch, extend your arms over your head, and curl your body forward, lifting your shoulder blades off the ball.
Hold the position, where there is maximum tension on your abdominal muscles, for a second, and then slowly lower yourself. Remember to perform this exercise slowly, and keep the ball over your head for maximum benefit.
Performing a medicine ball exercise routine is a good way to add variation to your regular workout regime. A medicine ball is a simple prop, that is relatively inexpensive and easy to store in your home. So use these workouts to get those sought after wash board abs.