The idea of completing an entire total-body workout using nothing more than a 4kg medicine ball may not seem intimidating. But consider: This 10-exercise routine is the same one that strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian uses to whip the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, a perennial US basketball powerhouse, into championship shape. It’s designed to help you build a rock solid core, burn fat and improve your sports performance. Sahratian calls this workout, from the university’s basketball training handbook, the Med Ball 400. The 400 represent the number of repetitions players complete when they perform the routine. However, Sahratian suggests you start with 200 reps. (Call it the Med Ball 200.) The best part: All you need is a medicine ball to do this workout any place, any time.
Perform this routine at the end of your regular workout, or as a standalone, 3 days a week. Use a 3kg, 4kg or 5kg medicine ball. Do 20 reps of each exercise in the order shown. Complete the routine as a circuit, doing 1 set of each movement in succession and without resting. Too easy? Rest 60 to 90 seconds and do the circuit again.
The Medicine Ball 200 Workout
|1. Big Circles
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, and hold the ball with your arms extended above your head [A]. Without bending your elbows, rotate your arms counterclockwise [B] using the ball to draw large imaginary circles in front of your body [C and D]. Do 10 circles, then go clockwise and do 10 more.
|2. Wood Chopper
Stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. With your arms nearly straight, hold the ball
above your head [A]. Now, bend forward at your waist and mimic throwing the ball backwards
between your legs – but hold onto the ball the entire time [B]. Quickly reverse the movement with the same intensity and return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.
|3. Standing Russian Twist
Hold the ball with both hands in front of your chest, with your arms straight [A]. Without dropping your arms, pivot on your right foot and rotate the ball and your torso as far as you can to the left [B]. Then do the same to the right. That’s 1 rep.
|4. Squat To Press
Stand holding the ball close to your chest with both hands, your feet just beyond shoulder-width
apart [A]. Push your hips back, bend your knees and lower your body until the tops of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor [B]. Then simultaneously drive your heels into the floor and push your body back to the starting position, as you press the ball over your head [C]. Lower the ball back to the start. That’s 1 rep.
|5. Medicine Ball Sit-Up
Grab the ball with both hands and lie on your back. Bend your knees 90 degrees, place your feet flat on the floor and hold the medicine ball against your chest [A]. Now, perform a classic sit-up by raising your torso into a sitting position [B]. Lower back to the start. That’s 1 rep.