Medicine Ball workout: 10 exercises to tone and shape

Medicine balls have been around for decades and offer a really great, all-over body workout if used correctly.

With many of us feeling in an exercise rut after the long summer holiday - and short on cash as a result too - this is one piece of kit really worth investing in.

Ranging in price from a wallet-friendly £12-£25 and coming a variation of weights from 2-12kg, you can choose one to suit your strength and your budget.

To help get you started, check out this intense cardio and body-shaping workout that can be done in just 20 minutes - helping you stay fit, toned and healthy as we head into autumn.

If you're a beginner, set the work periods for 35 seconds with 20-25 seconds rest between each exercise. As you get fitter and stronger you can increase the work time and reduce the rest time but still complete the workout in just 20 minutes.

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Handy tip: Download the 'Gym Boss Interval Timer' app on your phone, or even just a clock or stopwatch to keep your time for your work and rest periods. If you are an advanced exerciser, set the work period for each exercise to 50 seconds and the rest period in between each exercise for just 10 seconds.

1: Standing slams
Holding your medicine ball in front of your chest perform a squat with your weight into your heels, chest upright and squat down so that your thighs are parallel with the floor. As you come up out of the squat, fully extend your arms and legs holding the ball above your head and then slam it down as hard as you can on the floor in front of you before catching it again. Great for legs, buttocks and core.

2: Walking lunges with arm extension

Holding the ball directly out from your chest with straight arms, do as many walking lunges as you can holding the ball in a static position. The gravity on this will really work your shoulders. Ensure to keep the body upright, abdominals engaged and weight into the front heel with each walking lunge step. Another fabulous exercise to tone that derriere.

3: Rolling press ups
From your knees (or toes if you are super woman!) keep the body in a tight 'plank-like' position with one hand on top of the ball. Perform a deep press up, then roll the ball from one hand to the other keeping your neck in line with your spine, hips square to the floor and the abs engaged. Perfect for toning arms, chest and working your core well.

4: Jump squat slams
Similar to the standing slams but this one is far more energetic, gets the heart rate up and burns those calories. Holding your medicine ball in front of your chest, perform a squat with your weight into your heels, chest upright and squat down so that your thighs are parallel with the floor.

As you come up, unlike the standing slams, this time you will jump out of the squat, fully extending your arms and legs, raising the ball above your head and then slam it down as hard as you can on the floor in front of you as you land down then catch the ball again. Very dynamic on the legs, arms, abs and buttocks and quite fun too.
5: Squat with overhead throw
Perform a deep squat if possible. Bringing your knees below hip height to really engage the glutes (buttocks) and then drive strongly up it of the squat throwing the medicine ball high into the air with good force from the shoulders and arms. As it comes back down towards your hands from the air, get ready to a catch it as you sink back down into a deep squat. A real thigh and calorie burner!

6: Side lunges with bend
Hold the ball above your head then step to the side with one foot slightly turned out. Keep your arms straight and lean at the waist tilting the ball above your head towards the side you are lunging, working your core as you lunge. Push off through the heel back to the central position again bringing the ball back to the centre above the head then alternate on the other leg. Fabulous for inner thighs, legs, love handles and even your arms will feel this one.

7: Standing slams

Repeat exercise 1 again.

8: Overshin crunches
Lying on your back with your legs and arms extended, holding on to the ball, lift up your upper body at the same time as you bend your knees. Reach the ball over your shins contracting and squeezing your abs tightly then slowly roll back down again extending your arms and legs as you lower back to the starting position. Be sure to keep the tension on your tummy as you lower back down again and carefully roll back through your vertebrae. Fabulous for toning those abs.

9: Standing oblique knee twists
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, lift one knee to hip height and hold the ball twisting it over your knee, twisting and squeezing your waist and feel those love handles tightening up! Alternate with the other leg and do this with a decent tempo. Keep the supporting leg on the ground and squeeze the butt cheek of the leg that’s on the ground as you lift the other leg nice and high with each ball waist twist.

10: Jump Squat Slams.
Repeat exercise 4 again.

So, there you have it. A fun, effective, quick and fabulous fat burning and toning workout you can do anywhere with little space and get great results. Medicine balls are one of my favourite pieces of kit. I am sure they will become one of yours too!

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