Doctor, doctor, gimme the news. I gotta bad case of lovin’ you! (Feel free to sing along.)
If you want to strengthen your core, I’ve got just what the doctor ordered … a medicine ball workout!
What’s a medicine ball? It’s a weighted, rubberized ball (mine’s 8 lbs., but they come in lighter or heavier weights too) used for exercise and physical therapy since Hippocrates had patients rolling around sand-filled balls made from animal skins 2500 years ago.
These days you’ll find medicine balls in every gym, and they’re a great addition to a home gym at only about $15. I use mine for lots of different exercises, but here are four of my favorites:
Sit-Up Toss: This variation on the tried-and-true standard takes more concentration than an ordinary sit-up (mostly so that you don’t drop the ball on your head). Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
Axe Chop: Any time you’re twisting your torso the obliques (side abdominals) are engaged. Because you’re lifting the ball up over your head, you get an added cardio boost. Do 2 sets of 15 on each side.
Twisters: Another great move to hit the obliques. If it’s too difficult with your legs at table-top, keep them on the floor. Do 2 sets of 30 (that is, tapping each side 15 times).
Around the Worlds: There are a few exercises I love simply because they take so much concentration that I forget how hard I’m working! This is one of them. Passing the ball back and forth, around your legs is challenging but it’s great for core and lower back strength. You can do this move with a kettlebell too, if that’s your preference, but the ball’s harder – and that’s the way I roll. Do 2 sets of 10 in each direction.
If you don’t have a medicine ball but want to try out the moves, try a basketball or soccer ball. They’re not as heavy, but you’ll get the general idea. I’m guessing you’re gonna come to the same conclusion I did – a medicine ball is a fun way to add variety and complexity to your exercise regimen. And not a bad way for this girl to get some smokin’ abs, too!