4 Easy Medicine Ball Exercises

Medicine balls are a fun alternative to free weights. Get started with a 4- to 6-pound ball and these simple moves three times a week.

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Seated Medicine Ball Trunk Rotations


Works: Abs and arms

How to Do It: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet together, and heels on the floor while holding a medicine ball close to your body. Keep your back straight and upright. Rotate your torso to one side, keeping the ball close to you. Pause briefly and turn to the other side. Do 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

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Standing Lift


Works: Abs, shoulders, and arms

How to Do It: Stand up straight with feet apart, left foot forward. Hold a medicine ball with both hands directly in front of you, close to your body. Without moving your core, slowly rotate your arms to the right so the ball is low and to the side of your right hip. Then, slowly rotate your arms up and across your body while keeping torso and hips still. Hold the ball above your left shoulder for a moment before bringing the ball back down to the side of your right hip. Do 10 to 12 reps on that side, then repeat the move to the opposite direction with your right foot forward. Complete two sets.

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Lunge with Overhead Press


Works: Abs, butt, hips, legs, shoulders, and arms

How to Do It: Stand up straight with feet together. Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest with both hands. Keep your abs pulled in and take a big step forward with your right foot. Lower your hips straight down so your torso is perpendicular to the floor and your weight is on the right foot; simultaneously lift the medicine ball straight over your head. Pull the medicine ball back toward your chest while stepping your left leg forward so you end in the starting position. Do five to six reps then repeat stepping forward with your left foot. Complete two sets.

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Overhead Medicine Ball Chops


Works: Back, butt, hips, legs, shoulders, and arms

How to Do It: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold a medicine ball directly in front of your chest with palms facing each other and elbows pointing at the floor. Keeping your head facing forward, back straight and abs engaged, hinge forward at your hips and reach the medicine ball back between your legs. Do two sets of eight to 12 reps.

Originally published in the November 29, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine and on FamilyCircle.com.