Feeling like your arms are more Jello than J-Lo? Don’t throw in the towel just yet. A medicine ball may be the answer to strong, sculpted arms and shoulders.
They may look simple, but medicine balls can be an effective way to work out your entire upper body. Unlike dumbbells, medicine balls can be thrown and hurled to give you an explosive plyometric workout.
Medicine balls have been shown to improve upper body strength in studies, and even improve other sports-specific training. You can use a medicine ball at the gym, or incorporate it into your at-home workout.
A Medicine Ball Arm Workout
Here’s how to use these simple tools to get extraordinary results.
Medicine Ball Throw and Catch
Stand with a medicine ball, feet spaced hip-width apart. Squat down, then explosively stand up as you throw the ball overhead into the air. Catch the ball as it comes down, and return to your squat position. Repeat eight times.
Medicine Ball Slam
Stand with a medicine ball, feet spaced hip-width apart. Reach overhead with the ball, and then explosively slam it into the floor. Catch the ball if it bounces back up, or squat down and pick it up. Repeat eight times.
Stand six to eight feet away from a wall with a medicine ball, feet spaced hip-width apart. Hold the ball straight up above your head, and tighten your core. Throw the ball at the wall. Retrieve the ball and repeat eight times.
Stand with a medicine hall, feet spaced hip-width apart. Begin with both hands holding the ball in front of your chest. With your elbows close to your body, lower the ball until your arms are fully extended. Curl the ball up to your chest, then lower back to your starting position. Repeat eight times.
Stand with a medicine ball, feet spaced hip-width apart. Lift the medicine ball above your head with both hands until your arms are fully extended. Bend your elbows, and keep your elbows next to your head as you lower the ball behind you. Return the ball up overhead. Repeat eight times.
Front Deltoid Raises
Stand with a medicine ball, feet spaced hip-width apart. Hold the medicine ball out in front with your arms straight down. Lift the ball with both hands until your arms are straight in front of you, parallel with the floor. Lower the ball back to start. Repeat eight times.
Stand with a medicine ball, feet spaced hip-width apart. Hold the medicine ball at chest height with both hands. Push the ball with both hands up toward the ceiling until your arms are fully extended. Lower to your starting position. Repeat eight times.
What are the Benefits of a Medicine Ball Workout?
Medicine ball workouts aren’t a new trend; sand-filled animal skins were reportedly used as far back as ancient Greece for training. That kind of longevity doesn’t happen unless a workout has some special benefits.
In addition to sculpted, stronger arms, a medicine ball workout offers the following benefits:
Improved Core Strength
The weighted balls require core stability, so you get the added bonus of an ab workout every time you do arm exercises with a medicine ball.
Improved Strength and Agility
When you perform an exercise that uses strength and force, like throwing a medicine ball against a wall, you get increases in power. That’s why medicine balls are often used in plyometric workouts. Plyometric workouts have been shown in studies to be an effective training technique that can improve an athlete’s agility, strength, and explosiveness in as little as six weeks.
Variety is the spice of life, and, according to researchers at the University of Florida, it’s also the best way to stick to a workout routine. Varying workouts also increased participants’ workout enjoyment.
Add some variety to your arm workouts and pick up a medicine ball. It may look simple, but it’s an effective way to add some plyometric strength training that will tone and sculpt an enviable upper body. Sculpted arms, improved strength, and a core workout all in one? Sounds like a ball.