Medicine balls are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment to add variety and an extra challenge to your workouts.
Most gyms these days have different sizes and weights of medicine balls, and they’re a great tool to add to your home gym since they’re relatively inexpensive to buy and take very little space to store.
Here’s a full-body, medicine-ball HIIT workout you can do in just 12 minutes to work up a sweat whether you’re in a gym, at home or outside at a nearby park:
For this workout, you’ll need a medicine ball (the heavier one you use, the harder the workout will be) and an interval timer or app. Set your timer for 18 rounds of 10 and 30-second intervals, then prepare to rest on the 10-second rounds and work really hard on the 30-second ones.
You will complete this circuit three times — remember, the harder you work, the more effective the workout will be! Here's how to do the moves:
Photo courtesy of the author
1. Squat Thrusts
Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a medicine ball, dumbbells, kettlebell, or other weight at your chest. Lower down into a full squat while still holding the weight at your chest, then stand up explosively as you bring the weight over your head. Return to the starting point and repeat.
2. Push-Up Plank Jumps
Start in a push-up position, with your shoulders directly over your hands. Tighten your abs, glutes and thighs, then lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor. Push back up, then jump your feet toward your hands. Jump back to the starting push-up position and repeat.
3. High Knees
Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart. Drive your right knee toward your chest and quickly lower to the ground, and immediately follow with your left knee. Continue alternating knees, working as fast as you possibly can
4. Medicine-Ball Slams
Stand with your knees slightly bent and hold a medicine ball overhead with your arms extended. Bend forward and use your core and arm muscles to slam the ball against the floor in front of you, making sure your arms follow through as you throw the ball towards your feet. Catch the ball and repeat.
5. Side Lunges
Stand straight with your legs wider than hip width apart (the longer your legs, the wider your stance will need to be). Bend one knee as far as you can while keeping the other leg straight to the side, then raise back up and repeat on the opposite side.
6. Medicine Ball Twists
Lie on the floor with your knees bent while holding a medicine ball to your chest. Raise your body up by using your core muscles so that your torso is about a 45-degree angle from the floor. Bring the medicine ball to one side, touching the floor if possible and twisting as far as you can, then twist to the opposite side.