Medicine Ball Exercises
How using a medicine ball can improve cardiovascular fitness and aid weight loss
What are the benefits of using a medicine ball during your workout? The varieties of exercises you can do with a medicine ball are endless. It is the perfect piece of equipment to have for your sessions at home. Due to their versatility, medicine ball exercises can help you with a range of fitness goals.
Here are four medicine ball exercises which can aid weight loss:
· Medicine Ball Slams
· Medicine Ball Lateral Throws
· Squat and Reach
Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine Ball Slams are a brilliant exercise for weight loss as they are very compound. The more muscles used during each repetition, the more calories you burn.
To perform this exercise, start with the ball on the ground. Next, squat down and pick the ball up before standing tall on your toes. Your feet should be a bit wider than shoulder-width. Then, throw the ball as hard as you can towards the ground. For the next rep, repeat the process.
When you squat down to pick up the ball, you will work your whole lower body. Your glutes and quadriceps will contract as you bend your knees. Simultaneously, lifting the ball above your head and slamming it down works your shoulders and arms. So as a full-body movement, it maximizes the number of calories you burn during each rep.
If you perform this exercise in your routine, you have a great chance to experience weight loss. Compound exercises such as this are vital to ensure you burn lots of fat.
Medicine Ball Lateral Throws
This is another excellent exercise for weight loss as you can perform it at high intensity. The explosive nature means your muscles need to work extra hard during each rep. You will burn high amounts of calories and fat.
There are two ways you can perform this exercise. The first way is with a partner by throwing a medicine ball back and forth to each other. Or the other way is to throw the ball against a wall.
To throw the ball, start with a side-on position. Place one foot in front of the other with your front shoulder facing your wall or partner. Bend your knees before twisting your body and throwing the ball with as much power as possible.
Make sure you switch sides after completing a set. For example, if you had your right foot forward, change to your left foot.
The twisting part of the exercise works your core muscles such as your obliques and lower back. Plus, the slight bend in your knees forces your legs to get involved in the motion. So, it is another example of an exercise using many muscle groups.
Woodchoppers are a great medicine ball exercise for weight loss. It mainly helps you to burn calories by working your core and shoulders.
Start in a neutral standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. The medicine ball should be in your hand. Have a slight bend in your knees before twisting your body and lifting the ball above one of your shoulders. Then bring the ball back down to waist height from the opposing side.
For example, if you lifted the ball over your left shoulder, bring it back down to your right waist. Then perform the next rep. Once you have completed reps or time on one side, you can switch to the other.
Woodchoppers are another example of a compound exercise you can do with a medicine ball. The low to high motion allows you to work the full-body, which leads to high amounts of calories burned.
Not to mention the potential to build muscle and lose weight at the same time if you are new to working out. Working the shoulders and arms by lifting it above your head is sure to help you make gains.
Squat and Reach
The squat and reach exercise is one of the most compound medicine ball exercises. It allows you to burn lots of calories and help you lose weight.
First, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and pointing outwards. Hold the medicine ball near your chest and squat down until your knees are parallel to the ground. Make sure you bring your hips back, trying to imagine you are sitting down on a chair. Not to mention focusing on bringing your knees out as you descend.
Once you have squat down, explode back up to a standing position. At the same time, press the medicine ball above your head. Try to contract your core as you press, so you maximize your stability during the movement.
You should feel the burn in your legs and shoulders as you perform this exercise.
During this movement, you use your whole body. You can expect to burn lots of calories from this exercise. Squatting or pressing with a medicine ball are both beneficial on their own. But putting them together further increases its effectiveness for weight loss.
How Do These Exercises Improve Cardiovascular Fitness?
All these exercises are fantastic for improving cardio due to their high-intensity nature. When many muscle groups work during each repetition, the body needs to work hard to pump oxygen. It will force your body to become more efficient with its energy.
Furthermore, you can do these exercises as part of circuit training. Or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). A workout plan could involve spending 30 seconds on each activity. Plus, 30 second rest periods after each set.
To make it more beneficial for cardio, you can reduce the rest times and increase the work periods. So, your heart needs to work at a higher intensity throughout the session.
To summarise, medicine ball exercises are a phenomenal addition to your fitness routine. They can aid weight loss and help improve your cardiovascular fitness. In the current pandemic, they may also be a useful piece of equipment for home workouts.
You can do these exercises in one workout dedicated to using a medicine ball. Or use them to bring some variety in your sessions with other equipment. Regardless, medicine ball exercises can be very versatile and practical for your fitness goals.
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