Recreate recess with medicine ball drills.
Shape and define your inner athlete in this nonstop, calorie-blasting medicine ball workout designed specifically to bring fun back to fitness. Bounce the ball, throw it, roll it, toss it, and reap the benefits of cardio and strength conditioning rolled into one powerfully playful workout.
TOTAL TIME: 45–60 minutes
FORMAT: strength and cardio conditioning
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: one 4- to 8-pound medicine ball that bounces (per person)
MUSIC: 130 continuous beats per minute
Standing shoulder rolls. Hold ball in front of abdominals, elbows bent, feet hip width apart, and roll shoulders. Tell participants to keep light grip on ball throughout workout and to keep ball dry.
Bilateral squat. Hold medicine ball, arms bent, and push buttocks back as if sitting in chair. Progression: Reach ball toward ground, and curl as you bring ball back up. Complete 20 reps.
Lateral lunge. Roll ball from hand to hand on ground while lunging from side to side.
Static front-lunge chop. Stand in split squat, right (R) leg forward and left (L) leg back. Bend both knees to 90-degree angles. Hold ball at L shoulder and chop diagonally toward R hip. Switch sides. Complete 20 reps on each side.
Squat, bounce, catch and hold. Repeat bilateral squat from above, but add bounce, catch and hold. Perform rhythmically or off beat. Progression: Add small plyometric hop during catch.
- Step-touch. Hold ball at chest level and step side to side. Progression: Alternate between front push and overhead press, placing equal emphasis on both push and pull (2 minutes).
- Skater step. Perform basic skater move (leap from side to side, sweeping leg back). Hold ball and move it from hip to hip; add leap. Progression: Toss ball from hand to hand and alternate sides with leap (2 minutes).
- Cross-chop/step-touch. Hold ball and extend arms at angle over shoulder. Chop down across body to opposite hip while doing step-touch. Repeat quickly; alternate arms (2 minutes).
- Step-tap. Hold ball at chest height with arms bent. Extend arms straight and swing them, pendulum-style, from shoulder to shoulder in same direction as step-tap (2 minutes).
- Step-together/step-tap. Hold ball at chest, and step feet together and then tap/hop out (think old-school double step-touch with hop). Add full arm-circle swing and finish with jump in center. Alternate directions (2 minutes).
- Step-tap. Bounce-pass ball from hand to hand while doing step-tap. Perform rhythmically or off beat (1 minute).
- Squat, bounce, catch and hold. Repeat warm-up move, but take it from slow, rhythmic movement to fast, explosive bounce (1 minute).
- Sumo squat with Russian twist. Hold ball and get into wide-legged squat. Alternate twisting R, L, and progress to three twists and one chop (twist R, L, R, and chop from R shoulder to L hip, pivoting on both feet, 3 minutes).
- Repeat squat, bounce, catch and hold (1 minute).
- Repeat sumo squat with Russian twist (1 minute).
- Step-tap two. Step-tap from side to side. Bounce ball in center and catch with both hands. Progression: Bounce ball from hand to hand and finish with quick, explosive center bounce (2 minutes).
- Soccer tap. Place ball on ground and do alternating toe-taps. Progress to quick leaps and taps, and finish with powerful leap over ball (2 minutes).
- Halo chop. Stand with feet still, hip distance apart. Hold ball with both hands and bring it to R hip. Circle ball up across body toward L shoulder, arms bent; then bring ball behind and over head from L ear to R ear, and chop it down toward L hip. Repeat in opposite direction and alternate sides (1 minute).
- Alternating front lunges. Lunge while holding ball in front of body, elbows bent, and add halo chop (2 minutes).
- Alternating front knees. Hold ball at chest, elbows bent, and do overhead press-and-pull with knees (when knee is up, pull arms down; when legs are together, extend arms overhead; 1 minute).
- Front kick. Hold ball and do alternating front kicks while pressing and pulling overhead (1 minute).
- Deadlift. Stand with feet hip width apart, hold ball and hinge forward at hips; return to start. Progress to R unilateral deadlift toe-tap and R unilateral deadlift balance. Place ball down and pick it up with deadlift (2 minutes).
- Overhead slams. From ready stance, hold ball with both hands, raise it overhead and throw it on floor with control and caution (1 minute).
- Repeat deadlift sequence on L side (2 minutes).
- Repeat overhead slams (1 minute).
- Static lunge. With R leg forward in lunge position, toss ball overhead from hand to hand (1 minute). Repeat on L side (1 minute).
- Lateral lunge. Shift weight from side to side while making figure eight with medicine ball (1 minute).
- Wide-squat wood chop. From plié position, chop medicine ball diagonally, R to L (1 minute).
- Quick plyo jumps. Jump with both feet while quickly bouncing ball with R arm. Perform at own pace, omitting jump if necessary (1 minute).
- Repeat wide-squat wood chop, L to R (1 minute).
- Repeat quick plyo jumps, L arm (1 minute).
This section includes “bouncing” intervals with strength recoveries (45 seconds each exercise).
Cardio. Perform squat, bounce, catch and hold (same as in warm-up, but transition from slow, rhythmic movement to fast, explosive bounce).
Strength. Do push-ups while rolling medicine ball from hand to hand.
Repeat twice; superset.
Cardio. Hold ball overhead, jump, bounce and catch ball; alternate sides.
Strength. Do triceps dips with feet balancing on ball.
Repeat twice; superset.
Place ball aside and complete the following standing stretches on both sides:
- downward-facing dog with alternating heel drops
- lateral-lunge hold with rotation
- runner’s lunge with arms extended
- standing quad stretch (keep tailbone slightly tucked under and squeeze glutes)
- standing dynamic figure-four stretch (alternate from stretch position to standing position)
- alternating hip circles
- chest flexion and extension (standing cat/cow)
- wrist circles