4 Ways to Warm Up With a Medicine Ball

Properly prepare participants for the rigors of intense workouts.

By Christy Stevenson
Aug 24, 2016

Before you bring on the burn in popular classes like high-intensity interval training, make sure attendees are ready. Amp it up with these medicine ball exercises, designed to limber the body in multiple planes of movement, prepare muscles for load and initiate core engagement. These moves ensure that participants are prepared for vigorous variations of push-ups, burpees, tuck jumps, mountain climbers and advanced medicine ball exercises. The more purposeful the warm-up, the more successful the workout. Keep participants safe, strong, and ready to come back for more!

As a general guideline, beginners can use a 3- to 4-pound medicine ball; intermediates a 5- to 6-pound ball; and advanced participants a 7- to 8-pound ball. Have your class perform all moves with control, bringing extra awareness to shoulder mobility and stability.

Plié Squat With Frontal Raise

  • Start in wide squat position, feet and hips externally rotated about 45 degrees, knees in alignment. Hold medicine ball low in front of body.
  • After 4–8 plié squats, add arm raise with leg extension, lifting arms straight, then slowly lowering them to center as you return to squat.
  • Inhale, lift; exhale, lower.
  • Engage core, ensure elbows are soft rather than locked, and keep palms wide on ball.
  • Repeat 8×–16×.

Closed-Stance Halos

Closed Stance Halos

This standing exercise brings awareness to the shoulders and upper back while challenging core stability. The move prepares class for more mindful planks and plank-based exercises.

  • Step feet closely together, slightly bending knees while maintaining good, strong posture.
  • Press medicine ball overhead, elbows slightly bent.
  • “Zip up” abdominal muscles, navel to spine, then circle ball around head as if tracing a halo.
  • Keep legs and core firm and stable; encourage mobility through upper back and shoulders. Hips and head are still.
  • To increase difficulty, stand on one foot and bring opposite foot just inside and below knee; switch sides.
  • Perform eight halo circles in each direction.

Lateral-Lunge Cross-Chops

Lateral-Lunge

  • Stand in moderately wide straddle with straight legs, feet slightly turned out.
  • While bending right knee into lateral lunge, press medicine ball to lower R inner thigh.
  • Extend R leg to start, and cross ball to left shoulder, bending elbows.
  • Perform eight smooth, fluid reps with gentle twisting motion; switch sides.

Ball-Toss Squats

Ball-Toss Squats

  • Begin in squat position, feet wider than hips, holding ball with both hands.
  • Toss ball gently overhead and extend legs; catch ball as you “land” in squat.
  • Keep abdominals engaged throughout movement, spine lengthened, chest lifted.
  • Repeat 8×–16×.
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Christy Stevenson

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