Is working out with a friend more fun than going solo? You be the judge! Grab a medicine ball, find a partner, or go solo and get to work. Medicine ball exercises are fun, simple and can be done anywhere. If you don't have a medicine ball, check out my medicine ball recommendations below.

8 Medicine Ball Exercises

The best exercises a person can do tend to be what we can do with our own body. Every single workout from The Belly Burn Plan are body weight workouts - and they're effective.

When it comes to training, I love using a medicine ball because I know - whether working with a client or doing my work workout - I can hit just about every muscle group. Just as important as hitting all the muscle groups is convenience. If all you need is a medicine ball, you can do your workout just about anywhere!


What Kind of a Medicine Ball Should You Use?


Medicine balls are not very expensive, and they're easy to find. All of the exercises below can be done using one medicine ball. If you're just starting, I recommend a weight of about eight pounds, and if you're feeling strong, as high as 10 or 12 pounds should do the trick.

The medicine balls that I like are grippy and don't have handles. I know that medicine balls with handles are really popular, but to get the most of out each of these exercises, I suggest you work with a ball that does not have them.

Here are my suggestions:

8 Pound Medicine Ball

10 Pound Medicine Ball

12 Pound Medicine Ball

This article is broken out into two sections: medicine ball partner exercises and medicine ball solo exercises. Each group of exercises is a workout in and of itself. They're both challenging. Of course, if you're just starting an exercise program, or are recovering from any sort of injury, consult a physician to get the A-ok!


Medicine Ball Partner Exercises

Exercise #1: Seated Circles

  1. Sit back-to-back with your partner, legs crossed or knees bent. Try not to slouch.
  2. Hold the ball straight out in front of you and twist from your torso to the left, toward your partner.
  3. At the same time, your partner will be reaching for the ball you're passing.
  4. Your partner will complete the circle by passing the medicine ball over their left side back to your right side.
  5. After 15 repetitions in one direction, switch, twisting to the right (your partner's left) side.
  6. Repeat 2 - 3 sets of 15 repetitions in each direction.

     Note, your arms will have to bend as you get to the side of your body, exchanging the ball with your partner. As soon as you have the ball in your hands, straighten your arms out to strengthen your shoulders. Keep your abs drawn in as much as possible and stay as close as you can to your partner's back to strengthen your abs.

Exercise #2: Chest Pass with Squat

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, toes pointed out slightly.
  2. Your partner is anywhere from 10 to 15 feet in front of you.
  3. Holding the medicine ball at your chest, pass the ball from your chest to your partner's chest.
  4. Your partner will catch the ball, squat, stand and pass the ball back to you.
  5. Repeat by catching the ball, squatting down, standing and passing the ball back.
  6. Work through 16 - 20 repetitions back and forth.
  7. Rest for a moment, and repeat 2 to 3 sets.

    Think of this as a game of hot potato, passing the ball back to your partner as soon as you stand back up from your squat after catching the ball. The distance between you and your partner will depend of the weight of the medicine ball. The more weight, the less distance in between. Keep your abs as tight as possible when passing and receiving the ball to strengthen your abs. Pass the ball from the center of your chest to strengthen your shoulders. Squat with your knees over your heels, heels on the ground and bottom squeezed to strengthen your quadriceps and glutes.


Exercise #3: Straight Arm Plank Pass

  1. You and your partner start in a straight-arm plank position, head-to-head anywhere from 5 to 10 feet apart.
  2. Start with the medicine ball on your side. In the straight arm plank position, roll the medicine ball from your right hand to your partner's right hand, pushing the ball in a diagonal line.
  3. Your partner rolls it back to you.
  4. Switch hands and push the ball from your left hand to your partner's left hand.
  5. Continue doing this for 30 - 60 seconds.
  6. Rest for a moment, and repeat 2 to 3 sets.

    This is an incredible exercise that will challenge and strengthen your back, shoulders and abs. If starting in a full straight arm plank position is too much, and you start feeling pain in your lower back, drop to your knees and continue the exercise that way. Eventually, as your abs and lower back strengthen, come back to the full position.

Exercise #4: Seated Rebound

  1. Sit down on the ground with your knees bent, heels firmly planted and your back about 45 degrees from the ground (a basic beginning sit up position).
  2. Your partner is standing about 3 feet in front of you holding the medicine ball.
  3. Your partner will toss the ball down to you.
  4. You catch the ball and throw it back to your partner as fast as possible without moving from this position.
  5. To make it interesting, your partner may want to toss the ball to either side of your body as well. This will keep you on your toes and make you work your obliques as well!
  6. Repeat about 30 repetitions, of you seated and your partner standing. Then switch places.
  7. Repeat each set 2 - 3 times.

    TIP: Go easy on tossing the ball down to your partner as no one likes an 8 to 10 pound ball landing square in the gut. Most of the work will come from the catch and quick toss back to your partner. You can make this exercise even more challenging by walking back a couple feet, so the person that's rebounding the ball back has to work harder. This is a great exercise that will strengthen shoulders, biceps and, of course, abs.


Medicine Ball Solo Exercises


You're on your own. It's just you, a medicine ball and 20 minutes to get through a great workout. What do you do? I highly recommend these four exercises. They're work just about every muscle in your body with extra focus on your abs, shoulders, back and glutes.


Exercise #5: Weighted Squat Jumps

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bend, and the medicine ball between both hands in front of you.
  2. Slowly squat down until your hips are nearly in line with your knees (almost 90 degrees), then spring back up into a jump, letting your feet come off the ground.
  3. As you jump up, push the ball up above your shoulders.
  4. Return back to the ground with bent knees (don't lock your knees).
  5. As you come down, bring your arms down, too.
  6. Repeat 15 times, getting as high as possible with your jumps.
  7. Take a moment to recover, then repeat this set a total of three times.

    Make a conscious effort to draw your abs in and to keep your bottom tight. Sometimes when we're new to certain exercises, it can be easy to forget to contract the important muscles, like abs and glutes, but remembering to do this keeps the exercises safe, and you injury-free. All-in-all, this exercise is amazing at working your glutes, shoulders and quads. You'll also really get a huge cardio boost out of this exercise, so your heart gets the added benefit, too.


Exercise #6: Russian Twist with a Medicine Ball

  1. Start by sitting on the ground leaning back slightly with your knees bent.
  2. Draw your abs in, and hold them in throughout the duration of the exercise.
  3. Holding the medicine ball with both hands, shift the ball from one side of your hips to the opposite side.
  4. If you're feeling strong, lift the ball up and over, creating an "arch", still moving the ball from one side of your hips to the other.
  5. Repeat a total of 30 repetitions.
  6. Take a moment to recover, then repeat this set a total of three times.

    TIP: This is a classic exercise you probably see people doing in the gym everyday. If done correctly, it can be really effective. If you start feeling any sort of pain in your low back, it probably means you need to work on strengthening your abs a little bit more. You'll notice this exercise not just in your abs, but also your shoulders and back.


Exercise #7: Medicine Ball Lumberjacks

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, holding a medicine ball.
  2. Twist and raise the medicine ball up over your right shoulder as high as you can reach.
  3. Then reverse the move by bringing the medicine ball down across your body toward your left foot. Be sure to naturally drop your hips as you make this motion.
  4. As you come back to a standing position, repeat the motion in the same direction 10 times.
  5. Continue by repeating an additional 10 repetitions in the opposite direction.
  6. Repeat a total of 20 repetitions.
  7. Take a moment to recover, then repeat this set a total of three times.

    TIP: I incorporate this exercise in my workouts at least twice a week. It's actually a very functional exercise. What I mean by functional is it's a movement we use in our everyday lives. Imagine you're reaching up to pick a box up off a shelf to place it on the ground next to you. This is a 100% full body exercise with the all the major movers getting a workout including your quads, glutes, abs (especially your obliques, or sides of your ab region), shoulders and back.


Exercise #8: Plank and Roll

  1. Simply start in a straight-arm plank position with the medicine ball within arm's reach.
  2. Begin by rolling the medicine ball from one hand to the other.
  3. You'll naturally have to stabilize through your core, so keep your abs as tight as possible.
  4. Hold this position while rolling the medicine ball back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. Take a moment to recover, then repeat this set a total of three times.

    TIP: This is a great exercise for shoulder stability and abdominal strength. Because you're moving the ball from one side of your body to the other, you're naturally recruiting greater muscle use from one side of your abs, and then the other. This workout really gets into your abs and shoulders, and can cause fatigue very quickly. Try to add 5 seconds onto your longest time to develop greater strength!


Looking for another great solo way to stay in shape? Then check out my Supine Bridge article. It's perfect for strengthening your lower back and keeping your abs tight and strong!

Note: In order to keep my blog running with great content, I've placed a few affiliate links in this piece. This means that if you click on a link, I may make a commission.