Medicine balls are a staple to any fitness facility, and easily available for purchase at any sporting goods store for home use. They come in a variety of sizes, weights and colors, and can be built into any workout hitting just about every muscle imaginable.

Personally, I love medicine balls. For me, workouts are more interesting and a lot more fun. A lot of people turn to medicine balls for ab exercises. Here are a couple of my favorites that can be done by anyone at any fitness level.

Russian Twist (aka Oblique Twist)
Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent, heels firmly in place and abs drawn into your spine. Keep your back straight and lean back about 30 degrees, creating a “V.” Holding the medicine ball with both hands, extend the ball directly out in front of you over your knees. Twist your body, bringing the ball down and around toward your right hip. Continue moving the ball from hip to hip, pulling the ball up and over your knees with every motion. Repeat 30 – 40 full twists.

Advanced: If you’re feeling good and have no problem holding in your abs, make this exercise a little more challenging by bringing your heels off the floor a couple inches.

Tip: Remember to arch the ball up and over from hip to hip (rather than just moving the ball from side to side). This will really get help you engage the oblique muscles (sides) of the abs.

Medicine Ball Circles While in Straight-Arm Plank Position
With the medicine ball within arm’s reach, start in a straight-arm plank position. Essentially, this is simply the starting position of a push up. Your hands are placed firmly on the ground just outside-shoulder width. Your legs are straight out behind you, about hip-width apart. Your back is straight and abs drawn in.

Stabilizing through your left shoulder, place your right hand on the medicine ball. Slowly roll the ball around into a large circular formation, always keeping it within reach. Repeat five times, then switch hands. Alternate sides a total of four to six times.

Note: Beginners can start this position on your knees, rather than your toes.

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