The 5 Hardest Full-Body Exercises You Can Do With a Medicine Ball

These full-body medicine ball exercises build total-body strength at home.
Image Credit: Dziggyfoto/iStock/GettyImages

Sure, dumbbells and kettlebells are go-tos for building muscle and strength, but there's something about medicine balls that make them an awesome catch of a workout.

Thanks to their globe-like shape, these weighted spheres recruit multiple muscle groups at once, making lifting heavy that much harder. Plus, since medicine balls don't take up much space and are inexpensive, they're perfect for at-home workouts.

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If you've been working out with the same pair of weights for a while now, it's time to amp things up. Medicine balls will challenge your grip and stability, in addition to increasing the load on your muscles.

These five advanced medicine ball exercises are the hardest of the crop, testing not only your strength but your cardiovascular fitness, too. So if you're ready to take things to the next level, these moves live up to their hype. Sprinkle them into your existing workouts or do them together for a total-body medicine ball workout.

Tip

When choosing a weight for your medicine ball workouts, pick a weight that you can confidently lift overhead a few times. Your upper body is not as strong as your lower body, so you want to choose a weight that's appropriate for your upper body and tweak from there. You can always increase the reps of any exercise to accommodate your lower body strength.

Move 1: Medicine Ball Single-Leg Glute Bridge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Body Part Butt
Goal Build Muscle
  1. Lie face-up on the ground with your left leg extended in front of you and your right foot on top of the medicine ball.
  2. Lift your left leg straight up toward the ceiling until your knees are aligned.
  3. Drive your right heel into the ball and squeeze you glutes to lift your hips off the ground while keeping your knees and hips aligned.
  4. Return to the starting position, keeping your back neutral and core braced.
  5. Do all reps, then switch sides.

Move 2: Medicine Ball V-Up

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Body Part [ "Abs", "Legs" ]
Goal Build Muscle
  1. Lie face-up on the ground and hold the medicine ball with both hands, your arms extended overhead.
  2. Squeeze your core, then pull through your core to simultaneously raise your upper body and lower body off the ground.
  3. At the top of the movement, place the ball between your ankles and squeeze your inner thighs to grip the ball.
  4. Lower your legs and upper body back to the ground with control.
  5. On the next rep, pass the ball back to your hands. Repeat.

Move 3: Medicine Ball Halo Lunge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Body Part [ "Legs", "Abs", "Shoulders", "Arms" ]
Goal [ "Build Muscle", "Improve Balance" ]
  1. Hold the medicine ball with both hands by your chest, and step your left foot forward, bending both knees to 90 degrees to get into a lunge.
  2. Maintaining this lunge position and keeping a firm grip, rotate the ball around your head to the left.
  3. Bring the ball at the center of your chest.
  4. Do all reps, then switch sides.

Move 4: Medicine Ball Squat to Overhead Press

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Body Part [ "Arms", "Shoulders", "Legs", "Butt", "Abs" ]
Goal Build Muscle
  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, and hold the medicine ball with both hands between your legs.
  2. Sit back into your heels and lower your hips back and down into a squat, bringing the ball to touch the ground while keeping your chest lifted.
  3. Press your heels into the ground and drive through your legs to raise the medicine ball overhead, finishing with your biceps by your ears.
  4. Lower back down to the squat position and repeat.

Tip

Make sure you bring the ball to the ground with a straight back, allowing your arms to lead — not your chest.

Move 5: Medicine Ball Push-Up

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Body Part [ "Chest", "Arms" ]
Goal [ "Build Muscle", "Improve Balance" ]
  1. Get into a high-plank position with one hand on top of the medicine ball and the other hand on the ground. Make sure to keep your shoulders directly over your wrists.
  2. Keeping your core, quads and glutes tight, lower your body toward the ground. Bend your elbows to 45 degrees until your chest taps the ground.
  3. Push yourself back up to the high-plank position with your body in a straight line.
  4. Roll the ball to the other hand and repeat.

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