Core-Building Medicine Ball Workout


A medicine ball is a heavy, weighted ball that is used to strengthen the arms, legs and core muscles. Medicine balls vary in weight from a couple of pounds to as much as 25 pounds. Medicine balls differ from hand weights that are raised and lowered. Incorporating a medicine ball into your workout routine will involve twisting, bending, turning and tossing the ball. Exercises using a medicine ball can involve the full body and a wide range of muscles. As your core strength, arms and leg strength increases, move up to a heavier ball. 
An easy medicine ball exercise is the figure eight. Stand up straight with your legs slightly apart no wider than your shoulder width. Keep your feet flat on the floor and point your toes forward. Hold a medicine ball with both hands and extend the ball out in front of your abdomen. Move the ball in a figure eight, down, up and around to the right 5 times. Repeat the figure eight motion 5 times toward the left. Increase the number of repetitions or move up to a heavier ball when you can complete 10 repetitions without your arms feeling tired. 
Twists will strengthen your entire upper body, including your back and core muscles. Stand up straight with your feet apart. Hold a medicine ball with both hands with your elbows slightly bent toward your body. Swing the ball up to the right and twist your torso to the right with the momentum of the ball. Swing the ball back to the left turning your torso with the ball. Keep your feet planted on the floor and try to keep your heels from lifting up. Keep your abs tight during this exercise. Repeat this exercise 5 times in each direction. 

You can work your oblique muscles using a medicine ball. Lie down on your back and raise your knees toward your chest. Place a medicine ball between your knees and squeeze your knees to hold the ball. Place your hands palms down on each side of your body for stability. Keep your upper back on the floor during this exercise. Rotate your knees to the left as far as you can and then return to the center position. Rotate your knees to the right and return to center. Do 5 repetitions on each side. 

Strengthen Your Core For Better Posture

Photo Credit: Skoivuma CC-BY-3.0 2009

Poor posture can lead to tight muscles and a stiff, aching back. Maintaining good posture, especially when working at a desk 8 or more hours each day, can help prevent back aches. Strengthening your abdominal muscles and the muscles in your lower back can help you maintain good posture. A stronger core will also improve your balance and stamina. Add some core strengthening exercises to your regular routine to improve your posture. 
Leg extensions coordinate your core muscles to work together. Lie on your back and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and place your hands behind your head. Roll your back until your lower back is on the floor. Tighten up  your abdominal muscles, breathe out and lift your head a few inches off the floor. Pull your left knee toward your chest and simultaneously extend your right leg straight out at a 45 degree angle from the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lift your leg toward the ceiling. Return to the start position and inhale. Repeat starting with the other leg. Do 10 repetitions if you can.
Roll-up exercises will strengthen all of your abdominal muscles and your obliques. Begin with your back on the floor and your legs stretched out straight. Stretch your arms toward the ceiling and press your lower back to the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles, exhale and roll your body off the floor to a sitting position. Begin by rolling your head upward, then your shoulders, upper back and finally lower back. Try to roll up in a smooth, continuous motion. Inhale when you reach a sitting position. Exhale, tighten your abdominal muscles and reverse the roll until you return to the starting position. 

The crossover exercise also works all the core muscles. Again, begin on your back with your hands behind your head. Pull your knees to your chest and press your lower back to the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles, breathe out. Pull one knee as close to your chest as possible and extend the other leg out straight. Roll your body toward the knee that is bent to your chest. Inhale and switch legs extending the bent knee, pulling your other knee toward your chest and rotating your torso in the opposite direction. Do 10 repetitions of this exercise. 

Flatter Abs by Christmas

Do you want to looks slimmer, feel better and fit into that special outfit for the holiday? You can achieve a flatter stomach, a stronger core and a leaner shape by eating health foods and performing a few easy-to-do abdominal exercises every other day. Start now and you should start to see results in about 3 to 4 weeks. See your doctor for a complete check-up before starting any exercise program. You can achieve a slimmer waist and stronger abs by eating nutritious foods and regular exercise. A personal trainer can help you set realistic goals, develop a plan to achieve your goals and help keep you motivated. 

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Begin your flatter abs program by adjusting your eating habits. Most people eat three large meals each day and a couple of snacks between meals. Some people tend to over-eat when meals are hours apart. To avoid hunger and still get all the nutrition you need, eat smaller, more frequent meals. Frequent smaller meals will keep your metabolism working and your blood sugar stable. Start with breakfast that includes natural grains and fruits. Enjoy a mid-morning snack of granola, nuts or sliced fruit. Avoid fast food for lunch if possible. Bring a salad with low-fat dressing, peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread and yogurt. An afternoon snack of  fruit and nuts will give your body a boost of energy and nutrition that will help prevent fatigue and hunger. Lean meats, whole grain pastas, rice, fresh vegetables and dried beans are a great choice for dinner to supply your body’s protein, vitamin and energy needs. A vegetable or fruit smoothie a couple of hours after dinner can help you avoid the urge to eat something before bed.

Exercise your abdominal muscles in the morning or evening at home or on your lunch break at work. Take advantage of your company’s fitness center if it has one or join a gym near your work. Start your ab program with a few belly roll exercises in the morning. Sit on the floor and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and stretch your arms in front of you palms toward the floor. Breathe out and roll your body back onto the floor. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Breathe in and roll back up. Repeat this exercise 20 times and increase to up to 50 times as you grow stronger.

Belly curls will slim your abs and strengthen your core. Lie on the floor with your knees bent toward your chest. Raise your feet off the floor and gently lift your bottom. Roll back so that your upper back and shoulders are touching the floor. Hold the position for about 2 seconds and then return to the start position. Perform this exercise 10 times. Gradually increase the number of repetitions until you can do 20 belly curls.

You can slim your waist by doing crunches. Lie down on the floor and bend your knees. Put your hands behind your head and inter-lace your fingers. Point your elbows toward the ceiling. Lift your left shoulder off the floor and try to touch your right knee with your left elbow. Relax and repeat the exercise on the other side. Start with 10 repetitions and build to 20 repetitions.

A personal trainer can help you learn to make healthy food choices and develop an exercise plan to achieve a slimmer, stronger and flatter abs!