Strengthen and Sculpt Your Abs with These Fun and Effective Exercises
Are you ready to fire up your core and sculpt those abs? Look no further than this dynamic and engaging medicine ball abs workout. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just starting out, these exercises are perfect for all levels. Grab a medicine ball and get ready to feel the burn!
1. Deadbug Pullover
Muscles worked: rectus abdominis, lats, hip flexors
Why it rocks: The deadbug pullover is a classic anti-flexion exercise with an upper body twist. It focuses on torso stability and limb coordination, which has numerous functional applications for other exercises, such as squatting. This exercise helps stabilize your torso while your legs and hip joints are in motion.
How to: Start by lying on your back on the floor, holding the medicine ball above your chest with straight arms. You can choose to extend your legs towards the ceiling or bend them into a tabletop position. Without moving your torso, simultaneously reach both arms and legs away from each other until you achieve a hollow body hold. Keep your knees bent if you’re modifying the exercise. Pull both arms and legs back to the center to return to the starting position. Complete as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
Pro tip: Make sure to maintain a stable torso throughout the exercise. If your back arches, limit the range of motion for your arms and legs.
2. Situp to Overhead Press
Muscles worked: rectus abdominis, hip flexors, pecs
Why it rocks: The medicine ball adds momentum to this classic abs exercise, assisting you with the sit-up motion and intensifying the workout.
How to: Begin by lying on your back on a mat with your feet planted and knees bent. Hold the medicine ball with both hands and rest it on your chest, keeping your elbows folded neatly at your sides. While keeping your hips and feet on the floor, rock into a seated position while simultaneously pressing the medicine ball overhead. Reverse the motion to lower back to the starting position. Complete as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
Trainer tip: If you feel discomfort in your tailbone, place a yoga mat, folded towel, or cushion underneath for support.
3. Seated Rotation to Svend Press
Muscles worked: transverse abdominis, obliques, rectus abdominis, pecs
Why it rocks: The Svend press focuses on anti-rotational core stability, which is beneficial for activities that require rotational strength, such as dancing or warming up with side planks.
How to: Start in a seated position on the floor with your knees bent and feet planted. Hold the medicine ball in front of your chest, with your elbows folded neatly at your sides. While keeping the medicine ball on your chest, lean your torso backward and then rotate your shoulders to one side. Maintaining the rotated position, press the medicine ball away from your chest until your arms are fully extended. Bring the medicine ball back to your chest with your elbows hugged close. Rotate to the opposite side and repeat. Complete as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
Trainer tip: Ensure that you press the medicine ball forward directly in front of your sternum to maintain proper shoulder alignment.
4. Seated Leg Raise
Muscles worked: rectus abdominis, hip flexors, quads, adductors
Why it rocks: This exercise actively trains your hip flexors, counteracting the effects of prolonged sitting in a passive hip flexion position. Strengthening your hip flexors can help prevent hip instability and lower back injuries.
How to: Begin seated on the floor with your knees bent, legs together, and heels lightly resting on the floor. Place the medicine ball on the right side of your ankles and press your palms on the floor behind you for support. Lift your legs to the right, moving them over the medicine ball to tap your heels lightly on the other side. Lift your legs back over the medicine ball to the left, returning to the starting position. Complete as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
Trainer tip: If this exercise feels challenging, modify it by moving the medicine ball closer to your hips and keeping the movement small.
5. Fireman Get-up (Right)
How to: Start by lying on your back on the floor. Bend your right knee, planting your right foot firmly on the floor. Extend your left leg at a diagonal wider than hip-width apart. Cradle the medicine ball in your right arm, resting it on your chest, and extend your left arm on the floor at a diagonal. This is your starting position. Use a rolling momentum to lift your torso off the floor and onto your left elbow, balancing between your left forearm, left hip, and right foot. Hug the medicine ball to your chest with your right arm. Reverse the movement by pushing and rolling away from your left leg, returning to the starting position. Complete as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
6. Fireman Get-up (Left)
Follow the same instructions as above, but switch the directions of your movements. Start by bending your left knee, planting your left foot firmly on the floor, and cradling the medicine ball in your left arm. Complete as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
7. Russian Twist
Muscles worked: transverse abdominis, obliques, rectus abdominis
Why it rocks: The oscillating motion of the Russian twist stimulates your core and generates power. It’s a great exercise for enhancing rotational core strength, which is beneficial for sports like golf, baseball, and boxing.
How to: Begin seated on the floor with your knees bent and feet planted. Hug the medicine ball tight to your chest and lean your torso backward. Twist your shoulders from side to side at a consistent moderate-to-rapid pace while keeping your legs stable and the medicine ball secure. Continue rotating side to side for 60 seconds.
Remember to always listen to your body and modify the exercises as needed. With consistency and dedication, this medicine ball abs workout will help you strengthen and sculpt your core, leading to a stronger, more defined midsection. Get ready to feel the burn and enjoy the journey towards a stronger and fitter you!
Jennifer Nied is the fitness editor at Women’s Health and has over a decade of experience in health and wellness journalism. She loves to explore new workouts, gear, and outdoor adventures with her family, including her husband, daughter, and their dog.