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Medicine Ball: 4 Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

The medicine ball is an excellent fitness tool to help you achieve a full body workout but more specifically, this weighted ball will help your whittle down your stomach and strengthen your core. Abdominal exercises with the medicine ball help increase abdominal strength and overall core stability.

Medicine balls come in a range of sizes, weights and varieties. Some have sand and some are made of solid rubber. A beginner should select a medicine ball that is between 2 to 6 pounds in weight. For someone who already has abdominal strength and core stability, consider using a medicine ball that is between 6 to 12 pounds. Below are several exercises to help you strengthen your core muscles.

Exercise #1: Basic Crunch with Medicine Ball

Begin by sitting on the floor with knees bent to a 90-degree angle. Hold the medicine ball with both hands at chest level and lower your upper body down to the floor. Slowly raise your shoulders up a few inches off the floor as you hold the medicine ball to your chest. Slowly lower back to the floor to complete one repetition. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.

Exercise #2: Russian Twist

Begin this exercise by sitting on the floor with knees bent to 90-degrees and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Hold the medicine ball with both hands at chest level. Slowly recline your upper body back a few inches until your hips form a 45-degree angle. Your upper body will form the letter V.

Extend the ball out in front of you and slowly twist your upper body to the right until you touch the medicine ball to your right hip. You will want to keep your lower body steady during this exercise. Return to the start and then rotate to your left side. Remember to keep your back straight and abdominal muscles engaged. Do 10 repetitions per side.

Exercise #3: Toe Crunches

Begin by lying on your back, face up, with your legs raised straight up in the air. If you are unable to have your legs straight up in the air, you can slightly bend your knees.  Hold the medicine ball with both hands, arms stretched out at chest level. 

Exhale as you lift your shoulder blades up off the floor aiming to touch the medicine ball to your toes. Hold for one second at the top and then return to the starting position. Aim to complete 10 repetitions per set.

Exercise #4: Downward Chop

Begin this core strengthening exercise by standing with feet hip-width apart. You will hold the medicine ball with both hands directly over your head. Slightly bend your knees and elbows. 

Engage your abdominal muscles and slowly squat down while you simultaneously bring your arms over your head and in front of your body towards your right side. Keeping arms straight through the entire exercise, you will want your arms to end up outside your right foot. Remember to keep your back straight. Return to the starting position and do 10 repetitions. Switch to the left side and do 10 more repetitions for one set.

To strengthen your core, you will want to do between 10 to 20 minutes of core specific training at least two times a week.

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