We get it: Regular old sit-ups and crunches can be boring. But sometimes the amount of core exercises-and equipment you can use for them-can get overwhelming. But you don’t need an entire room in your house filled with dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, and the like. To get an effective core workout, all you need is a medicine ball.
“Medicine balls are a useful tool-they’re very dynamic, and they generate a lot of power,” Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., owner of TS Fitness in New York City, tells Bicycling.
A strong core is essential for cyclists, since we yield a lot of strength from it while riding.
“When you’re on an incline or sprinting, you’re usually out of the saddle, so you need speed and power, which you generate from your core,” Tamir says. “And any time you’re leaning over your bike, you need a strong core-which includes your lower back and obliques-to maintain that position.”
Tamir created a four-exercise med ball circuit to help strengthen your core so you can attack those hills and hit your speeds even more effectively.
[Looking to start cross training but don’t know where to start? The Beginner’s Guide to Strength Training will teach you all the fundamentals to get the most out of your weight session, priming you for stronger miles in the saddle.]
How to do it: Perform these four exercises as a circuit, moving from one to the next with no rest in between. The number of times you repeat this circuit is up to you, but the more you incorporate it into your routine, the more repeats you’ll be able to do.
Medicine Ball Chop (Right Side)
Start in a lunge position, left leg out in front, while simultaneously holding med ball at right hip. Reach med ball upwards at a diagonal, arms straight out in front of you, so it’s in the air on left side of body. Bring med ball back down to right hip. Repeat for 10 reps total.
Medicine Ball Chop (Left Side)
Start in a lunge position, right leg out in front, while simultaneously holding med ball at left hip. Reach med ball upwards at a diagonal, arms straight out in front of you, so it’s in the air on right side of body. Bring med ball back down to left hip. Repeat for 10 reps total.
Alternating Single-Leg Glute Bridges
Lie faceup on an exercise mat or the floor in a bent-knee position, arms out at your sides. Place left foot on top of med ball and right foot in the air. Lift hips upwards off the floor by engaging your glutes and abs. At the same time, press left foot into the med ball for more stability. Lower yourself back to the starting position. Repeat on the right side. Alternate sides for 10 to 15 reps total.
Overhead Medicine Ball Slams
Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding the medicine ball with both hands over your head. Forcefully slam the ball down to the ground, going into a squatting position as you do so. Catch the medicine ball as it bounces up off the floor and bring it over your head again. Make sure to engage core throughout the entire movement. Repeat for 10 reps total.
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