By Caitlin Carlson, gym equipment sponsored by REBEL Elite Fitness
Slam, toss and catch your way to a toned body.
They may be bulky and awkward-looking, but it turns out those soft, old school medicine balls you see in the gym actually have some surprising benefits over their firmer, sleeker cousins. For starters, they’re easier and safer to grip, toss and catch. And unlike a rubber medicine ball, whose bounce allows you to build momentum, a soft ball absorbs impact, forcing you to use more strength to keep it moving. This makes it a great tool for developing explosive core power and upping your fitness level, says trainer Jessi Kneeland.
This circuit from Kneeland is designed to capitalise on that, while also firing up your fat burners. “Explosive exercises like the squat to overhead toss are more metabolically demanding than, say, a traditional overhead press,” says Kneeland. The reps are kept low so you can give each one your max effort. “People tend to scale back their intensity when they know they’re doing a ton of reps, which decreases the workout’s effectiveness,” she says. Complete eight reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next with little or no rest in between. Rest 30 seconds, then repeat for a total of six sets.
You’ll need: a slam ball (big, soft medicine ball). If your gym doesn’t have the soft kind, use the heaviest hard medicine ball that you can lift comfortably — preferably a large leather one.
Watch one of our WH staffers perform the moves:
Hold the ball with both hands directly overhead, arms straight, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Brace your core and bring your arms forward to throw the ball onto the floor as hard as you can. That’s one rep. Reset and repeat.
Quick Tip: For best results, throw the ball onto a mat or soft surface.
Stand side on to a wall, a little more than a metre away, and hold the ball with both hands near your far hip. Keeping your arms straight and core tight, pull the ball across the front of your body at chest height and throw it at the wall as you pivot on your right foot. That’s one rep. Return to start complete all reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Squat to Overhead Throw
Holding the ball with both hands at chest height, elbows bent and feet shoulder-width apart, sit your hips back and bend your knees to 90 degrees. In one motion, press through your heels to stand and toss the ball overhead. Catch it, then immediately lower into the next rep.
Overhead Walking Lunge
Hold the ball with both hands directly overhead, arms straight. Keeping your back flat and core tight, step your left foot forward and bend both knees into a lunge. Press through your left heel to stand, then step your right foot forward and repeat. That’s one rep.