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A medicine ball is a weighted ball that is used for exercise. Most gyms have them, and it is a great small and inexpensive piece of equipment to have at home also! Medicine balls come in a variety of different weights (usually from 2 pounds-25 pounds), which makes it easy to find one that will work for your level of strength.

There are a ton of things you can do with a medicine ball to incorporate them into your exercise routine. I love using them! Not only can you use it on your own, but they are great for partner exercises since they are soft and you can throw them from person to person as you workout. I will post more about partner medicine ball exercises another day.

Today I am going to focus on 8 medicine ball exercises that you can do on your own at home or at the gym.

1. Squat to Throw
I really love doing this exercise. It is great for both your arms and your legs and it is a nice change-up from normal strength training. To perform, go down into a squat position making sure your knees are not over your toes, and hold the ball at your chest. In one movement, come up to standing position and throw the medicine ball straight up, then as you catch it, go back down to your starting position. This is all one continuous movement.
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2. Russian Twist
This is such a great ab exercise. It works all of your abdominal muscles including your obliques. Sit back on your tailbone to where you can balance. With your legs bent, lift your feet off the ground and hold the ball at your chest. Row the ball side to side, bringing the ball to each hip. Your legs should not move at all. Keep it a continuous motion. If you find it is too difficult to hold up your feet, lightly rest them on the ground.
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3. V to Hollow Man
Start out by laying with your legs flat on the ground, and your arms on the ground holding the ball above your head. Lift your arms and legs slightly off the ground so you are in a hollow position. Every time you go down, this is the position you want to be in, you should not rest back on the ground. Pulling from your core, bring your arms and legs up at the same time, creating a “v” with your body, then slowly go back down to your hollow position. That is 1 rep.
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4. Lunge with Twist
This exercise works both your legs and abdomen. Bring one leg into a static lunge position, making sure your knee is not over your toes. The deeper you are in your lunge (with good form), the harder your muscles will be working. Hold the ball forward at chest level. Twist your upper body so you cross over your front leg, then twist back to starting position. After you complete the reps on that side, switch which leg is forward.
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5. Romanian Dead Lift
There are two ways to do this exercise. The first is modified, and the second is the more challenging method. For the modified version, start by standing straight up while holding to ball down in your arms. As you lift one leg straight behind you and bend forward, let your arms lead to the ground. For the challenge, lift your arms up to your ears as you bend forward. Slowly go back to starting position. This entire movement is smooth and pretty slow. Balance is one of the key elements for this exercise.
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6. Tricep Extension 
This exercise is most commonly done with dumbbells, but it can be done just as effectively with a medicine ball. Start by holding the ball straight up above your head. Keeping your arms as close to your ears as possible, bend at your elbows so the ball is behind your head. Lift the ball back up to starting position.
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7. Straight Leg Sit Ups
Sit ups are great. They work your abs and your hip flexors, which helps prevent a lot of common injuries like IT Band injuries (for more information about preventing and treating injuries, read here and here). Start by laying flat on the ground with the medicine ball held up above your chest. As you sit up (keep your feet where they are, use your core!), pull the ball up so that you are sitting up tall in a “L” shape. Slowly lower back into starting position.
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8. Wall Sit
Lower down into a sitting position while against a wall. Hold this position as long as you can. During this, hold the medicine ball out in front of you, then move it up over your head, and back down. Your legs and arms will be burning!
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When doing these exercises, I would recommend performing 3 sets with 10-15 reps each.

Just to keep it real here, this is what taking these pictures really looks like. We have to take turns haha :).

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What are you doing to workout today? I am running 8 miles with my older sister who is training for her FIRST half marathon!

-Jaeme

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