3 Medicine-Ball Exercises to Boost Strength

I may not be the cyclist I was 25 years ago, but I'm stronger than I have been in a long time. One reason: a medicine ball. I incorporate this weighted training tool into a simple strength routine that keeps me injury-free and helps me maintain lean body mass, but also leaves me plenty of time to ride. For the workout, you'll need two 6- to 8-pound medicine balls and one that weighs 10 to 15 pounds. Use heavier weights as you progress.

Do three sets of each exercise three times a week. You'll develop core strength for improved stability and efficiency on the bike, and the upper-body work will help stave off pain and fatigue on long rides.

(For ultimate results, pair your workout with these 14 Nutrition Rules from Experts.)

More: 5 Reasons to Strengthen Your Core

1. Russian Twist

Sit on the floor with your legs extended and knees slightly bent. Grab the large medicine ball in both hands and hold it at your chest. Lean back until your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor

[A]. Slowly rotate your torso to the right and tap the medicine ball on the floor
[B]. Repeat to the left side. That's one rep; do 20.

(Do you need a coach to help you train better? Learn how to Find the Best Coach for You.)

More: Do You Need a Cycling Coach?

2. Good Morning

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold the large medicine ball behind your head (don't rest it on your neck)

[A]. Bend forward at the hips, keeping your chest high and head up, until your upper body is parallel to the floor or you begin to arch your back
[B]. Pause, then return to a standing position. Complete 12 reps.

More: 3 Medicine Ball Workouts to Build Your Core

3. Balanced Plank

Get into a push-up position with each hand on a small medicine ball

[A]. Lower your chest until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Lift your right foot off the floor so you're balancing on your hands and left toes
[B]. Hold for up to 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat, lifting your left foot. Work up to holding each pose for 60 seconds.

More: How Long Can You Hold a Plank? Take This Quiz to Find Out

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