3 Medicine Ball Exercises to Try

Dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands—all are helpful tools for burning fat and building muscle. But now it's time to give medicine balls some love.

The equipment is popping up in more boutique fitness studio workouts, and for good reason.

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"I love to incorporate medicine balls in class, because they utilize a high level of [core] activity," says Dana Perri, co-owner of LA-based studio SHIFT by Dana Perri. They dynamically train the body across multiple plans of motion, and this can reduce the risk of lower back injuries.

Most gyms have a collection of medicine balls stashed in the corner. Grab one (start with a 4- to 6-pound ball) and try these three sculpting moves from Perri:

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1. Med Ball Squat

Start standing with your legs hip-width apart and toes facing forward. Hold a medicine ball in the middle of your chest and press hands into the ball to create resistance. Continue holding the ball in place, and hinge at your hips to lower into a squat. Aim to get your thighs parallel to floor. Straighten legs to stand and squeeze your glutes at top. Do 3 sets of 15 reps. During the last rep of each set, hold the bottom of the squat for 20 seconds.

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2. Torso Twist

Start standing with your legs hip-width apart, toes facing forward and a slight bend in the knees. Hold a medicine ball in the middle of your chest and press hands into the ball to create resistance. Keeping your hips still and facing forward, twist just the torso left and right at a moderate-to-fast pace. Do 40-50 reps on each side

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3. Lateral Reach Pull

Start standing with your legs hip-width apart, toes facing forward. Hold a medicine ball in hands and extend your arms diagonally over right shoulder. Extend left leg diagonally behind body to create one long line from med ball to left ankle. Lower medicine ball to chest while raising your left knee to meet the ball. Then extend ball and leg back to the diagonal. Continue this movement at a quick pace for 60 seconds, and repeat on the opposite side.

More: 15-Minute Medicine Ball Workout

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About the Author

Bari Lieberman

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

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