There are dozens of exercises you can perform using just a medicine ball, and many of them are seemingly very simple to perform. Although the range of motion can sometimes appear to be limited, the addition of a weighted ball will work more muscle groups than if performed without. You will feel the effects of this the next day if you have not been working out with a medicine ball before!
Let’s have a look at a few simple reaching exercises you can perform using just a small ball and an exercise mat.
1. Sagittal Reach
This is a very simple yet effective move that works you harder than you might first think. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the medicine ball in front of you at stomach level. Step forward with one foot and bend over, whilst reaching down with your arms extended to touch your front foot with the ball. Try to keep your back and legs as straight as possible while you do this. Return to the starting position and repeat using the opposite leg.
2. Side Reach
A variation on the “Sagittal Reach” detailed above; begin again in an upright, relaxed stance and hold the ball at your navel. With one leg, step out to the side a couple of feet and reach down to touch your toes with the ball in your hands. Reverse the move and repeat on the opposite side.
3. Transverse Reach
Starting with the ball at tummy level, this time step backwards either 180 degrees or 90 degrees if you find this too difficult. Keep your front foot pointing forward as you twist your torso in the direction of the rear foot and bend over to touch the medicine ball to it. Pull yourself upright, turn your body back to face the front, and return the rear leg to it’s starting position.
4. Reach for the Sky
This is a great exercise for working the abdominals as well as the forearms and triceps – thanks to the weighted medicine ball. Lie on your back and lift your legs up so they are 90 degrees to the floor. Hold the medicine ball in both hands at your chest, then reach upwards towards the end of your toes. Hold this position for a second before relaxing back into the starting position.
If this is too difficult at first, you can modify your position by bending your knees and even crossing your legs for added stability and support. On the other hand, if you want to make the move more of a challenge, while your legs are pointing upwards, try opening them a few inches to increase the workload.
5. One-Leg Stability Pad Reach
This is a very effective move that focusses on your balance as well as upper and lower body muscle groups – a real all-in-one move that hits the entire body.
Stand on a small stability pad with your left leg – bending the other one behind you at a right angle. Hold the medicine ball in front of you at chest height. Keeping your back straight and looking forwards, slowly bend your left knee while twisting your upper body around until the ball is outside of your left knee. Slowly return to the staring position and repeat using the opposite leg.
6. Reach and Touch
Lie on your back, keeping your legs straight and arms stretched out above your head. Hold a light medicine ball in both hands as you begin to raise both your arms and feet up to meet – almost like you are ‘folding’ your body in half. Hold at the top of the move for a second and squeeze your abs before slowly returning to the starting position.