Try This Medicine-Ball Workout to Get a Stronger Back

Fitness

medicine-ball-workout

Slowly but surely, this runner has learned the value of strength training. I’ve learned to embrace curls, rows, and squats just as much as my morning runs during this year of home workouts. What’s more, I’ve collected a few more training-specific accessories along the way. My UA HOVR™ Rise 2 Training Shoes ($100), hand weights, resistance bands, and medicine ball have become some of my go-tos for at-home strength workouts.

To continue my journey into strength training, I asked trainer Brian Witt, CSCS, CES, PES, and PN1, at Crunch for a new routine using my favorite medicine ball to help me on my quest for a stronger back.

Check out the four moves he suggested to help me start my journey, and get the three sequences to try.

Find your right-size medicine ball:

  • Beginner: 8 to 12 pounds
  • Intermediate: 12 to 16 pounds
  • Advanced: 16 to 20 pounds

The exercises

Bent-over row

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while maintaining a straight back and bend forward.
  • While holding a medicine ball close to your chest between both hands, extend the ball away from your chest with a controlled movement.
  • Then pull the medicine ball back toward your chest to the start position.
  • Repeat the movement.

Upright row

  • Grasp your medicine ball, and allow it to hang in front of you the length of your arms.
  • Standing up straight, adjust your grip so your hands are in line with your thighs, about shoulder-width apart for wrist and shoulder safety.
  • Breathe in and brace your abdominals, and keep your back straight, chest up, and eyes focused forward.
  • Lift the medicine ball straight up toward your chin, leading with your elbows and keeping the ball close to your body. Breathe out during the effort of the exercise, pausing at the top of the lift. Note: your arms should go no higher than parallel with your shoulders.
  • Return the ball back to the starting position, breathing in as you lower it.
  • Repeat the movement.

Good morning

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and place your medicine ball on your shoulders. The ball should rest on your trapezius muscles of your upper back near your shoulders.
  • Brace your abs, and take a good breath in.
  • Exhale as you hinge at your hips. It should feel as if you are sending your hips backward, or pretend someone has a rope around your hips and is pulling them backward.
  • Inhale and focus on maintaining a straight back, keeping the arch of your lower back tight as you would when lifting from the floor.
  • As you exhale, make sure your head and chest are up and forward while keeping your core tight to ensure you aren’t curling your back forward.
  • Return to the starting position, and repeat.

Slam

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, and hold the medicine ball in your hand.
  • Lift the medicine ball overhead with your arms extended. Look straight ahead, and inhale.
  • Bend forward at your waist, and use your core muscles to throw the ball down in front of your feet with as much force as possible. Contract your abdomen effectively, and exhale while doing the exercise. Note: let your arms follow through the movement to prevent falling.
  • In the end, your heels should be on the floor and your knees slightly bent.
  • If you’re using a bouncy ball, let the ball bounce back and catch it. If your ball does not bounce, then keep your abdomen contracted while picking up the ball.
  • Lift the ball back, and repeat.

The sequences

HIIT format:

  • Perform three to five sets.
  • Perform each exercise for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Perform each exercise back to back.
  • Rest 60 to 90 seconds between each round.

Circuit format:

  • Perform three to five sets.
  • Perform each exercise for 12 to 15 reps.
  • Perform each exercise back to back.
  • Rest eight to 10 seconds between each exercise.
  • Rest 60 to 90 seconds between each set.

Superset format:

1. Bent-over row

2. Upright row

  • Perform exercises one and two for three to five sets.
  • Perform exercises one and two for 12 to 15 reps.
  • Perform exercises one and two back to back.
  • Rest for eight to 10 seconds between each exercise.
  • Rest 60 to 90 seconds between each set.
  • Rest three to five minutes before starting exercises three and four.

3. Good morning

4. Slam

  • Perform exercises three and four for three to five sets.
  • Perform exercises three and four for 12 to 15 reps.
  • Perform exercises three and four back to back.
  • Rest for eight to 10 seconds between each exercise.
  • Rest 60 to 90 seconds between each set.

Pro tips:

  • “Always start with a lighter weight and work your way up to a heavier weight,” Witt said. “Even if it’s within the same movement or set. This will help avoid any possible injuries.”
  • The more you do these movements, the heavier the weight you can use. Also, you can increase the amount of sets and reps, Witt said.
  • To build stamina and muscle endurance, Witt said you can also decrease the rest between movement and sets.


UA HOVR™ Rise 2 Training Shoes

UA HOVR™ Rise 2 Training Shoes

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