Strength Training Workouts You Can Do with a Medicine Ball

Learn how to do a medicine ball slam or a windmill slam with these Pro Tips.

Looking for a piece of portable equipment for your next strength training workout? You can use medicine balls anywhere – whether your workout is at the gym, your home, the park or the beach.

Medicine balls help train power development for the upper and lower body, according to corrective exercise and performance enhancement specialist Drew Walsh.

“Medicine ball training converts all the strength and stability developed through other core exercises into usable power,” Walsh says. “Aside from power development, medicine ball training also has a great total-body conditioning effect.”

Two basic strength training exercises you can do with a medicine ball are medicine ball slams and the medicine ball lateral slam. Be sure to have a medicine ball tailored to your weight preferences.


Boy Doing Medicine Ball Slam

While holding the medicine ball in your hands, get into the universal athletic position by creating soft knees and soft hips. You’ll do this by slightly bending your knees and driving your hips back. Your hands and arms would usually be at your side, but since you’re holding the medicine ball, they’ll be in front of you for this exercise.

Once you’re comfortable:

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart and keep them flat on the ground.
  • Reach up with the medicine ball. Your arms should be over your head, with a slight bend at the elbow. In this position, your feet will go from flat to elevated as you transition your weight onto the balls of your feet. Remember to keep your heels in the air.
  • Slam the medicine ball straight down to the ground.
  • Remember to keep your hands over the ball and in front of you to prevent the ball from bouncing back up.
  • Once you’re in the finished position, your feet will be flat on the ground.
  • Repeat this motion for a set number of repetitions.

When you’re slamming the ball to the ground, Walsh says to do so with maximum intent, or strength.


Boy Doing Medicine Ball Lateral Slam

Sometimes known as the medicine ball windmill slam, this exercise also begins in the universal athletic position. However, instead of having the ball in front of you, hold the ball in contact with your left or right hip. For this example, we’ll have the ball in contact with the right hip.

Once you’re ready:

  • Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground.
  • Windmill the ball over your head in a half-circle rotation and slam it to the ground. You should be on the balls of your feet during the rotation. The ball should go from your hip, over your head and then make contact with the ground.
  • Make sure that your right hip, originally in contact with the ball, follows the direction of the medicine ball. Your body will change positions, with your backside tilted toward the medicine ball.
  • Once again, make sure to keep your hands over the medicine ball to prevent it from bouncing back up.
  • Once you’re in the finished position, your feet will return flat on the ground.
  • Repeat this motion for a set number of repetitions.

According to Walsh, learning how to use a medicine ball can help the body generate force from the ground up through the legs, hips and into the core.

“This has great carryover to athleticism and sport-specific tasks such as the golf swing, sprinting and throwing patterns,” Walsh says.

Now that you know how to incorporate a medicine ball into your workout, learn how you can use suspension trainers during your next trip to the gym.