JOE's pre-workout tips: A medicine ball circuit to get the heart pumping
The medicine ball is one of the best pieces of equipment in the gym, so here's the perfect circuit to get some use out of it
Getting the blood pumping before a weights session is a great way to push yourself as hard as you can, and make sure that you're not only building muscle but breaking a good sweat too.
A brilliant piece of equipment that you can get use out of in the gym to warm up is the medicine ball with this quick circuit that's a total body workout. If you want you can use this as a warmup, or add it to the end of your session to really push through the last few minutes. In any good gym, there should be a few different weights of medicine ball, so start light until you get used to the motions and you're sure your form is correct.
For all of these exercises, you should repeat for three sets of 12-15 exercises, which you can choose to do as either a circuit of one exercise followed by the next for three circuits, or do the three sets of each in a row. Try to take as little rest in between sets and circuits as possible.
Get an exercise ball and find a spot in the gym where there's a wall that you can throw the medicine ball against. Lying down on the exercise ball, drop your behind down towards the ground a bit so that your upper body is at a bit of an incline, and your feet are planted on the ground, about shoulder width apart.
Pick up the medicine ball, and with your elbows bent, place it over your head and fire it explosively at the wall, catching it when it comes back. The video below is a good demonstration.
Holding the ball like a goblet and starting at the bottom of a squat motion (feet shoulder width apart), drive through your heels to bring your body up and push the medicine ball straight up. If you have a space to use a wall, throw the ball up against it and catch the rebound, but if not, you can throw it straight up as it comes back, catch it and lower yourself back to your starting position in as smooth a motion as possible.
Torso medicine ball throw
Here again, you'll need a wall to throw the ball against. Holding the ball with both hands and keeping your arms straight, stand with your left hip to the wall, and the ball at your right hip. Rotate your torso using it to provide the power to throw the ball against the wall. Start with a light easy throw as a bit of a range finder so you know how hard you need to throw it, and work from there.
Ideally, you want to keep the ball in a straight line so you don't need to bend forward to or lean out of your way to catch it, and you can keep the move flowing without interruption. After you finish with your left side, switch so that your right hip faces the wall and the ball is at your left hip. Do 12 repetitions on each side.
Lie flat on your back and bend your knees, placing the medicine ball underneath your feet. With the medicine ball at the balls of your feet or at your toes, lift your hips off the ground, placing your hands out in a T-shape to keep your balance. From there, roll the ball out to your heels, straightening out your legs and lowering your hips.
This is a difficult exercise and it's hard to keep your balance, but is great if you find that you have recurring tightness in the hamstring, as it will strengthen that area.
Alternating medicine ball pushup
This is pretty much as it sounds, but one of the main things here will be keeping your balance. Placing one hand on the ground and one hand on the medicine ball, perform a regular push up, making sure that you control the movement and go through it slowly.
Swap hands when you have completed one repetition, and if you find it too difficult you can place your knees on the ground until you build up your strength enough to do it as a regular pushup.
That should have you sweating and ready to go, but if you're looking for a few more exercises with the med ball as well as some great tips on form, you can check out this video from Scott Herman.
Nutrition is always key to any workout, and for something great with a high protein content that’s also delicious, try Mooju chocolate milk. With over 10g of protein in a 250ml container, as well as carbohydrate. Mooju is a great choice for your workout.
Enjoy Mooju as part of a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle.
Hat-tip to Men's Health for the picture.