Low Impact Medicine Ball Circuit Workout

A medicine ball workout can be a great addition to your fitness regime. Med balls help to improve muscular power, endurance, and functional fitness. They also improve coordination and balance and they have even shown to be an effective tool for older adults and children.

If you want a joint-friendly, low impact workout, this is perfect for the beginner or intermediate exerciser. This is a circuit-style workout, which means you'll do 10 total-body exercises in a row. You'll keep your heart rate elevated throughout the workout and build strength at the same time.

Precautions

See your healthcare provider before trying this workout if you have been sedentary or if you are returning to exercise after an injury, illness, or pregnancy.

Equipment Needed

You'll need at least one medicine ball for this workout. You will also use a light dumbbell for some exercises. Med balls come in a variety of weights. A ball between 3 pounds and 10 pounds should work for most people, depending on fitness level. Find a ball that seems challenging but does not feel so heavy that you can't maintain good form while holding it.

Getting Started

For maximum results, try not to rest between exercises unless you really need a break. Otherwise, move quickly from exercise to exercise to keep your heart rate up and to burn more calories. Complete one complete circuit for a short, 10-minute workout or do as many circuits as you like for a longer, more intense workout.

Modify according to your fitness level and skip any exercises that cause pain or discomfort. Lastly, monitor your intensity and stay between a level 5 and a level 8-9 on the perceived ​exertion chart.

1

Speed Skater Toe Touches

Step Touch

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Start with this simple warm-up move to increase circulation and increase your core body temperature. You'll notice your muscles getting warmer and looser as you move.

Equipment needed: None

How to do it right: Start this activity in a standing position. Then lower the body into a slight squat position and hinge forward at the hips assuming a speed skater position.

  1. Touch the right toe out to the side, maintaining the squat and upper body position.
  2. Return the right toes to the starting position as you stand up tall.
  3. Move back into speed skater position and touch the toes out to the left side.
  4. Stand up tall again as you return the left toes to the starting position.
  5. Continue alternating sides.

Duration: Continue for 1–2 minutes, gradually moving faster as your body gets warm.

2

Side-to-Side Windmills

Windmills

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

You'll continue your warm-up with a windmill move. Because this exercise involves spinal rotation, it helps to warm up the muscles in the torso, including the large muscles in the back.

Equipment needed: None

How to do it right: Start by standing with legs wide, arms straight out to the sides and parallel to the floor.

  1. Go into a side lunge towards the right, bending the knee as you rotate the left arm towards the opposite foot.
  2. Repeat on the other side, lunging from side to side and bringing the opposite arm towards each foot. 

Duration: Repeat for 1 minute, moving as fast as you can.

3

Circle Squats

Medicine Ball Circle Squat

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

The basic squat works the lower body: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and smaller muscles in the lower leg. By adding a medicine ball, you also engage the muscles in the shoulders and core.

Equipment needed: Medicine ball or dumbbell

How to do it right: Start standing and holding a med ball right next to the right hip.

  1. Step out to the left into a squat as you circle the ball overhead, ending up at your left hip.
  2. Step back, circling the weight back to the right hip.

Duration: Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

4

Straight Leg Kicks

Medicine Ball Lunge with Toe Touches

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

This total body movement works the whole body but especially challenges the muscles in your core. You'll feel your abdominal muscles and back muscles work to stabilize as you move the upper and lower body.

Equipment needed: Medicine ball

How to do it right: Begin standing and holding the med ball in both hands in front of your body.

  1. Step back with the right leg in a straight leg lunge while lifting the ball overhead.
  2. Kick the right leg up while bringing the med ball down towards the foot (it's okay if you can't touch it).
  3. Lower the leg back into a lunge as you lift the ball

Duration: Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

5

Woodchops

Medicine Ball Diagonal Woodchop.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

The med ball woodchop is similar to the cable woodchop, but with the med ball version, you are not offered the (limited) stabilization provided by the cable.

Equipment needed: Medicine ball or dumbbell

How to do it right: Begin standing and holding the med ball in both hands in front of your body.

  1. Holding a med ball, step out to the right, sweeping the medicine ball out towards the right wall.
  2. Step back and swing the ball diagonally across the body and up in the air.

Duration: Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

6

Knee Lifts

Knee Lifts with a Medicine Ball

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Standing knee lifts are one effective way to work the abdominals from an upright position. They are a great way to work the core without having to get up and down from the floor.

Equipment needed: Medicine ball or dumbbell

How to do it right: Start standing and holding the med ball in front of your torso.

  1. Lift the weight straight up overhead.
  2. Lift the right knee up to waist level while bringing the arms down, touching the weight to the knee.
  3. Return to start and repeat on the left side. 

Duration: Alternate knees and repeat for 1 minute.

7

Squat and Sweep

Medicine Ball Squat and Swing.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

This total body move will keep your heart rate elevated while working most of the muscles in the upper and lower body.

Equipment needed: Medicine ball or dumbbell

How to do it right: Start with feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Hold the ball in front of your body.

  1. Lower into a squat, taking the med ball towards the floor.
  2. Stand up and sweep the ball overhead, adding a toss if you want.
  3. Lower and repeat.

Duration: One minute

8

Front Kick With Lunge

Front kick with lunge

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

You'll keep your heart rate elevated and also benefit from a deep hip flexor stretch with this lunge variation.

Equipment needed: None

How to do it right: Start standing and prepare to move into a deep runner's lunge.

  1. Take the right leg straight back into a lunge, going as low as you can or until you can touch the floor with the right hand.
  2. Bring the right leg back in and then kick out with the same leg.

Duration: Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

9

Speed Skaters

Speed skaters with weights

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

This move puts you back in a speed skater position. You'll burn calories, strengthen the lower body, and also get an outer hip stretch with this move.

Equipment needed: None

How to do it right: Start standing, making sure you have plenty of room on each side. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand.

  1. Take a giant step or jump to the right, taking the left leg behind you and the weight towards the foot.
  2. Do the move on the other side, now taking the right leg behind you and the weight towards the foot.

Duration: Alternate sides for 1 minute. 

10

Squat Kicks

Squat Kick

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

You won't need any equipment do this leg kick movement. You'll work the core and lower body.

Equipment needed: None

How to do it right: Start standing with feet hip distance apart. Make sure you have plenty of space in front of you.

  1. Hold the hands up to guard your face and squat as low as you can, or until thighs are parallel to the floor.
  2. As you stand up, bring the right knee up and kick the leg out, but avoid hyperextending the knee.

Duration: Repeat for 1 minute

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Article Sources
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  1. Thompson, Christian J. Ph.D. Medicine ball power training exercises for older adults, ACSM Health & Fitness Journal September/October 2016 - Volume 20 - Issue 5 - p 41-43 doi:10.1249/FIT.0000000000000242

  2. Faigenbaum, A. D., & Mediate, P. Medicine Ball Training for Kids. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 12(3), 7–12. (2008) doi:10.1249/fit.0b013e31817047a2