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Level up your home gym arsenal with a medicine ball
The medicine ball got its name from an 1889 Scientific American article, but that’s not when it got its popularity. For that, you have to time travel back to ancient Greece. Even back then, the benefits of using a medicine ball were no secret. And if you want to see exactly what those benefits are, check out any Greek statue at the museum. Those guys were ripped.
Whether you’re grabbing a medicine ball to level up your squats or looking for something to spice up your functional fitness training, a solid set of medicine balls is the way to go.
From building muscle in walking lunges to high-intensity interval workouts, weightlifting, slamming exercises, cardio and more, a weighted ball is a must-have piece of exercise equipment for leveling up any workout.
Before clicking buy on your favorite, check out our tips for selecting the best medicine ball and how to make sure you get the most out of it.
What are medicine balls good for?
Medicine balls are great for developing explosive strength. Perfect for athletes in sports like running, swimming, and boxing. Since it helps boost the amount of power you generate, you‘ll see improvements in your bench press and shoulder press, too.
Medicine ball training improves your:
Core strength – improved posture and balance
You’ve probably seen medicine balls used in core training – building muscles in your abs and around your spine. They’re exceptionally good at it, too. But they’re not limited to ab workouts.
Benefits of training with medicine balls
You can combine medicine ball training with other forms of exercise. This is a great way to get over any training plateau you’re stuck on.
You can train with them everywhere – at home, on the beach, or holiday.
Easy to use. From beginners to pro athletes boosting performance for the game, a weighted ball is great for everyone.
Are medicine balls good for weight loss?
Medicine ball exercises are a great way to spice up your cardiovascular training, burn more calories, and lose weight. If you’re alone, start with presses and squats. If you’re with a partner, practice tossing and catching the ball for a full-body workout that targets your core.
How to shop for a medicine ball
Versatility, portability, and power. That's what a weighted ball gives many home workouts and fitness centers around the world.
As you choose your next set of medicine balls, consider the weight, material, and size.
Lighter medicine balls are great for speed training, agility, and reflex training.
Heavier medicine balls are best for strength training and core exercises.
Where to begin? Choose a ball around 40% of your 1-rep max. That means if you can perform one bicep curl with a 40-pound barbell, start with a medicine ball of around 20 pounds.
Large medicine balls are great for overhead throws and other multi-joint, compound movements.
Medium-sized medicine balls are great for overall resistance training.
Small medicine balls are the easiest to hold and great for working your abdominals and core.
Go for durable, sturdy, firm rubber construction. Nothing too squishy or soft.
Always choose a medicine ball with a textured surface. This gives you a superior grip and means you can use the ball right out of the box.
What is a good weight for a medicine ball?
A 10-pound medicine ball is ideal for classic medicine ball workouts including ball toss, weighted twists, squats, sit-ups, and more.
For true beginners, anything between 4-and 15 pounds is a good starting point. This gives you access to a whole list of upper, lower, and full body medicine ball exercises.
Medicine ball exercises
Medicine ball partner throws
Target: core, shoulders, reflexes
Grab your workout buddy. Stand a few feet apart.
Hold the medicine ball close to your chest and then throw it to your partner.
Your partner will catch the ball and quickly throw it back to you.
The goal is to increase the throwing distance and throw the ball quickly and forcefully to each other.
Do this exercise on time. Aim for 1 minute before resting 30-45 seconds. Repeat.
For an extra twist, add a twist! When you catch the ball, twist to the side before throwing it back to your partner. This targets your obliques.
Strength training exercises with a medicine ball
Target: lower body, shoulders, triceps, core
For squats, hold the medicine ball in front of your chest, elbows out, and shoulders down (think about having a long neck).
Squat as usual without leaning forward.
For an extra kick to the workout, lift the ball over your head when you come back to a standing position.
Take it one step further by bending your elbows, taking the medicine ball behind your head when you’re standing. This focuses on your triceps.
Return the ball to the starting position and squat again.
Perform 15-20 reps for 3 sets.
Abdominal training with a medicine ball
Target: abs and core muscles
Lie down on your exercise mat with the medicine ball in your arms.
Bend your legs and keep your feet flat on the mat.
Slowly raise your upper body toward your legs and perform a crunch.
Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps. If you can do more than 15 crunches, choose a heavier medicine ball next time.
What's the difference between a medicine ball, a slam ball, and a wall ball?
Though very similar to medicine balls, slam balls and wall balls have a few crucial differences. Slam balls are thicker, making them safe to throw and slam on the ground. Wall balls are usually larger and lighter than medicine balls, making them ideal for throwing against a wall.
Medicine balls, in comparison to slam balls and wall balls, are covered with thin rubber or plastic and are better suited for strength training workouts.
Medicine ball: A medicine ball is a firm, hard, inflated exercise ball. You can almost compare it to the dodgeball we all played with (and ran from!) as kids. For the most part, they’re lightweight and made of rubber. The surface is important because it’s what gives you a good grip. This type of exercise ball typically weighs less than 20 pounds and is good for exercises such as ab twists (Russian Twists), squats, lunges, and partner exercises.
Wall ball: A wall ball is a slightly larger exercise ball (in size - not weight). They’re usually covered with vinyl for a comfortable grip. Wall balls aren’t filled with air and have a firm and balanced shape. This type of ball is suitable for, as the name indicates, throwing up against a wall and catching.
Slam ball: Slam balls are designed to be thrown and thrown hard on both the wall and floor. There is no bounce in a slam ball. That means that when the ball hits the floor, it will stay and not bounce back and attack you. Most slam balls are filled with sand.
Get on the ball with a weighted ball from ShapeNation
At ShapeNatoin, we offer an ever-growing collection of exercise balls. Here you’ll find medicine balls in all sizes, wall balls, and slam balls. All of our balls are made from high-quality, durable materials and carefully designed so you’ll get the most out of every workout.
If it’s functional training you’re after, check out everything you need to step up your home gym. From dumbbells and resistance bands to yoga mats and protein powders, ShapeNation is your trusted partner for all things fitness. And at prices your wallet will thank you for.
Are you looking for more products to take your training to the next level? Our most popular categories are dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise mats, resistance bands, protein powder, workout clothes, headphones, massage guns, foam rollers, and exercise balls. Find all the best exercise equipment on ShapeNation