This Challenging Medicine Ball Burner Will Put Your Core to the Test
If you’ve ever been shy about lifting heavy, DeMarcus Ware wants you to know that you’re probably stronger than you think. The heavy medicine ball workout he shared to Instagram earlier this week is a great way to test that theory. Unlike some of his earlier workouts, however, this one will require you to have access to a nicely equipped gym—preferably, one with a wide range of medicine balls and some boxes.
The routine that Ware shows off may look like a leg workout, but as much as anything, it’s core work, says Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. “Heavy medball work is one of the best ways to train your abs, because you’re challenged to load and control a large load in front of your body,” he says. The only way you can succeed: By standing tall, forcing your spinal erectors and glutes to activate. You also need to hug the medball, and the only way you can do that is by hollowing out your torso slightly and tensing your abs in the process, Samuel adds.
In the video, Ware demonstrates two ways to train. The first is just walking with them. The move is a lot like a farmer’s carry, with an even greater core emphasis. “Avoid arching your back, flex your abs, and tighten your glutes so you take stress of your lower spine,” Samuel says. Ware walks over hurdles in the clip, which adds to the challenge, but if you don’t have those, you can easily just walk for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. If you don’t have that kind of space, just do basic medball marches, walking in place for 20 to 30 seconds.
As you walk—or step—focus on lifting your knees high or march to get even more ab burn. Flex your foot, too, reinforcing good walking and running mechanics, Samuel says. Ware also shows off a heavy medball squat, which provides a similar challenge to a front squat. “Hold that medball up as high as you can, but focus on looking straight ahead. Don’t look up. Think of doing three sets of 5 to 7 reps, depending on how heavy the medball is.”
To get the most out of these drills, the key is to use a challengingly heavy medball. An eight-pound medball won’t cut it, according to Samuel, because the load has to be incredibly challenging to push your core to activate.