You’re about to discover an amazing medicine ball abdominal exercise circuit published in Men’s Health Medicine magazine from the December 2008 issue.
If you’ve seen the magazine, then you will have seen there are a lot of crunches and even some sit-ups in there. But, if you’re not an advanced college athlete, then you probably don’t need to be doing those exercises. You especially want to avoid those types of exercises if you sit at a desk all day and have lower back problems.
So, I’m going to take most of the exercises from that program and do them in this circuit, but replace the sit-ups and crunches with alternative versions that are still effective for your abs, but easier on your lower back.
This is going to be a 10 exercise circuit, with 20 repetitions per exercise. If you’re advanced, then you can use a medicine ball; otherwise you can use a basketball, or a soccer ball.
You will start the medicine ball abdominal circuit with the big circles exercise. So, place the ball above your head and then bring it down and around, and up the other side, and then around again. Continue this motion for 10 repetitions, and then switch directions for another 10 repetitions.
The second abdominal exercise is the Woodchopper. To perform this exercise, place the ball out in front of you and swing the ball straight up and down, making sure to squat down while bringing the ball down. Repeat for 20 repetitions.
Once you’ve completed all of the Woodchoppers, then move on to the Golf Squat Chop. Start with the ball beside your head and then bring the ball down to the opposite foot and then right back up. As you are returning the ball to the starting position, be sure to twist your hips slightly and raise that opposite foot. Complete 10 repetitions for each side.
After the Golf Squat Chop, you’ll move onto the Squat Press. With the ball in front of you, squat down, and on the way up, press the ball above your head. As you squat down, bring the ball down with you and then back up again. Again, perform this exercise for 20 repetitions.
Next up in the medicine ball circuit is the Plank Rollout. To do this abdominal exercise, place your elbows on the medicine ball, and then roll the ball out and in while in the plank position. Complete 20 repetitions for this exercise.
Once you’ve finished all the repetitions for the plank rollout, quickly move on to Mountain Climbers. Place your hands on the ball while down in the push-up position, and bring your knee up to your chest, performing 10 repetitions per side.
The next exercise is the McGill Crunch, named after Dr. Stuart McGill. In this abdominal exercise, one leg is bent which helps to take the stress off of the lower back. So, lie flat on your back, with one knee bent and place the ball above your head. Next, you will curl up, just lifting your shoulders up off the ground, and then back down. Perform 10 repetitions for each knee.
After the McGill crunches, you’ll move onto a diagonal Lunge Chop. For your starting position, stand with your feet hip width apart, and the ball raised above your head. Now, you will step into a forward lunge and swing the ball diagonally across your body, and then back up. Be sure to alternate sides, completing 10 repetitions per side.
Next, you’ll perform the Medicine Ball Rollout. So on your knees, place your hands on the ball in front of you. Roll the ball out, making sure to keep your back nice and straight and then back in. In this ab exercise you do not need to go out very far, but just enough to feel a stretch in your abdominals.
Finally, you’ll finish off with the medicine ball Jackknife exercise. Again, you will be using a shorter range of motion. To get in position for this exercise, place your body in the push-up position, place your feet on the ball, and then bring your knees in as much as possible. Perform 20 repetitions and that’s it!