I wanted to emphasize core workouts, yet I didn’t want to do crunches or sit-ups on the floor. The lower back strain had become a problem.

A small medicine ball – from 4 to10 pounds – seemed a good idea for these reasons:

  • It was small and easily stored
  • It was inexpensive
  • I could use it standing up
  • It seemed quite versatile

It proved to be surprisingly effective and is now a key piece of my fitness tools. This post will point out exercise movements I do, plus other fitness applications that are possible.

There are several types of medicine balls. Some are used for slamming or passing back and forth. They are larger. This post deals with smaller medicine balls, more suitable for home use.


Work your core muscles and improve your balance and coordination. Here’s how:

  • Standing with feet shoulder width apart, hold the ball near your chest with both hands
  • Lift the ball overhead to one side. twisting your torso to that side
  • From that position, lower the ball diagonally to the opposite side, outside that hip
  • Then, either continue lifting in the same direction or begin alternating to the other side

I like to alternate each rep, but either way works. I do 50 total reps with a 6 pound ball. The weight of the ball, even that light, is enough to challenge our balance as we lift and lower.

Here is the good news. The following muscles are worked with the woodchop:

  • Obliques – the muscles on the side of our waist
  • Rectus abdominus – the “six pack” of muscles
  • Erector spinae – the muscles along our spine
  • Latissimus dorsi – the large muscles of our back
  • Transverse abdominis – the deepest layer of abdominal muscle
  • The hip muscles – gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus, which extend or abduct our hips

This video shows the woodchop, brief and to the point

I also do a couple of other varieties of the exercise:

  • I start in the same manner and raise the ball upward and downward more vertically. This focuses the stress on the “six pack”.
  • I also like to stand with no leg movement and twist the ball to one side and then the other, resisting to make the movement more effective. I start at my lower legs and gradually increase the height to head level.


I am dealing with a rotator cuff sprain in my right shoulder. I have found this to be helpful:

  • I lie on the floor (no bending)
  • I hold the medicine ball upward and in the palm of my right hand. My arm is straight.
  • Then I rotate my palm to the right for 20 reps, then to the left for 20 reps. That’s it!

My morning exercise every day includes the three woodchop versions and the rotator cuff therapy. I include planks, seated Bullworker crunches and pelvic floor isometrics for my total core routine.


Medicine balls can be used in a huge variety of ways, often to substitute for dumbbells or other forms of resistance. The best way to present some of these is through videos.

Here is a 10 minute beginner’s medicine ball workout

This 15 minute video shows a routine in HIIT format. “Let’s get sweaty”

Here is a 10 minute HIIT workout

This 8 minute videos is by a bodybuilder


I use Amazon as a customer and as an associate. As a customer, I enjoy their multiple choices of just about anything, as well as their fast delivery service. As an associate, I may insert their links into my articles and benefit from purchases.

Their links include pictures, full descriptions, reviews and other links to similar or complementary items. Today, I am only using one link, but scroll around for more ideas.

This Rhino medicine ball is the one I use. It comes in weights from 4 lbs. to 22 lbs. and in different colors. I use the 6 lb. ball. I do high reps and this weight works well for me.


Medicine balls may be used for a wide variety of exercise forms – for building strength, for speed, for bodybuilding, for cardio and for rehabilitating after an injury. They engage the whole body and allow us to burn lots of calories without impacting our joints,

Every medicine ball exercise I know of is a compound movement, working several muscle groups simultaneously.

I am more than happy with my purchase!

Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, richard@myworkoutathome.com.

Let’s stay motivated!


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