Add Variety to Your Routine, Try Medicine Ball Push-Ups
If you only use medicine balls for throws, slams, and weighted crunches, it may be time to expand your thinking. Why not add them to push-ups? Once you’ve perfected standard push-ups, you can use these tools to master a next-level push-up variation known as medicine ball push-ups.
Follow these tips to do the medicine ball push-up exercise right — you’re sure to give your triceps, shoulders, chest, and core muscles a new challenge.
How to Do Medicine Ball Push-Ups the Right Way
- Set up in a push-up position with your hands elevated on a medicine ball. Place the medicine ball directly underneath your chest with your hands on either side of it.
- As this push-up variation can be tough on the wrists, Kristian Flores, CSCS, a strength and conditioning coach in New York, recommends placing your hands in external rotation on the medicine ball—point your thumbs toward your head and your draw your fingers out to the sides (away from the heels of your hands).
- Position your feet wide for balance.
- Prepare for the push-up by bracing your core, squeezing your glutes, and lifting your chin away from your throat (avoid a double chin). “You must keep your abs super tight to prevent your lower back from sagging,” Flores says. “Squeezing your glutes helps to keep the spine in neutral [position].”
- Once you’re in position, bend your arms and lower your torso toward the medicine ball. Keep your elbows close to your sides and your head down.
- Pause once your chest is within a few inches of touching the medicine ball. Then, push yourself back up to the starting position.
Once you’re strong enough to do medicine ball push-ups, increase the challenge by raising one foot off the floor, or perform plyo medicine ball push-ups.
The Benefits of Medicine Ball Push-Ups
Like standard push-ups, the medicine ball push-up primarily targets three major muscle groups:
- Pectorals (the muscles in your chest)- adduct the arms toward the center of the body.
- Deltoids (your three-headed shoulder muscles)- help drive the upper arms forward.
- Triceps (the three-headed muscles in the backs of your arms)- extend the upper arms.
Any push-up variation — medicine ball push-ups included — will build isometric core strength. How? By forcing the muscles in your midsection to maintain tension to complete the exercise.
You’ll build a balance between both sides of your body by elevating your hands on a medicine ball. “These push-ups challenge your less dominant side to produce force at the same rate as the dominant side to stabilize the ball,” Flores explains.
Try medicine ball push-ups in place of regular push-ups during your next workout and feel the burn!