The medicine ball is one of the more fun bits of gym equipment. That’s mostly because you use it for explosive exercises where you slam it into the ground or hurl it against a wall. However, there are plenty of medicine ball exercises that are still worthwhile even when you’re not chucking it about.
The medicine ball squat is a great progression from an unweighted squat, adding weight to increase the challenge to your lower body, while also boosting the benefits to your core strength simply because it’s quite awkward to hold a medicine ball and maintain your balance through the movement.
Of course, the other great benefit of using a medicine ball for your squats is that at the end of your set you can slam it into the floor to finish with a flourish. Can’t do that with dumbbells or a barbell. Or you really shouldn’t, at any rate.
How To Do The Medicine Ball Squat
Stand holding a medicine ball in front of your chest with both hands. Bend at the hips and sit back into a squat, lowering until your thighs are at least parallel with the ground. Drive through your heels to come back up to standing.
You can also hold the medicine ball above your head with your arms extended throughout the movement. This will improve your shoulder and arm strength, as well as increasing the challenge to your core because you are in a more unstable position while squatting.
Medicine Ball Squat Variations
We mentioned above that it’s great fun to chuck a medicine ball around and if you feel the urge to do so during your set of medicine ball squats, you can easily convert them into wall balls. To do this, stand close to a wall holding the ball in front of your chest. Lower into a squat and then, as you come back up to standing, throw the ball up high against the wall. Catch it as it comes back down and drop straight into another squat. Wall balls offer a fantastic full-body workout: very few muscles escape their attention, and they’re also great for cardiovascular fitness.
Medicine ball thruster
If wall balls sound a tad too hard at this stage, or you just don’t have a convenient wall, then you can try the medicine ball thruster instead. This is also a full-body move and mainly differs from the wall ball in that you don’t chuck the ball in the air at the top of the exercise. Hold the ball in front of your chest, drop into a squat and then drive back up to standing, pressing the ball above your head as you do. Bring the ball back to your chest and lower into another squat.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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