The idea of completing an entire total-body workout using nothing more than an 8-pound medicine ball may not seem intimidating. But consider: This 10-exercise routine is the same one that University of North Carolina strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian uses to whip the Tar Heels into championship-game shape. It's designed to help you build a rock-solid core, burn fat, and improve your sports performance. Sahratian calls this workout the Med Ball 400. The 400 represents 400 repetitions -- the number players like Tyler Hansbrough (shown here) complete when they perform the routine. However, Sahratian suggests you start with 200 reps. (Call it the Med Ball 200.) The best part: All you need is a medicine ball to do this workout any place, any time.
The Medicine Ball 200
The old-school way to get your body in game shape
Perform this routine at the end of your regular workout or as a stand-alone workout, 3 days a week. (Use a 6-, 8-, or 10-pound medicine ball, which you can purchase at performbetter.com.) Do 20 repetitions of each exercise in the order shown. Complete the routine as a circuit, doing 1 set of each movement in succession and without resting. Too easy? Rest 60 to 90 seconds and do the circuit again. Download this workout to your iPod at MensHealth.com/download.
1. Big Circles Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, hold a medicine ball with your arms extended directly above your head [A]. Without bending your elbows, rotate your arms counterclockwise [B], using the ball to draw large imaginary circles in front your body [C, D]. Do 10 circles, and then reverse direction to clockwise and do 10 more.
Friday, November 28, 2008
2. Woodchopper Stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. With your arms nearly straight, hold a medicine ball above your head [A]. Now bend forward at your waist and mimic throwing the ball backward between your legs -- but hold onto the ball the entire time [B]. Quickly reverse the movement with the same intensity, and return to the starting position. That's 1 repetition.
3. Standing Russian Twist Hold a medicine ball with both hands in front of your chest and your arms straight [A]. Without dropping your arms, pivot on your right foot and rotate the ball and your torso as far as you can to the left [B]. Then reverse direction: Pivot on your left foot and rotate all the way to the right. That's 1 repetition.
4. Squat to Press Stand holding a medicine ball close to your chest with both hands, your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart [A]. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until the tops of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor [B]. Then simultaneously drive your heels into the floor and push your body back to the starting position as you press the ball over your head [C]. Lower the ball back to the start. That's 1 repetition.
5. Medicine-Ball Situp Grab a medicine ball with both hands and lie on your back on the floor. Bend your knees 90 degrees, place your feet flat on the floor, and hold the medicine ball against your chest [A]. Now perform a classic situp by raising your torso into a sitting position [B]. Lower it back to the start. That's 1 repetition.
6. Rocky Solo Sit on the floor with your legs straight, and hold a medicine ball with both hands just above your lap [A]. Twist your torso to the right and place the ball behind you [B]. Then twist all the way to your left and pick the ball up and bring it back to the starting position [C]. That's 1 repetition. Do 10 repetitions. Immediately do another 10 repetitions, but this time start by twisting with the ball to your left.
7. Toe Touch Grab a medicine ball, lie on your back, and raise your legs so they're straight and perpendicular to the floor. Hold the ball above the top of your head with your arms straight [A]. Without moving your legs or bending your elbows, simultaneously lift your arms and torso until the ball touches your toes [B]. Lower yourself back to the starting position. That's 1 repetition.
8. 45-Degree Twist Grab a medicine ball and sit on the floor. Lean back at a 45-degree angle, raise your legs and feet off the floor, and hold the ball with both hands in front of your chest, your arms straight [A]. Without dropping your legs or arms, rotate the ball and your torso as far as you can to the right [B]. Then reverse direction, rotating all the way to the left. That's 1 repetition.
9. Suitcase Crunch Lie on your back with your legs straight. Use both hands to hold a medicine ball above your head and barely off the floor [A]. Simultaneously raise your torso and bend your right knee toward your chest as you bring the ball over your knee and toward your foot. Reverse the movement and repeat, this time bending your left knee [B]. That's 1 repetition.
10. Diagonal Crunch Grab a medicine ball and lie on the floor with your legs straight and spread wide. Roll onto your right hip and hold the ball with your arms straight at 10 o'clock above the top of your head [A]. To perform the movement, raise your arms and torso and then touch the ball to the floor between your legs [B]. Lower your body, but instead of rolling back onto your right hip, roll onto your left and hold the ball at 2 o'clock above your head [C] before you repeat the movement. That's 1 repetition. Repeat, alternating back and forth in this manner.