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Work Every Muscle in Your Core With This Medicine Ball Crunch Circuit

Engage all your ab muscles with just one piece of equipment.

Many of us have had to shift to working out at home due to the coronavirus pandemic with equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands. A less obvious—but super useful—tool to build strength is a medicine ball.

Using a medicine ball in your workouts helps engage the muscles of your core more, which is important in terms of maintaining your position, speed, and power on the bike.

That’s why Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., CEO and founder of in New York City, put together this core circuit using a medicine ball.

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“These exercises strengthen the rectus abdominis (a.k.a. abdominal muscles),” Tamir says. “This muscle helps to keep the trunk stable and flex the spinal column. Flexion of the spinal column is very important for cycling because you spend a majority of the time in trunk flexion [on the bike]. Strong rectus abdominis muscles are super important to maintain that position and stabilize the trunk while using the extremities.”

How to do it: Perform 2 to 3 rounds of this circuit. The amount of time to do each exercise varies, so see below. Rest 15 seconds between each exercise. Tamir demonstrates the circuit with a 10-pound medicine ball, but recommends starting with a light weight (around 6 pounds) and seeing how you feel with that before going up in weight.


Table Top Sit-Up

Lie faceup on the floor with legs perpendicular to the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, arms reaching above your head—your biceps by your ears—and holding a medicine ball in both hands. Crunch up and place medicine ball to rest on shins. Lower shoulders back down to ground (arms still reaching above head), leaving medicine ball on shins. Crunch back up and grab medicine ball, then lower shoulders back down. That’s 1 rep. Complete 10 reps total.


Alternating Side Crunch

Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. With straight arms, hold medicine ball in both hands above torso. Crunch up to the left, then lower shoulders back down. That’s 1 rep. Then crunch up to the right. Continue alternating sides. Complete 10 reps per side.


V-Up Crunch

Lie faceup in a hollow-hold position, legs extended and your arms reaching above your head—your biceps by your ears—holding a medicine ball with both hands. Lift your head, shoulders, and legs off the floor and into a V position—your hands and feet should meet. Return to starting position. That’s 1 rep. Complete 10 reps total.


Alternating Jackknife

Lie faceup on the floor, arms reaching above your head—biceps by your ears—holding a medicine ball with both hands. Lift your head, shoulders, and left leg off the floor and into a V position—your hands and left foot should meet. Return to starting position. That’s 1 rep. Then repeat, lifting right leg off the floor. Complete 10 reps per side.


Toe Touch

Lie faceup on the floor with legs and arms straight up in the air, holding a medicine ball right above your torso. Lift shoulders off floor to crunch up and touch medicine ball to shins. Return to starting position. That’s 1 rep. Complete 15 reps total.

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