Working out in a crowded gym can be a catch-22. You’ve made time for exercise but the gym can be so crowded that it can be difficult to get in a good workout. Your favorite equipment may not be available, or your favorite class may be too crowded or you got there too late to join. Do not despair! No matter how crowded a gym may be, you can always find a little bit of space and a medicine ball—everything you need for an awesome workout.
Exercising with a medicine ball can help elevate your heart rate and engage a number of core muscles, providing both cardiorespiratory and strength training benefits that can be difficult to achieve with traditional strength training machines. In order to boost cardiorespiratory benefits this workout is designed to be done in an As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) format—repeating the exercises in the circuit as many times as possible in a given period of time.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and holding the medicine ball in front of your chest. Keep your spine long as you push your hips back to lean forward; lower yourself until you feel a slight tension in the back of your legs; press your feet into the ground and your hips forward to return to standing. Complete 12 to 15 reps.
SQUAT WITH STAGGERED FEET
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your right foot forward so that the heel of your right foot is even with the toes of your left foot. Keep your spine straight as you push your hips back and allow your knees to slide forward as you hold the medicine ball in front of your chest and complete 6 to 8 repetitions; switch your feet to move the left foot forward and do the same number of reps with your feet in the new position. Complete 12 to 16 reps total (6 to 8 reps with each leg forward).
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the ball in front of your waist; sink into a squat by pushing your hips back and allowing your knees to slide forward while keeping your spine long; as you lower yourself the medicine ball should move between your legs, press your feet into the ground to return to standing as you keep your arms straight and swing the medicine ball to an overhead position. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
LIFT WITH ROTATION
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your right foot forward so that the heel of your right foot is even with the toes of your left foot. Hold the medicine ball in your hands by your left hip; sink back into your hips to squat down; as you return to standing push into your left foot as you rotate your left hip and move the medicine ball from your left hip to above your right shoulder. As you lower the medicine ball sink back into the squat. Complete 10 to 12 reps with the right foot forward and the same number of reps with your left foot forward.
LATERAL LUNGE TO OVERHEAD PRESS
Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding the medicine ball in front of your waist. Step directly to your right; keep your right foot parallel to the left as you place it on the ground; keep your left leg straight as your sink back into your right hip while you reach for the ground inside of your right foot with the medicine ball. Push your right foot into the ground to return to standing. When both feet are together in the middle press the ball overhead in a shoulder press. When you bring the ball down, step to your left. Alternate legs for a total of 12 to 16 reps (6 to 8 reps on each leg).
TRANSVERSE PLANE LUNGE WITH LIFT
Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding the medicine ball in front of your waist. Keep your left foot pointed straight ahead (toward 12 o’clock) as you step back and to the right with your right foot (to the 4 o’clock position); as your right foot hits the ground sink back into your hips while swinging the ball straight overhead. Lower the medicine ball and return to the starting position before stepping with your left foot toward the 8 o’clock position. Alternate legs; each time you sink back into your hips raise the medicine ball overhead. Complete 8 to 10 reps on each leg.
REVERSE LUNGE WITH ROTATION
Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding the medicine ball in front of your chest with both hands. Step back with your right leg and sink into your left hip; at the bottom of the movement keep your spine long as you rotate to your left (over the left leg); return back to facing forward before returning back to the standing position. Alternate legs to complete a total of 10 to 12 reps (5 to 6 on each leg). To increase the level of difficulty, hold your arms straight in front of your body.
PULLOVER TO CRUNCH
Lie on the ground with your feet flat on the floor and knees pointed toward the ceiling; hold your arms straight overhead (so they’re lying on the ground) with the medicine ball between your hands so that your palms face each other. Pull the medicine ball from overhead to over your chest; as the medicine ball is over your chest draw your belly button in toward your spine and roll up into a crunch (think about pulling your rib cage down toward your pelvis). Lower your body back to the ground before lowering the medicine ball. Complete 10 to 12 reps.
Try to complete as least two full circuits in 10 minutes. As you become more experienced, try to complete at least three circuits in 15 minutes. Ultimately try to complete five circuits in 20 minutes. Start with a light medicine ball and gradually progress to a medicine ball that is heavy enough to make completing the assigned number of repetitions difficult.
No matter how busy the gym gets, this workout will allow you to get your sweat on. It’s also a great option for getting an effective workout when you’re traveling. You can also do this in the comfort of your own home.