Adding these medicine ball exercises to your cooldown routine can strengthen your core, hamstrings, and hips while increasing total-body coordination.
Co-owners of Outright Fitness Erika Canales and David Braswell know that busy runners often skip out on post-run mobility exercises that could help combat the tightness that can develop in your hips, legs, and low back. Which is why they developed a simple post-run mobility routine utilizing a unique training tool: a Dynamax medicine ball.
After every run (especially a long one), pick two of the following medicine ball exercises and complete two sets of five to ten reps. On rest days, try doing four to six of the moves as more of a complete circuit workout, aiming for three or four sets each. (You can do them on your own as instructed, or follow the “Power Play” tips to perform the exercises with a partner.) Braswell recommends keeping the weight light, around 4-6 pounds.
The overall goal is consistency, with the moves feeling more fluid as time goes on. “The movements may not seem fluid at first, but as you get better, as you are more consistent with the movements, you’ll learn how to use your body to generate that power,” says Erika Canales.
Dynamax Hammer Throw
DO IT: Stand a few inches away from the wall holding the Dynamax ball, start by twisting your body to the left, lifting the ball over your head and twisting counter-clockwise back to the start where you will quickly throw the ball at the wall and catch it. That is one rep. Repeat by starting on the right side and rotating clockwise. Do it 5 times per side.
POWER PLAY: Start this movement with your partner holding the ball and standing behind you. As you do your initial twist to the left, they will throw the ball to you. Complete the rest of the move as described above. End the move by throwing the ball back to your partner on the right side.
Dynamax Prone Throw
DO IT: Lie facedown on the ground with arms and legs extended about one to two feet away from the wall, holding the Dynamax ball out in front of you. Lift your legs and arms simultaneously into a superman position and throw the ball at the wall. Catch the ball as it rolls back and return to a ﬂat, neutral position. That’s one rep. Do 5 to 10.
POWER PLAY: Instead of throwing to the wall, have your partner kneel down in front of you and catch the ball and roll it back to you as you return to neutral.
Dynamax Scissor Kick
DO IT: Start in a seated position with your legs extended in a “V” and the Dynamax ball in your hands. Lay back on the ground and lift your right leg in the air while extending your arms over your head. As you sit back up, throw the ball at the wall and let it roll back to you. Repeat the movement, but lift the left leg in the air. Repeat 5 reps per leg.
POWER PLAY: For additional power, your partner can throw the ball to you while you’re seated to start the movement, then you will throw it back as you are returning back to the seated position from laying down.
Dynamax Seated Reverse Throw
DO IT: Sit on the floor with your legs spread wide with the wall behind you, holding the Dynamax ball in front of you. Stretch your torso and outstretched arms towards your left leg and rotate to your right leg, extending your torso forward through the whole move. Release the ball toward the wall as you reach that right leg. Repeat going the opposite direction. Complete 5 reps per side.
POWER PLAY: Have your partner stand behind you, holding the ball. You will twist your torso toward them and they will throw the ball to you to start the movement. Complete the forward stretch/twist as usual, but end the move by throwing the ball back to them on the opposite side that you started.
Dynamax Standing Log Toss
DO IT: Start in a standing position, facing the wall a few feet back. Bend forward to a 90-degree angle, holding the ball extended down to the ground. In a plyometric style, extend your body quickly, releasing the ball toward the wall when your arms are perpendicular to it. Continue to extend all the way up onto your toes with your arms over your head. Reset and repeat the movement 5 to 10 reps.
POWER PLAY: Stand across from a partner and have them catch the ball instead of throwing at the wall. Have your partner roll the ball back to you when you are reset to the bent-over position.
Dynamax Standing Overhead Throw with Knee Lift
DO IT: Start in a standing position holding the Dynamax ball in front of you. Lift the ball above your head while lifting your right leg to a 90-degree angle. Throw the ball at the wall while simultaneously stomping your foot. Grab the ball and start over, stomping your left foot this time. Repeat 5 times per side.
POWER PLAY: Grab a partner who can throw it back after each rep to create a true fluid movement.