How To Do The Medicine Ball Core Rotation

Man demonstrates medicine ball core rotation exercise as woman looks on
(Image credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The medicine ball core rotation is one of those exercises that looks simple – so much so that you might not consider adding it to your medicine ball workouts. However, looks can be deceiving, and it’s actually an unusually tough core exercise because there aren’t too many moves that require rotational movement.

Read on for more about the benefits of the medicine ball core rotation, a form guide for the exercise and a tough medicine ball workout you can use it in.

Medicine Ball Core Rotation Benefits

Many moves that work your middle involve moving forwards and backwards, like the sit-up. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the best core workouts will also involve twisting exercises to target the midsection in a different way. The medicine ball core rotation engages muscles you might not already be using much in your workouts, but you will be in your day-to-day life – every time you twist to grab or pass something, for example.

That’s the main benefit of the move, though you’re also engaging the arms – particularly the biceps – to hold the ball at length throughout the exercise, so there are some bonus strength gains to be had there.

How To Do The Medicine Ball Core Rotation

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the medicine ball out in front of your chest with a slight bend in your elbows. Twist your torso to one side to move the ball that way. Keep your core braced and focus on moving the ball by twisting your torso, rather than just moving your arms. Aim to turn at least 90°, then come back to the centre and twist to the other side.

Medicine Ball Workout

This workout is short but far from sweet, and the frenetic pace at which you should do it will ensure you feel every minute of action. The aim is to do as many reps as possible of each of the four exercises, working for one minute at a time and resting for just 20 seconds between moves. If you have time you can go for another round or two, or try tacking this on to the end of your workout as a first-class finisher.

You need a pull-up bar, a kettlebell and a medicine ball for the workout.

1 Round the world pull-up

Time 60sec Rest 20sec

Start in a dead hang, holding the bar with a wide overhand grip. Pull yourself up so your chin is above the bar directly behind one of your hands. Pull your body across the bar until your chin is behind your other hand. Lower under control to the starting position. Repeat in the other direction.

2 Medicine ball core rotation 

Time 60sec Rest 20sec

As above. 

3 Goblet squat

Time 60sec Rest 20sec

Hold a kettlebell by your chest. Drop into a deep squat so your bottom ends up lower than your knees, then push through your heels to drive back up.

4 Burpee

Time 60sec Rest 20sec

Start in a press-up position, with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Jump your feet forwards so you end up in a tuck position with your hands still on the floor. Explode up into a vertical jump, lifting your hands above your head. Land softly and go straight back to the press-up position.

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.

With contributions from