If you've already mastered the pushup, perhaps you're ready for a bigger challenge: The medicine ball pushup. When you place both hands on the ball, the instability causes your core muscles to work 20 percent harder than when you do pushup with your hands on the floor, report New Zealand researchers.
You might wonder: Does this really make a pushup that much harder? After all, your chest and arms are still doing all the work, right? Wrong. You see, if you do it right, the pushup is a highly challenging core exercise. That's because you should keep your body rigid and in a straight line from head to heels, and not let your hips sag even a centimeter. And that requires the muscles of your abs, lower back, and glutes—a.k.a. your core—to be in great shape. Ready to test your core? Use the directions below to perfect this ab-building pushup.
The Medicine-Ball Pushup
- Get down on all fours and place both hands on a medicine ball. (You can also use a basketball.)
- Straighten your arms, and then straighten your legs, with your weight on your toes.
- Your body should form a straight line from your heels to your head.
- Brace your abdominals—as if you were about to be punched in the gut—and hold them that way for the duration of this exercise. This helps keep your body rigid, and doubles as core training.
Perfect This Move
The key to doing this exercise right is to keep your body rigid and in a straight line from head to toes. If your hips sag at any point during the exercise, your form has broken down. When this happens, consider that your last repetition and end the set. Hint: If you feel a strain in your lower back, you’re probably dropping your hips slightly. If you only complete a few reps, that’s a sign your core is lagging. Shore up your weak spot with the best ab workout of all time.