If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard someone say they want a strong and chiseled core, I’d be a very rich man.

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard someone say they use medicine ball rotational exercises, I’d be a very poor man.

Friends, all of the supine crunches, tall kneeling cable crunches, and sit-ups, might make your core burn, but are these exercises training the core effectively?  What level of carry over do these exercises have on improving posture and mobility, developing coordination, increasing power output, and enhancing fat burning?

Not much.

An athletic core (consisting of the muscles of rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, quadrates lumborum, erector spinae, external and internal obliques) must quickly brace to create tension and stability to support the spine AND quickly relax to transfer energy through the legs and into the arms and vice versa.

The core’s “pulsing” power can’t be recreated using traditional core exercises.

Not the case with a medball.

Here are Four Reasons Why You Need Rotational Medicine Ball Training in Your Program.

  1.  Reduces chances of acute and overuse injuries.
    • There are three planes of movement.  Sagittal (Forward/Backward), Frontal (Side to Side), and Transverse (Rotational).
    • Most traditional gym programs live in the sagittal plane (squats, deadlifts, pullups, presses, etc), visit the frontal plane (side lunges, side planks, suitcase carries) infrequently, and almost never attend to the transverse plane (rotational work).
    • Too much work in one plane leaves the body open to long term overuse injuries (think tendonopathy or cartilage degeneration, etc) and sudden traumatic injuries (ACL tears, disk herniations, ligament sprains.
    • By adding rotational medball work into one’s program, a new way of moving is introduced to the brain.  By challenging the body to move differently, the brain develops new tools to solve problems of coordination, muscle strength imbalance, and reduces the wear and tear on heavily trained systems.
  2. Improved athleticism
    • If you are looking to run faster or farther, increase durability, and improve change of direction, you must own the pattern of rotation.
    • For distance runners, medicine ball rotational training teaches the body how to “pulse”, how to quickly contract and relax.  If the core cannot quickly absorb force and redirect it through the legs and arms energy will bleed out of the system over long periods of movement, thereby decreasing the time it takes to achieve fatigue and ultimately lead to decreased performance.
    • For field sport athletes, not only will rotational medicine ball assist in overall speed improvements, it will also improve agility.  The speed of play in a variety of field sports is inconsistent.  Plus, there are so many open skill challenges that the the athlete must react and adapt to (an incoming ball or opponent).  Being able to change directions quickly is essential to performance.  That involves being able to shift continuously between acceleration and deceleration throughout all planes of movement.  Athletes need to project force accurately and powerfully from a variety of positions and be able to change those vectors just as fast.  Rotation is the linchpin of athleticism.  In order to cut effectively, force must be absorbed through the legs and core and then be retransmitted in a new direction using the limbs and core via rotational patterns.
    • Even if you don’t play a sport, rotational medicine ball training teaches you how to link the power of the lower body to the upper body using a low risk tool.  By improving coordination with this simple tool, you’ll be to handle more complex athletic tasks or exercises.
  3. Improved Posture and Mobility
    • Rotational medball training can help improve overhead mobility by opening up the thoracic spine (upper back).
    • The thoracic spine is meant to rotate.  The healthier and fuller the rotational capabilities of the thoracic spine, you’ll see more improvements in overhead movements, too.
    • By opening up the thoracic spine, you’ll have a better chance of opening up internally rotated and rounded shoulders.  When training rotation, the shoulders retract and EXTERNALLY rotate thereby restoring better posture to the shoulders.
  4. Enhanced Fat Burning
    • As we’ve discussed already, rotational medicine ball training involves a using the lower and upper body.
    • By using more muscles throughout a session, the caloric cost goes up.
    • Given the simple nature of the medball, you can do a lot of exercises with little risk and increased speeds or intensities boosting your body’s metabolic output.

We use rotational medicine ball training extensively in our programming here at Steelworks Strength Systems, but here are three of our favorite movements.


Looking for a way to complete your training program?  The benefits listed above make adding rotational medicine ball training into your workouts a no-brainer!

Ready to start your fitness journey at Steelworks?  Click HERE to schedule your FREE trial class today!