What is a medicine ball slam–and what muscle does it work?
~Sophie, via email
A medicine ball slam is an explosive exercise that works your abs.
Here is how to perform a medicine ball slam:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.
2. Swing a 20-lb non-bouncing medicine ball back behind your head, drop into a squat, and forcefully slam the ball on to the ground.
3. Pick the ball up and repeat for reps.
Turbulence Training for Abs author Craig Ballantyne suggests including one explosive ab movement–such as the medicine ball slam–and at least one ab endurance exercise per workout.
“After you’ve done your explosive ab exercise, you can do something like a plank, side plank, or plank with your arms on the ball for your abdominal endurance exercise,” he explains in Medicine Ball Slams For Explosive Abs. “That will help you work more of your abs while supporting your ‘core’ muscles–plus you don’t have to suffer the dishonor of crunches.”
Why does this matter to you? First, remember that your abs won’t pop if a layer of fat obscures them. Men need to drop their body fat below 10 percent and women below 15 percent to see some definition. If you’re in that range and your abs still aren’t popping, you’re probably doing the wrong exercises, like crunches, which are hazardous to your lower back and won’t pave the way to a six-pack.