Medicine Ball Push-Ups: Demystifying the Workout

Medicine Ball Push-ups

Have you ever heard about Medicine Ball Push-ups?

They are not like the normal push-ups you do. Rather, they are a little bit more advanced.

Well, if you have never tried them workout, then this will be the ultimate guide for you. Get ready for an intense one!

For us to do regular push-ups, we do not need any equipments. But for this kind, we would need a tool, and as the name of this article implies, it is called a “Medical Ball”.

A Medicine Ball is a heavy ball made of Leather, that is used as an equipment for strengthening exercises. Actually, building strength is not the only purpose of using a Medicine Ball. You will know more about other benefits later.

Medicine Ball

It is also known as Med Ball or Fitness Ball. So if I interchange these names, know that I mean the same thing. Some times, I may use “MB” for short.

Not just a ball

Bodybuilding ball

No, it is not a football, handball, dodgeball or any other kind of “common” balls out there. It is simply Medicine Ball.

It is common to find these balls in gyms. They vary in weight and size. A beginner who does not know what it is used for could mistake it for a football and kick it.

If you are like me, who once thought Medicine Balls were connected with Drugs – so I was not really interested in knowing more about it – hmm, know now that it has nothing to do with drugs.

But in relation to its history, Fitness Balls were invented by a health practitioner about 3,000 years ago.

Even though the name seems like fun, don’t be deceived as it may be far from it. To some people it means hard workout. They have to perform it in pain and sweat, in order the desired result. Remember – no pain, no gain.

But at the same time, even though you subject your body to pain and pressure while doing some intense workouts, be rest assured that you will see better and faster results on your body, than when you do normal exercises that are not painful or do not require pressure.

That is why High-Intensity Interval Workouts (HIIT) and Tabata are popular fitness methods.

If you have done regular push-ups (without a Medicine Ball), then you are like 80-90% ready for the next step. For starters, basically, what you have to do is to substitute the floor with the ball.

What muscles are worked?

Muscles worked

The exercise is apt for bodybuilding. The Rock, the famous action movie star, is a huge fan of Medicine Ball Push-ups.

Like the standard, the medicine ball push-up targets three main muscles: Shoulders (Deltoids), Chest (Pectoral) and Triceps.
The triceps is the muscle at the back of the fore-arm.

As you perform the workout, you will notice that these muscles are the most affected or engaged.

Please note that although these are primarily the muscles used, adding variations will open a door for more opportunities.

In short, the benefits of this workout would largely be seen in those areas of the body.

A brief history of the Medicine Ball

The ball has quite an interesting history, even though not much was recorded about it.

Some historical record suggests that Med balls were used about 3,000 years ago by Persian wrestlers to improve strength.

In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the man who is regarded as the father of modern medicine, recommended it as an essential tool for helping injured patients to recover, and he advised people to use the ball to get healthier.

How did he do it then? He stuffed animal skins and made a huge ball. The ball was originally meant to improve health.

Some years later, the ball produced for medicinal (or health) purposes, turned out to be a useful fitness tool we use till date.

How to do a Medicine Ball Push-up

There are many ways of doing push-ups using a Medicine Ball. For both hands on one ball, here are the procedures:

  • Assume the regular push-up position, with the ball below your chest
  • Place your two hands on top on the ball (or do you have three hands?)

The balls are heavy: make sure to use one that supports your weight. There are different sizes – remember?

Also, try to keep your hands close to each other and maintain a firm grip, so that your hands will not slip off the ball.

Tip: You could let your index fingers and Thumbs of both hands touch each other, forming a triangular space at the centre of the ball.

Just like the regular, go down till your chest touches your hands.

  • Push yourself up.


Instead of using one ball, with both arms on it, another way of doing this is by using two balls; one ball would be placed under each hand.

After trying this out, do you agree with me that using a Fitness Ball is more challenging than the regular?


Now that you know the basic position, you may want to take things up one step further. Adding variations is a good way to challenge yourself and better improve your muscles.

  • Single-arm

Assume the standard push-up position
Place one arm on the ball and the other on the floor.
Don’t switch your hands. This will let you focus on building strength on one arm. After some time, you could change hands and repeat.

  •  Alternating Medicine Ball Push-ups

Assume the regular position
Start with one hand on the ball
Do one Push-up
Carefully roll the ball the other hand
Place it on the ball
Do one push-up. Repeat.

This means that, if you start with your Right hand on the ball, for instance, do a push-up in this position; roll the ball to your Left hand; do another push-up and repeat the same thing.

In case you do not understand yet, the video will demonstrate the progression for you.

It is optional to roll the ball from one hand to the other. You could simply jump from left to right, changing the hand that would be on top of it, with the ball being stationary.

Medicine Ball Push-ups VS Regular Push-ups

Medicine Ball Push-ups VS Regular Push-ups

With all what you have learned about the Medicine Ball push-ups, do you think it is better than regular push-ups? Is there any difference?

Well, not really.

There is no much difference between between the two. It is just that the addition of the ball(s) makes the workout more vigorous.

And you know what? More vigorous workouts usually pay better and faster.
Both have their own ways of improving the body. Therefore, regular push-ups should not be ignored. There should be a balance between both.

In conclusion, what I have made you known is that, performing any of the two depends on your aim. Nevertheless, both are powerful.

Mistakes Beginners Make

Not warming up before starting

I have said this times without a number, warming up is an essential part of doing physical activities. You will often find me repeating this in most of my articles.

Sadly, many beginners do not see the need for warming up. “It is a waste of time,” many say. Why won’t you?

When you warm up, it is a way of telling your body that it is time for work. You get your heart running at a faster rate, get your muscles prepared, get your mind ready, get all of you in shape.

There really is no waste when we invest in warm-ups. It will cost us nothing.

It is recommended that before any exercise, you should do at least 5-10 minutes of warming up. You can do more if you want.
In relation to the Medicine Ball Push-ups, you could do regular push-ups to give yourself the feel of what you are about to do. You could also do general exercises with the ball to get acquainted with it.

Jog. Stretch. Squat. Do Mountain Climbers. Then take a rest for some minutes, and then start. It is easy – trust me.

Apart from other benefits, warming up is a trick for increasing your working out time schedule.

For instance, if you dedicate 30 minutes for doing work outs, and you add 5-10 more minutes for preparing yourself, at the end of the day, you would have done 35-40 minutes of exercises.

Guess what – the longer you exercise, the better and faster it is for you.

My challenge for you is to take warm-ups seriously. Don’t ever underestimate it.

Not taking it simple

A piece of advice that has been the slogan of many fitness coaches, is to always take it simple. This is the case especially if you are a beginner.

You should not be in a haste. Always start from the basics. Don’t switch to advanced Medicine Ball Push-ups on your first day of training. You may end up regretting your actions.

Some medicine ball push-up variations are best suited for the experienced. So ignore them till it is time. Before you know it, it would be time.

It is not time for you to make use of two balls – stick to one ball for now. In fact, I believe you should start with one hand on the ball and the other hand on the ground, before moving to doing both hands on the ball.

This way, although more tedious, you have a lower risk of making mistakes that could hurt you, because the other hand on the floor would be a good support.

When you get the hang of it, try more technical variations. The harder it gets, the more the result.

I must confess that I know how boring it is at the initial stage. Sometimes it feels as if you are not doing anything. But all this is for a reason.

Not following the protocol

I know this is the part many people do not want to read  🙂

Everyone likes freestyles, right? There is this nature in humans to do what pleases us, even if it will warrant breaking of the rules.

This should not be so.

If you have a coach, follow their directives. If you don’t have one, read this piece conscientiously and follow the guidelines religiously. It won’t cost you anything.

At least the beginning is not the right time to start breaking the rules even if you want to do freestyles.

P.S: I love freestyles too. 🙂

Wrapping it up

As you have seen, Medicine Ball Push-up is an interesting activity you should try out when next you visit the gym. If you can, get one in your house, so that you can always perform the exercise unrestrained.

Emma Ayo

Emma is the CEO of SimplyBioHealth. His passionate interest in living a healthy and fit lifestyle and improving living standard, drove him to creating this blog. Here, he shares only the fitness tips that work.