For most of us, medicine balls were just those disused heavy footballs in the corner of the PE cupboard at school. However if used correctly, as we've given guidance of below, they can be one of the most effective and inexpensive pieces of kit to strengthen and tone your whole body with.

They've also quickly become a modern gym-favourite, as bringing them into your workout can give amazing results for a huge range of muscle groups as well as adding resistance to your HIIT and cardio work. Here we've listed 10 incredible medicine ball exercises to start doing to get in shape.

Picking the right medicine ball weight

Before you begin using the medicine ball, you need to make sure you pick the right weight. The truth is there isn't a hard and fast rule for this, but a general guide to follow is to select a medicine ball weight which you can comfortably lift up above your head and down again ten times in successive controlled reps without having to stop. But after completing 10 reps you should feel fatigue in your arms. If it's too easy then try using a slightly heavier medicine ball.

So now you know how to pick the right weight of medicine ball and you've set up your exercise mat, the next step is finding out what exactly you could be doing with it.

Here is a simple guide for getting to grips with the ball for building strength, toning your body, improving cardiovascular fitness and boosting your mood.

Whichever area of your body you want to fix up, our medicine ball workout guide offers the remedy:

1. Russian twist with a medicine ball - core

This is an image of a fitness model demonstrating the Russian twist exercise with a medicine ball

This exercise, which sounds like a cocktail, is a fantastic way to mix up your workout to build different abdominal muscles and strengthen your core.

To complete this exercise, sit on a mat with your legs out in front of you and knees slightly bent. Lean back at a 45-degree angle to flex your core and hold your medicine ball up to your chest. Twist your body and move the medicine ball to the side keeping your core engaged. Twist each way for between 10 and 20 reps per side. You’ll soon feel the burn.

2. Reaching Romanian deadlift - legs

This is an image of a fitness model demonstrating a reaching romanian deadlift with a mirafit medicine ball

Our world tour of medicine ball exercises continues with the reaching Romanian deadlift which requires balance, core strength and focus. Building this into your workout routine is worth doing as the improvements you can make in these areas is transformative.

Stand on your right leg, holding your medicine ball with both hands. Bend your right knee slightly and lean your body forward, hinging at the waist, pushing your left leg out straight behind you. While holding the medicine ball, extend your arms out in front of your head and straighten your right leg so that your body resembles a ‘T’ shape with your weight solely on your right leg. Return both feet to the floor and stand up straight in a controlled manner. Repeat several reps before switching legs.

3. Rolling push-up - chest, back

This is an animated image of a fitness model demonstrating a rolling push-up with a mirafit medicine ball

A great way to add variety to the standard push up and improve the impact of the upper body exercise is to use the shape of a medicine ball to your advantage and roll it between your arms between body-lifts.

To execute this, get into the normal press up (high plank) position and place one hand on the medicine ball which lies between your shoulder and the mat. With most of your weight on the standing hand, complete a press up. Once your body is raised again, roll the ball to your other hand and repeat.

4. Medicine ball thruster - legs, arms, shoulders

This is an animated image of a squat thruster exercise with a Mirafit medicine ball

This exercise works the whole body, with emphasis on legs, shoulders and core.

Begin by holding your medicine ball in front of your chest and drop into a squat position, knees bent, back straight, medicine ball against your chest. Then push up straight and stretch your arms up high above your head holding the medicine ball towards the sky. Repeat several times as part of a high-intensity fitness workout.

5. Wall ball - full body

This is a still image of a fitness model demonstrating wall ball with a Mirafit medicine ball

A fantastic exercise which requires concentration, strength, mobility and a room with high ceilings – wall ball is a brilliant way to get fit while building muscle.

To complete this exercise, stand a couple of steps back from the wall, holding the medicine ball against your chest. Bend your knees before exploding upwards and throwing the medicine ball up over a marker on the wall. Either let the ball drop to the floor and repeat the exercise or try to catch the ball, bending your knees to absorb the impact and repeat. This exercise helps increase your explosive power and balance. Set the marker higher up on the wall for a greater challenge.

6. Triceps extension - triceps, back

This is an animated image of a fitness model demonstrating the tricep extension exercise with a Mirafit medicine ball

Stand in a comfortable stance or sit in a tall chair and keep your back straight with your core tensed. Lift the medicine ball up above your head with both hands so that your arms are just a little bit bent up above your head. Next bend your elbows, lowering the medicine ball behind your head slowly. Reverse the move until the medicine ball is back in front of you. Repeat for several reps.

7. Weighted superman - hamstrings, back, shoulders

This is an animated image of the weighted superman exercise with a Mirafit medicine ball

This one’s tough.

Lay flat on the floor facing downwards, holding a lightweight medicine ball out above your head, arms straight. Slowly raise your chin and chest up off the floor while simultaneously lifting your legs off the ground, keeping them straight. Lift your arms above the ground too, pushing your shoulder blades down your back. Hold the position for a few seconds before releasing and lying flat again. Remember to rest in-between repetitions, which should be easy enough as you’re already laying down.

8. Medicine ball HIIT routines - fitness, strength, mood

This is an animated image of a fitness model demonstrating the mountain climbers high intensity interval exercise with a Mirafit medicine ball

Ever thought your high-intensity interval training routine is great but just not difficult enough? We guarantee that won’t be an issue at all if you integrate a medicine ball into your HIIT.

Most high intensity moves have a variation which involves weights – or in this case the ball - such as squatting while holding the medicine ball in front of your chest or mountain climbers with your weight over the medicine ball, thus raising your body higher. Check out our high intensity interval training workout for exercises which can be adapted to include medicine balls.

9. Wood choppers - legs, core, explosive power

This is an animated image of a fitness model demonstrating the woodchoppers exercise with a Mirafit medicine ball

If your current core routine just isn’t cutting it, build the wood choppers move in using the medicine ball to work your abs, accelerate your twisting and improve power in your legs.

For this move you should start standing up with the medicine ball by your chest. Hold the ball in both hands and bring it up over your left shoulder so that it is next to your head. Then bring the ball across your body and down to your feet, bending into the squat position, so that the medicine ball is to the right-hand side of your feet, just off the floor. Repeat quickly for 40 seconds and give yourself a 20 second rest. Switch sides to work both sides of your torso.

10. Medicine ball lunge and twist - legs, chest, shoulders

This is an animated image of a fitness model demonstrating the lunge and twist exercise with a Mirafit medicine ball

A simple exercise which can have a big impact on your body.

Stand up tall and hold the medicine ball with both hands at chest level. Step your left leg forward into a lunge, kneeling with your left leg and bending the right knee down towards the ground. As you step, extend your arms straight out in front of your chest, holding the medicine ball. Twist your body towards your left-hand side, keeping your arms straight and parallel to the ground. Return to a forward-facing position and step backwards out of the lunge. Switch sides with successive lunges.  

Take a look at Mirafit’s range of stitched medicine balls, available in various sizes.