This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
This torso-busting exercise unpacks the squat thrust into a new, more challenging form by using a medicine ball as both a weight and a pivot. Pop back out of a squat to a push-up position with your hands on the ball, and then throw the ball at a wall to take your chest and shoulders to the edge.
Stand upright facing a wall at a distance of five or six feet, with a medicine ball held in both hands. Your hands should be at chest level, and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, lower the medicine ball to the floor by pushing your hips back in a squat. Keep your back flat and close your hip angle. Keep the majority of your weight back on your heels while still applying pressure through the balls of your feet. As you descend, lower the ball until it rests on the floor in front of your feet, with your hands curved over the top (see Photos 2 and 3).
- Keeping your hands on top of the ball and your shoulders directly above your hands, pop your feet back behind you into a plank, or push-up, position. Your back should be flat and your abs engaged to keep your hips from dropping toward the floor. In the plank position, your feet should be shoulder-width apart (see Photo 4).
- From the plank position, engage your abs and thrust through your legs to jump back up to the squat position. Your shoulders should stay over the ball as you complete this motion, which will bring you back to the squat, with the ball still on the floor (see Photos 5 and 6).
- From the squat, open your hip angle and straighten your legs to return to standing, keeping your back flat as you rise, and bringing the medicine ball off the floor in your hands until you return to the starting position (see Photos 7 and 8).
- From the starting position once again, throw the medicine ball at the wall and catch it as it bounces back to you. Extend your arms and push through your shoulder to throw; bend your elbows as you catch the ball (see Photos 9 and 10).
- You will now once again be at the starting position. Repeat the squat-plank-toss sequence for a total of 12 repetitions.