It's small but packs a big punch. A medicine ball is a weighted ball used to whip your body into shape, without taking up much space. It's similar to standard weights, but with the medicine ball you only need one to get in a full workout. If you're a fitness newbie, start with a 4-pounder (sold at most sports stores). Advanced fitness junkies may choose to use a 20-pound ball.
Dr. Rick Kattouf, author of "Forever Fit," is a triathlon and conditioning coach based in South Carolina. Here he shares his favorite medicine ball exercises. Do each exercise 10 times. Gradually work up to doing each one 25 times.
Squat to shoulder press
Beginning in a standing position, hold the medicine ball at chest level. Squat, trying to drop your buttocks as low as possible, keeping your heels on the ground. Then, stand up and raise the medicine ball directly over your head. Bring the medicine ball back to your chest and repeat.
Muscles worked: quadriceps, glutes, triceps, shoulders
Stand and hold the medicine ball at chest level. Squat as low as possible while keeping your heels on the ground. Jump off the ground as high as you can. When you land, you want to immediately drop back into the squat position. This is designed to be a very fast-paced, rapid-fire exercise.
Muscles worked: quadriceps, glutes
Straight-leg dead lift
In a standing position, lift the medicine ball above your head, keeping your arms extended. Bend forward from your waist as if you are trying to touch your toes. As you bend forward, keep your arms extended while holding the medicine ball and bringing the ball toward your feet. Keep your knees slightly bent the entire time. When the ball hits your feet or the floor, return to your original standing position, maintaining the full extension of your arms overhead.
Muscles worked: hamstrings, shoulders