Fit Friday: Add medicine ball to your workout

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. In this week's Fit Friday, we're adding a new piece of equipment to your home workout arsenal: a medicine ball. Trainer Jay Johnson shows a toning exercise for you core, in a workout at the Ward YMCA downtown.

Johnson says, before buying a medicine ball, pick a weight that will allow you to do about 50 reps of an exercise. If you can't do 50 reps, drop down a weight. If it seems too easy, buy a heavier ball. He estimates it costs about $2 a pound for a medicine ball. So, a 10-pound one would be around $20.

Start in a crunch position on the floor with your knees bent and you abs tight. Keep your back straight and start with the medicine ball in front of you. Then bend side to side with your arms straight while holding the ball. You want to focus on slow, stable movements to keep your core muscles engaged.

If you want a bigger challenge, you can do push-ups with a medicine ball, while rolling it from one hand to hand after each push up. You can also do a modified plank. Johnson says you can do that by putting your hands on the ball and keeping your back and butt flat in the plank position, or by placing your hands on the floor and putting your feet/toes on the medicine ball. You will have to work more to keep your balance, which strengthens those core muscles. Hold it for as long as you can!

You can find Jay Johnson at the Ward YMCA in downtown Springfield. He's a certified instructor for the Les Mills' Body Combat and Body Pump classes.