Training29th August 2019

Tutorial: medicine ball tornado

The medicine ball tornado is a high-intensity exercise that will increase core stability and balance for fitness and performance. This is our last tutorial of the month.


  • The medicine ball tornado is a challenging whole-body exercise with a particular focus on core stability and balance.
  • The medicine ball tornado can also be performed using a dumbbell, kettlebell, or even without weight.


  • Grab a suitable weight medicine ball. As a guideline, aim for 5% of your body weight. Remember this is about developing strength-endurance, not just absolute strength. You should be thinking about quick controlled movements.
  • Sit on a mat with knees bent and hold the medicine ball in front of you. Engage the core and set the shoulders. Lift the feet off the floor a few inches and find your balance.
  • Start rotating the torso left to right, touching the medicine ball to the floor each side. As you turn one way, allow the knees to move the opposite direction to keep your balance. Find a rhythm and maintain a fast pace. This is one medicine ball tornado. Now, repeat for reps or time.
  • The exercise can be modified for beginners by keeping the feet on the ground.


  • When we view traditional abdominal exercises such as the crunches, side bends, or chops, we can see that the core is usually working in one plane only. In the medicine ball tornado, all three planes of motion are being challenged – front to back, side to side and rotation. The use of all planes of movement make this a challenging exercise, and when combined with speed, will often raise the heart rate more than traditional abdominal exercises.
  • Alongside the multiplanar challenge, there is also a significant balance requirement. Having the feet off the ground provides just a single point of contact on the ground. When you add a load that is moving outside of this contact point, it places increased demands on the core muscles. Because of this, don’t be surprised if this seemingly simple exercise causes you to fatigue quickly. As the core muscles develop strength-endurance, your stamina will improve.

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