Cardio Ball Blast is an excellent 30 minute cardio/core workout from Jessica Smith. And it is free on YouTube! This workout ended up being more intense than I expected and I really liked it a lot. Like all of Jessica’s workouts that I have done so far, she shows several different levels for each exercise, so you can make this workout as intense as you need it to be. Jessica used a playground ball–so very light. She recommends that if you use a medicine ball to go no heavier than 5 pounds. I own several medicine balls, including a 4 and a 6 pound ball. I also own a pilates ball. My pilates ball just looks like a tiny stability ball–the size of a volley ball–and it is just filled with air so very light; btw, my pilates ball looks exactly like the ball Jessica was using. I had my pilates ball and my 4 and 6 pound medicine balls setting in front of me. I never did use my pilates ball. I started the workout with the 4 pound medicine ball and that was quite enough for the majority of the workout! Though there is some impact in this workout it is not plyometric, and Jessica shows modifications to make it low impact if that is what you need. A lot of the intensity in this workout is from arm movements with the ball. And using a 4 pound ball really jacked my heart rate up there. For a few of the moves I had to use one 8 pound dumbbell. Here is why–I have chronic wrist problems that flare up intermittently and over the years I have received different diagnosis. The current diagnosis is due to X-Rays–my thumb joints are degenerating (WTF? I am only 46! Thumb arthritis?!?!) and I am having a flare up right now, so when Jessica has you pass the ball under your legs during lunges or knee raises, gripping a 4 pound medicine ball in one hand while maneuvering it like that hurt my thumb joints. So this problem is unique to me. It probably wouldn’t have hurt with the pilates ball because it is nearly weightless and a little squishy, but I wanted to keep the workout intense, so for those moves, I swapped out an 8 pound dumbbell which I can grip differently (no pressure or awkward wrist angle) and didn’t cause me pain. So do what works for you. I’m just sharing why I had to use a variety of equipment. Jessica used her playground/pilates ball and nothing else. For me, 4 pounds was sufficient for the cardio due to the speed of all of the arm movements. But the standing abs at the end was done slower so I needed something heavier. I really like my 6 pound medicine ball because it has handles so I used that and it was perfect for the standing abs.
Peanut is also present! She is sitting on a pink mat or rug looking super cute while enjoying chewing on a bone, making the workout that much more enjoyable for me.
Cardio Ball Blast is 30:30 minutes long; the intro is nearly a minute long, not sure when the warm up ended but the cardio ball portion of the workouts is 24 minutes long and standing abs w/ ball is 4:30 minutes long. It ends w/ a 1 minute stretch (also using the ball if you want). Equipment needed: a ball. As mentioned above, I used a 4 pound medicine ball for the cardio + one 8 pound dumbbell and a 6 pound medicine ball for the standing abs.
For the cardio portion I will list the moves below. Jessica starts every move at the lowest level then builds it up to the most advanced level. I won’t be describing every single level below. You can keep this workout at whatever intensity level works for you. You are holding the ball with both hands the majority of the workout unless it states otherwise in the exercise description. And the movements with the ball are large movements–not small.
- Stepping side to side, bring the ball side to side (from hip to hip); this changes to arching it up and over head like a rainbow but bringing it to hip level at bottom; stepping changes to hamstring curls while chopping the ball to each hip; changes to squats w/ chops; chops change to figure 8s; stay in squat and continue doing the figure 8 arms while pulsing in squat
- Alternating front knees while chopping ball from overhead to hips; knees change to high knee skips
- Alternating side squat while chopping ball to side; this changes to staying in squat and jumping side to side, still chopping ball
- Side lunge side to side while figure 8ing the ball
- Pivot hips side to side w/ wood chops; pivots change to lunges (standing then pivot into a lunge w/ wood chops from shoulder to down by calf)
- Do #4 again
- Chop squat (raising ball overhead then squatting and bring ball down between legs); this changes to a squat jack with same ball movement
- L step while arcing ball over head
- Hamstring curl while chopping the ball from overhead to hips
- Chop squat/squat jack
- Repeat #8-10
- V step while twisting ball side to side
- Alternating rear lunges while passing ball under thigh (I used an 8# DB for this)
- Repeat #12 & 13
- Alternating knee raises, passing ball under knee (I used an 8# DB for this)
- Jumping jacks pushing ball overhead; changes to scissor jacks pushing the ball in front of you; you alternate between these two jacks
- Step side to side w/ figure 8 (this is the cool down)
- Put all your weight on left leg, hold ball in right hand, arm raised overhead; pull up right knee while pulling down right arm, tapping knee to elbow
- Wood chops (chop to one side while squatting then stand, pivoting and bringing ball overhead/shoulder to other side of body)
- Holding ball in both hands, weight is on left leg again, twist torso while raising right knee, tapping left elbow to right knee
- Repeat 1-3 on other side of body