In the world of health and fitness, there are new trends and techniques around the corner all the time. With this constant influx of new training tools and gear, it can be confusing to understand which equipment is worth investing in.
However, slam ball might just live up to their hype given how easy, versatile, and effective they are.
Now, I’m not saying that slam balls are a must-have for anyone who likes to work out because frankly, people are very different, and depending on your workout style, you might not love them.
That being said, if you want to add some extra “oomph” to your workouts and give your entire body more strength, slam balls are an excellent incorporation for beginners and seasoned gym-goers alike.
What is a slam ball?
Let’s start out with the basics: What is a slam ball? You may not have heard the word slam ball before, as there are different types of exercise balls which are known under different names. The medicine ball is usually the most commonly known one of them all.
In general, a slam ball is similar to a medicine ball, since it is a weighted, rubber-coated ball used in exercises. However, they have thicker surfaces than medicine balls, making them ideal for high-impact throwing exercises.
Because of that, slam balls are better suited for intense workouts than medicine balls.
However, you should not confuse slam balls with stability balls, since they are very different. Stability balls are used – as the name suggests – to train your stability and they are usually very bouncy and light. Slam balls are the exact opposite of that.
Three types of exercise balls
There are three different types of exercise balls: medicine balls, wall balls, and slam balls. But what’s the difference?
A medicine ball is a weighted fitness ball that is typically made of leather or rubber and ranges in weight from 1 to 20 kilograms or more.
Medicine balls come in different sizes and weights, allowing individuals of all fitness levels and abilities to use them for their workouts.
They can be used for a variety of exercises such as squats, lunges, twists, throws, and catches.
But the gym is not the only place you will find them. Medicine balls are also used in rehabilitation and physical therapy programs as they can help improve mobility, flexibility, and coordination.
They are a popular tool in many group fitness classes such as circuit training and boot camps.
A wall ball is a type of medicine ball that is specifically designed for throwing against a wall or target. It is typically made of a durable rubber outer shell with an inner filling of sand or other weighted materials.
Wall balls come in various sizes and weights, but are commonly around 14 inches in diameter and weigh between 3 to 10 pounds.
They are often used in CrossFit workouts and other high-intensity training programs, as they provide a full-body workout that challenges both strength and cardiovascular endurance.
The great thing about using a wall ball is that it is great for developing explosive power and coordination, something that regular gym workouts don’t always target.
Another huge plus is that these exercises are amazing at training your core since you need a lot of core stability in order to catch and throw a heavy ball.
To use a wall ball, the athlete stands facing a wall or target and throws the ball with both hands, aiming to hit a specific target or spot on the wall.
The ball is then caught and returned to the starting position for the next repetition.
Slam balls aren’t much different from the exercise balls we already mentioned. However, they are made of heavy-duty rubber and designed for high-impact exercises.
Your typical slam ball weighs between 3 kg and 50 kg.
In general, slam ball exercises involve throwing the ball onto the ground as hard as possible.
Just like the wall ball, this builds explosive power, trains the fast-twitch muscle fibers, and doesn’t just build up cardiovascular endurance, but muscular endurance, as well.
Slam ball benefits and muscles worked
Slam balls are popular with athletes worldwide, and for good reason! These exercise balls have various benefits, including:
They Improve Strength
Slam balls are a great tool for building overall strength and power. The explosive nature of slamming the ball on the ground engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, shoulders, triceps, pecs, and back, helping to develop functional strength.
Functional strength is great since it helps an athlete to be more flexible with their strength and use it in different ways, not just during one single movement at a machine.
Plus, the added muscle mass from this kind of resistance training will lead to a faster metabolism and less body fat, which is always an advantage.
They Increase Cardiovascular Endurance
Slamming the ball repeatedly with high intensity raises the heart rate and helps to improve cardiovascular endurance, making it a great addition to HIIT or circuit training workouts.
Over time, you will notice that you can go long periods of time without rest, indicating that your cardiovascular endurance and your muscle endurance have improved.
Endurance is crucial since it can help to prevent cardiovascular diseases and keep you fit and active as you age.
They Enhance Coordination and Balance
The instability of the slam ball requires coordination and balance to perform the exercises correctly, helping to improve overall athleticism and body control. Over time, the more coordination and balance you have, the easier it will be for you to prevent injuries.
They Burn a Lot of Calories
The high-intensity nature of slam ball exercises makes them a great calorie-burning workout, helping to reduce body fat and improve overall body composition. Not only will you be burning calories as you do the workout, but the increase in muscle mass will lead to an acceleration in your metabolism.
They are a Versatile Workout Tool:
Slam balls can be used for a wide range of exercises, from basic slams and throw to more complex movements such as lunges and Russian twists, making them a versatile addition to any workout routine. Oftentimes, the best tools are the most simple ones!
Who should use slam balls?
When it comes to who should use slam balls, there really isn’t a specific demographic that would benefit the most from it. In general, slam balls are great for anyone who is already working out or wants to start, and has the ability to do high-intensity workouts.
Slam balls offer a unique challenge to traditional weightlifting – and the best part about them? They can help break through plateaus in strength training!
If you have been going to the gym for a while, you know that there comes a time when you hit a plateau with your progress. Oftentimes, it helps to switch things up a bit and also bring in more high-intensity training. Slam balls do exactly that.
They also provide an excellent way to increase explosiveness and power, which is beneficial for athletes in sports like basketball or football.
Incorporating slam balls into your routine can help improve your coordination and balance, as well as provide a fun and engaging way to switch up your workouts, so there really is no reason not to give it a try!
A little disclaimer: When using slam balls, it’s important to maintain proper form and start with a lighter weight before progressing to heavier weights to avoid injury. This brings us to our next point:
What to avoid when using slam balls
When you are using slam balls, you don’t want to slam the ball on an unstable surface, since that can cause the ball to bounce in unpredictable directions.
Of course, you should focus on using a ball that is the right weight for you – don’t use a ball that is too heavy since that can lead to injuries.
Just think about it: When you throw and catch a ball that is too heavy, you will likely not have proper form and are at a higher risk of hurting yourself.
Speaking of proper form – don’t let your back “round” during the slam. Instead, try to maintain a neutral spine position to protect your body and avoid injuries.
Another mistake people seem to make a lot is that they only use their arms when performing an exercise with the slam ball. Remember, these are full-body exercises – your core and legs should do some work, too.
Lastly, don’t hold the ball too close to your body, as this can put unnecessary strain on your back and shoulders.
All in all, there isn’t too much you can do wrong when doing exercises with a slam ball, simply focus on good form and posture and you will be okay!
What to consider when buying a slam ball?
So, you’ve read all this and are ready to buy your own slam ball now. Where do you start?
Here are a few things you should consider when purchasing a slam ball:
Choose a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level and goals. As mentioned earlier, you don’t want this to be so heavy that you injure yourself.
Look for a slam ball made of durable, high-quality materials that can withstand repeated slamming. Sure – slam balls are made for that, but you will find great differences in quality depending on which brand you opt for.
Make sure the slam ball has a textured surface that provides a good grip, even when your hands are sweaty. This one is self-explanatory – you don’t want this heavy ball to go flying in a different direction than what you intended.
Consider the size of the slam ball, as a larger ball may be more difficult to handle for some people.
Look for a slam ball that doesn’t bounce too much, as this can increase the risk of injury and make exercises more difficult.
Consider the price of the slam ball, since some brands may be more expensive than others for no reason. However, in some cases you might get higher quality, so try to find a good balance between cost and value.
What are some slam ball exercises?
- Slams: Pick up the slam ball and raise it overhead, then slam it down onto the ground as hard as possible.
- Ball toss: With a partner, toss the ball back and forth while incorporating movements like lunges or squats.
- Sit-up throws: Perform a sit-up with the slam ball, and when you reach the top, throw the ball against a wall or to a partner.
- Overhead slams: Holding the ball overhead, slam it down onto the ground with as much force as possible.
- Squat jumps: Hold the ball at chest level and perform squat jumps, exploding up and pressing the ball overhead at the top of each jump.
- Bulgarian squats: Hold the slam ball at chest level and stand in front of a bench or step. Place one foot on the bench and squat down with the other leg, keeping the ball close to your chest. Return to a standing position and repeat on the other side.
- Bear crawls: Place the slam ball on the ground and get into a bear crawl position, using your hands and feet to move forward and backwards. Add a challenge by lifting the ball with your hands and placing it a few feet in front of you, then crawling to the ball and repeating.
- Burpee slams: Perform a burpee by dropping down to the ground and kicking your feet back, then immediately stand up and lift the slam ball overhead before slamming it down onto the ground. Repeat the sequence, moving quickly for a cardio-focused workout.
Best slam balls for beginners
If you are a beginner, a 6-8 kg slam ball is probably a good starting weight for you.
Especially when just starting out with that equipment, look for slam balls with a non-slip surface for a secure grip during exercises.
As we mentioned earlier, do your best to choose a slam ball made with durable materials to ensure it lasts through intense workouts. The last thing you want is to have to find a new one right after buying one.
And since you won’t be a beginner for long, consider purchasing a set of different weights to progress and challenge yourself as you improve. Progressive overload is important if you want to see progress.
Slam Ball workout
Now that you have all this information, it’s time to get moving and do your own workout!
3 rounds of:
- 10 ball tosses
- 10 squats with overhead press
- 10 sit-up throws
- Rest for 1 minute between rounds
4 rounds of:
- 10 burpee slams
- 10 Bulgarian squats (each leg)
- 10 slam ball slams
- Rest for 30 seconds between rounds
Resistance training workout
3 rounds of:
- 10 slam ball squats
- 10 slam ball lunges (each leg)
- 10 bear crawls with ball drag
- Rest for 1 minute between rounds
Complete the following circuit for 3 rounds:
- 10 slam ball burpees
- 20 slam ball squats
- 30 seconds of slam ball slams
- 30 seconds of rest
- 30 seconds of ball tosses (with a partner or against a wall)
- 10 slam ball sit-up throws
- 30 seconds of bear crawls
- 30 seconds of rest
- Cool down with 5-10 minutes of stretching.
After reading all of this information, you probably agree that slam balls are an excellent addition to any workout routine. They are ideal for improving power, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.
These exercise balls are designed for high-impact exercises such as throws and slams so that you really don’t have to hold back when working out with them.
Fortunately, they come in a range of weights to suit different fitness levels and sizes and they can be used for a variety of exercises, including burpees, squats, and bear crawls.
No matter if it becomes a daily thing or something you do once a week, incorporating slam balls into your workout routine can help challenge your muscles in new ways.
Not only will this make you healthier overall, but this can also lead to a more effective achievement of your fitness goals.
What are slam ball exercises good for?
Slam balls have a variety of benefits, including:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Full-body workout
- Improved power and explosiveness
- Core strength
- Increased calorie burn
What weight slam ball should I start with?
As a beginner, you should start with a 10-15 pound slam ball. If you are intermediate, a 20-25 pound slam ball will be good, and as an advanced athlete, you can try out 30-40 pound slam balls and see if they fit well for you!