Slam balls are weighted balls that offer a variety of exercises for both strength and cardio workouts. Varying in weight from light (around 4 pounds) to heavy (60 pounds), these balls can provide fun, versatile exercises for beginners.
Advice for Beginners
Slam ball exercises can be a lot of fun and reminiscent of playing as a child, but it's important to control the movements and brace your core throughout the slam ball exercises to protect the lower back. For standing movements, keep the knees soft and not locked and control your breathing to avoid holding your breath. As with any other weighted exercise, if something hurts (as opposed to feeling challenged and fatigue) it's important to stop to avoid injury.
While slam balls offer myriad exercises for more advanced fitness enthusiasts, beginners should start with simple movements to acquaint themselves with working with slam balls before moving on to more advanced moves. Try the exercises listed below with light weights before increasing the weight or trying more difficult moves.
Start with 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest for each exercise. Take more rest time if you need it to slow your breathing and bring your heart rate back down. Try to do three sets of 30 seconds for each exercise for a total of around 20 minutes total for your workout including a warm up and cool down. For a longer workout, go through it twice or make your intervals longer.
A fun, aggressive exercise, slam ball slams challenge your cardiovascular ability.
- Hold the ball in both hands in front of you, palms facing inward.
- Lift the ball over your head, keeping your arms straight.
- Exhale forcefully as you bend at the knees and slam the ball to the ground; take care to not hit your toes and to not bend over (allow your legs to do the work - not your back).
- In this squatted position, retrieve the ball from the ground and repeat.
This is a strength exercise that challenges your lower body. The isometric hold takes a great deal of strength to maintain.
- Stand with your back to a wall. The weighted ball should be hugged to your chest, or if you're ready for a bigger challenge, extend the arms in front of you and hold.
- Bend your knees to drop down to where your upper legs are parallel to the ground.
- Push your shoulders into the wall while still maintaining the hold on the ball, keeping your legs in position. Hold this posture for 30 seconds.
Rolling Push Up
If push ups aren't doable yet, do this exercise on your knees while squeezing your core muscles.
- From a push up position (on knees or toes), place one hand on the ball.
- Do one push up, then roll the ball to the other hand. Repeat, alternating which hand has the ball underneath.
- If the push ups prove too challenging from the knee position, skip the push up and make it a rolling plank (from knees or toes).
Not only are shoulders challenged with this exercise, but core muscles need to fire up to keep you stabilized in the standing position.
- Hold the ball in your hands in front of you, palms facing inward.
- Push the ball overhead, then slowly return it to the original position. Repeat.
Increase your arm strength with this exercise that can be done either standing or seated.
- Hold the ball in front of you, palms underneath or to the side of the ball.
- Bend your elbows to bring the ball to your chest, then slowly return to your beginning position and repeat.
Keep your weight in your heels to protect your knees during this movement.
- Holding the ball with two hands, drop into a squat. Keep your chest up and your shoulders relaxed.
- Squeeze your glutes as you return to a standing position. Repeat with another squat.
- For bonus pectoral work, squeeze the ball by pushing both palms into the ball as you do your squat.
The Real Slam Ball
Slam balls and medicine balls aren't necessarily identical. In fact, take care to ensure the weighted ball you use doesn't have any bounce to it. Otherwise, your slams might smack you in the face. As you progress in your fitness, use heavier slam balls and push the duration of your exercises out longer.