Wall Ball Exercises That Work Your Entire Body
Wall ball exercises are a staple in strength training workouts, like CrossFit. Fitness enthusiasts claim that wall ball exercises boost your strength, challenge your balance, and increase your coordination. Because these exercises are a full-body workout, you are sure to feel each part of your body working.
If you are up for a challenge, then we dare you to take the wall ball challenge. Read on to know how to incorporate wall ball exercises into your fitness regime today.
What Are Wall Ball Exercises?
This type of exercises engage many muscles at once and is a compound, high energy workout that involves your body, a wall, and a ball.
Many wall ball moves combine a lower-body move such as squat, a lunge, or a side shuffle with a ball throw—making it a full-body exercise with a high cardiovascular demand . You have the option to focus on specific muscle groups depending on how you throw and catch the ball (keep reading for wall ball exercise variations).
Wall balls come in a range of weight options, for example; you can find five to twenty pounds balls. Pick out a wall ball based on your body size and the type of wall ball exercise you are doing. Choose lighter balls for speed training and heavier balls for power and strength training.
There are two different types of balls to choose from: one is rubbery and bounces a lot, and the other larger, softer ball bounce less. Each wall ball typically has a padded outside layer so that you can catch them easily.
Note that wall ball exercises are different from stability ball exercises. Stability ball exercises involve a large, inflatable ball that you sit on, while wall ball exercises use a smaller ball that you throw.
How to Do a Wall Ball Exercise
Although there are many different wall ball exercises, the following is a tried-and-true wall ball movement designed to hit many muscles at once.
- Stand about two feet in front of a wall with your feet hip-width apart. Keep the wall ball between your hands at chest height. Squeeze your elbows into your sides.
- Sink into a squat until the crease of your hip is at or below your knees. Descend as low as you can, while maintaining a neutral arch in your spine. Keep the ball close to your chest on the way down.
- Keeping your chest up, push your body away from the floor and throw the ball at the wall, aiming for a spot about eight feet off the ground.
- Catch the ball following contact with the wall and sink back into your next squat.
- Repeat the exercise.
Wall Ball Exercise Benefits
“Wall ball exercises are excellent additions to your fitness arsenal,” says Alison Heilig, a CrossFit coach, and NASM-certified personal trainer.
Here are just a handful of reasons why we agree with Heilig.
- Full Body Muscle Engagement-It’s pretty tough to find a wall ball exercise that doesn’t work for multiple major muscle groups. Most of combine upper and lower body movements, “and work basically your entire body in one compound movement,” Heilig says. You can build strength in your shoulders, core, chest, arms, glutes, and legs in a single rep.
- Power Builder- Wall ball exercises are a great way to add some explosive power to your training, says Holly Janiszewski, a Minneapolis-based personal trainer and founder of Holly J Fitness. There is a difference between power and strength in fitness. Power is force (strength) in combination of speed. You have to generate a significant amount of force to slam the medicine ball against the wall. Over time, you may notice an increase in your power that allows you to throw the ball harder and faster.
- They Boost your Heart Rate- As wall ball exercises recruit an impressive number of muscle groups. These exercises get you sweaty and breathless. Add them to a HIIT or circuit training routine to jack up your heart rate. You can create more of a cardio focus by choosing a lighter ball that you can throw for higher reps at a fast pace, Heilig says.
- Balance and Coordination Builder- No matter which variation you choose, wall ball exercises can help you develop greater balance and coordination. To perform any wall ball exercise, you need to coordinate your mind and body.
Wall Ball Exercise Variations
Wall ball exercise variations are a sure way to beat exercise boredom. Check out the following wall ball exercises that are less than basic.
1. Standing Chest Pass
To focus more on your shoulders, chest, and arms, try the standing chest pass.
- Stand at least three feet away from the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart (soften your knees to protect your joints). Hold the a soft wall ball between your hands at chest height.
- Engage your core and press down into the floor with your feet. Explosively throw the wall ball into the wall as hard as possible and catch it on its return.
- Continue to throw the ball back and forth repeatedly for reps.
2. Chest Pass with Lateral Shuffle
Not only does this exercise work your shoulders, chest, and arms, it also spikes your heart rate with quick, lateral movements.
- Follow the same instructions for the chest pass, but shuffle laterally from side-to- side (about 5 yards) as you throw the ball against the wall. So, throw, shuffle, throw shuffle.
3. Wall Ball Side Slam
As you slam the ball against the wall, your rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle) and obliques (muscles responsible for twisting your torso) will engage.
- Stand sideways with your left shoulder a little more than arms-length away from a wall. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a wall ball with both hands at chest height and extend your arms out in front of you. Soften your elbows.
- Keeping your elbows softly bent and the ball at belly height, twist your torso away from the wall toward the center of the room. Then, turn your torso quickly back toward the wall to throw the ball against the wall as hard as possible.
- Catch the ball on the rebound and repeat continuously for the assigned rep count. Turn and repeat the drill on the other side.
4. Split-Stance Lateral Toss
The split stance lateral toss exercise targets multiple major muscle groups (shoulders, core, chest, arms, glutes, and legs), while building your balance.
- Hold a wall ball with both hands at your chest and stand sideways about arms-length away from a wall. Come into a split-leg, lunge with both of your legs bent to 90 degrees. With your right shoulder parallel to the wall, step your left foot forward and your right foot back. Track your front knee vertically over your shin. Hover your back knee above the floor.
- Bring the ball to your outside hip, then twist your torso and toss the ball against the wall as hard as possible.
- Catch the ball on the rebound and immediately bring it back to your outside hip. Repeat for reps, then repeat the drill with your right shoulder turned towards the wall.
Wall ball exercises are tough, but they’re also fun— especially if you need to blow off some steam after a frustrating day. Try out any variation at the end of a bad week, and you’ll see what we mean.