How to Differentiate Between a Slam, Wall and Medicine Ball

Discover the differences between these three types of weighted workout accessories.

Sometimes a dumbbell or kettlebell just won’t work for an exercise. Imagine doing a chest pass where you throw a free weight to your partner. These can be too awkward to grip or use for some exercises. Instead, put a spin on your routine with a workout ball. But which one should you choose?

Slam balls, wall balls and medicine balls are slightly different from one another. Each can serve certain training purposes within a workout. So, when should you go for a slam ball versus a medicine ball or even a wall ball?

Using this breakdown, you can better identify the right equipment for your routine.

THE SIMILARITIES

Before you begin, it’s important to know the fundamental characteristics of weighted balls. This can help you better understand when to use each one over other equipment options.

  • Slam, wall and medicine balls can vary by weight and size. Smaller ones can be a little larger than a softball. Larger options can roughly be the size of an inflatable beach ball. The balls can vary in weight from two to 50 pounds but commonly weigh between five and 20 pounds.
  • Workout balls are available in different textured surfaces to help improve grip.
  • Weighted balls can also be a great addition to partner workouts.

THE DIFFERENCES

It’s important that you can differentiate the three workout ball styles. You don’t want to damage your equipment while doing exercises that aren’t suited for it.

WHAT IS A SLAM BALL?

The design of a slam ball allows it to be used for throwing exercises. The no-bounce, heavy-duty rubber shell gives it durability that softens the impact. This is so the ball won’t bounce back or break when thrown. Slam balls are versatile and can be used for most medicine ball exercises. The slam ball encourages you to use your full body as you throw. This can help improve core strength and explosiveness.

The durability makes a slam ball great for exercises, such as:

  • Overhead slams
  • Broad jump to passes
  • Lateral throws
  • Chest passes
  • Squat throws
WHAT IS A WALL BALL?

Wall balls are also used in throwing exercises but should only be thrown at a wall. Walls balls feature a durable shell that can help maintain its shape. The wall ball is typically the largest of the three weighted balls.

Wall balls are for exercises directed toward a sturdy wall, such as:

  • Side throws
  • Crunch throws
  • Overhead wall ball tosses
WHAT IS A MEDICINE BALL?

Normally, medicine balls come in a larger variety of designs. These workout accessories are commonly abbreviated to “med balls” or “MBs.” Many med balls are made of leather, rubber, vinyl or plastic. You can also find some options featuring handles to help you with easier gripping. Unlike slam balls, med balls should not be thrown to the ground. They can potentially bounce back or break. Also, they can sometimes have a softer shell.

Some popular medicine ball exercises are:

  • Rolling push-ups
  • V-ups
  • Med ball planks

When classic dumbbells aren’t doing the trick, consider using a weighted ball.

Now that you’re more well-rounded on free weights, you can pick out which type of workout ball is best suited for you and your exercises.