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15 Best Slam Balls for CrossFit and Gym Workouts Reviewed 2021
Why do you even need a slam ball if you already have a medicine ball?
Most gyms have med balls, and even athletes new to CrossFit know what a wall ball is when they see it on the WOD.
If you are new to CrossFit, you may not yet know about the slam ball, what you do with it, and what it’s good for.
With that in mind…
I would like to explain the difference between a medicine ball vs a slam ball, show you several workouts and the best slam ball exercises you can do, introduce 2 CrossFit WODs that use the slam ball, and finish off with a review of the 15 best slam balls on the market today.
What is the Difference Between Slam Ball and Medicine Ball?
Slam Ball vs Medicine Ball
A medicine ball is designed more for cardio, is usually lighter than a slam ball, and has a uniform round shape, keeps its shape well, and usually has a little bounce, so it rebounds back to you after you throw it.
In CrossFit, you might see a med ball used for wall balls.
A slam ball is softer, sand filled, will not bounce or roll when you throw it, and will not rebound and bounce back to you.
Slam balls are usually heavier and more geared toward strength training vs cardio. In CrossFit, you might see a slam ball used for the Ball Slam, Russian Twist, or even heavy dead ball deadlifts.
Quick Guide to Choosing the Best Slam Balls
Texture and grip
Slam balls generally have two styles of grip texture.
Heavy aggressive, tire tread-like texture.
Heavy texture allows you to get the best grip, but can be hard on soft hands, especially when the WOD calls for 150 repetitions.
Moderate to light texture, like a basketball.
This texture is easier on the hands, but can get slick when your palms start to sweat.
Valve or no valve?
A few slam balls out there have a valve built-in so you can adjust the air pressure.
The benefit of a valve is you can inflate or deflate the ball so it is as firm as you want. Inflating it will make it firmer and may give it a small amount of bounce.
The downside of a valve is it creates a weak point in the slam ball.
I recommend you throw the slam ball down in such a way that the valve stays up and does not hit the ground.
The benefit of a ball with no valve is that it does not have a built-in weak spot. The downside of a slam ball with no valve is that you cannot adjust it at all.
Bounce, roll firmness and shape
Slam balls fall on a spectrum of soft and pliable, to quite firm. Most are somewhere in between. A firm ball will have more bounce, usually.
Traditional slam balls should not bounce or roll, they should stay in place after you slam them.
A softer slam ball will change shape after you slam it. This makes it more challenging to pick back up, which only adds to your workout.
A softer slam ball will be filled with sand and have a core that shifts as you throw it, making it more challenging to handle and throw. This is how a slam ball should be.
Best Slam Ball Workouts and Exercises
Slam Ball Exercise
The very basic slam ball move. This is the slam ball exercise you will often see in a WOD. It is a basic but intense more every beginner should master.
10 Minute Total Body Slam Ball Routine
10 minute Total Body Slam Ball Routine. This three circuit workout is simple, fast and intense.
The best part? All you need is a little motivation, 10 minutes of your time, and a slam ball to get it done.
What can you do with a HEAVY Slam Ball, aka Dead Ball?
Cleans, deadlifts, hip tosses and shoulder throws, heavy squats and lunges are just a few of the strength training exercises you can do with the heavier slam balls. They are all demonstrated here in this Iron Edge video.
Slam Ball Core Workout
The core and abs are a common problem area for athletes. Follow this slam ball core routine to tighten and tone your core.
This routine includes Russian Twists and Cross Body slams, so using a slam ball with a shifting core will give you an even greater workout.
CrossFit WODs that use a slam ball
Looking for a few great Ball Slam WODs?
Here are a few you can use to take out your rage using a slam ball.
Round 1: 50 of each exercise
Round 2: 40 of each exercise
Round 3: 30 of each exercise
Round 4: 20 of each exercise
Round 5: 10 of each exercise
20 lb Slam Ball
20 lb Wall Ball
Do all exercises in the Rxed amount in the list as fast as you can.
Review: Titan slam balls are great quality rubber sand filled slam balls that have no bounce, which is exactly what you want in good quality slam balls.
They have a good grippy texture and are clearly marked with their weight in lbs. The sand filling shifts inside the ball, changing the center of gravity of the ball, causing you to work a variety of muscles as you slam.
Dead bounce/no bounce slam ball.
Sand and air-filled ball.
Available in weights from 10 lbs to 60 lbs.
Some athletes wish it had more grip or better texture.
Review: TRX makes great CrossFit medicine balls, slam balls and tons of other high-quality equipment.
This robust slam ball has a robust texture so this ball will not slip from your grasp, thick rubber walls so it will not burst on impact with the ground, and a large variety of weight options, from 6 lbs up to 40 lbs for every fitness level.
Strong thick rubber shell.
Lugged texture for excellent grip.
Available from 6 lbs to 40 lbs.
Tread may be too aggressive for softer hands.
Sturdy ball with awesome grip from a well-known fitness company.
Review: The Champion Barbell Reactor smash ball is a softer style slam ball that will not move after you slam it to the ground.
It is sand filled, but has more give, so its shape contorts as you slam it, adding challenge as you go to pick it back up. It is unstable and unbalanced by design, to make it harder to throw and give a better work out.
Available in 6 to 35 lbs.
Will not bounce or roll.
Sand filled core shifts with each slam.
Some users wish it was firmer or more stable.
A softer slam ball with a shifting core make a challenging, unbalanced style slam ball.
Reebok Slam Ball
Review: This Reebok Slam ball has a mild basketball like texture so you can get a decent grip.
It is designed to minimize bounce and feel like a weighted ball, where the core shifts a bit to add intensity and a bit of unpredictability to your slam to challenge your arm, shoulder and core muscles.
Eye-catching Reebok logo imprinted on the ball.
Shifting, weighted sand filled core.
Not many weight options available.
An excellent slam ball by Reebok.
That wraps up the 15 best slam balls available today.
Looking for more WOD balls? Check out this collection of the best medicine balls and add a pair to your home or garage gym.
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Michael is a fitness expert and professional home/garage gym builder. His tutorials, guides, and reviews are backed up by his own experience and will definitely help you achieve your goals. He also loves putting mayo AND ketchup on the pizza for some reason!