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You may have heard that medicine balls can be a great workout tool. But what are some of the different types of medicine balls you can use?
A medicine ball is a weighted ball that is made from relatively soft material and doesn’t bounce that well.
Among other benefits, working out with a medicine ball can help you build muscle, improve cardiovascular health, help you lose weight, improve balance and coordination, improve muscle power, improve bone density, etc.
While there are technically only two main types of medicine balls, there are a few similar pieces of equipment that are sometimes called the same. Each of these has its own specific advantages and disadvantages.
Which one of these is the best type of medicine ball for you ultimately depends on things like your personal situation, budget, floor, walls, training goals, etc.
1. Medicine balls
Medicine balls are more medium to small-sized weighted balls. Most brands offer models between 4-12 pounds but there are definitely exceptions to this. Medicine balls generally have a relatively soft outside shell and bounce a good amount.
You should be able to drop medicine balls on the ground or even throw them up in the air without a problem. That being said, for exercises where you really slam the ball against the ground you want to choose the next option on the list.
All of these things make it so medicine balls can be great for exercises where you throw a medicine ball to a partner or to a wall expecting it to bounce back at least a little.
Other ways to use medicine balls include explosive throwing, balance, coordination, and regular strength training exercises.
2. Slam balls
Slam balls are similar to medicine balls but they have a harder and sturdier outside, generally have higher weight limits, and bounce less. Besides that, slam balls are often on the smaller side.
As the name implies this type of medicine ball is especially useful for exercises where you slam the ball on the ground. A straight-down ball slam will engage muscles like your abs and upper back. More sideways will focus more on your oblique muscles.
The name implies differently but slam balls can also be used for some of the other typical medicine ball exercises and as extra resistance during more standard exercises like lunges and squats.
One potential downside is that slam balls tend to be slightly more expensive than medicine balls, especially the heavier models.
3. Wall balls
Wall balls can be described as the larger and softer medicine balls. This type also generally has a bit of bounce, less than regular medicine balls but more compared to slam balls.
This makes wall balls stand out for exercises where you bounce the ball against a wall and catch it again. Additionally, wall balls can be more comfortable for partner exercises. Additionally, wall ball exercises include some throwing exercises too.
One thing to keep in mind is that wall balls are not really made for slamming on the ground. This can damage the ball.
Besides that, because wall balls are slightly bigger, they are less convenient for one-handed throwing exercises compared to the other types of medicine balls. You may also need more storage space.
Lastly, wall balls tend to be slightly pricier.
4. Medicine balls with handles
The next type is basically a regular medicine ball but it has two handles. One downside of the other types of medicine balls is that they are not ideal for one-handed exercises.
The handles on these models are made to overcome this challenge. In turn, this can not only make one-handed throwing exercises more convenient, but also enable you to do exercises like bicep curls, lateral raises, and tricep kickbacks.
The downside is that catching the medicine ball can become slightly more inconvenient depending on what angle it arrives. Additionally, medicine balls with handles are slightly pricier.
Medicine balls can be helpful if you want a workout tool that can enable you to do both throwing exercises and certain specific one-handed exercises.
If you want to do exercises where you catch the ball and have workout gear for these other exercises, the other types of medicine balls may be a better choice.
Which type of medicine ball is best?
Which type of medicine ball is the best depends on your training goals. For slamming exercises the slam ball will generally be the best option. For throwing exercises in an open space a medicine ball can be great. In exercises where you catch the ball, wall balls can be the most comfortable. These are not strict limitations, often different types can be used for the same exercise.
What’s the difference between a wall ball and a medicine ball?
A wall ball is bigger and softer than a medicine ball. Medicine balls generally bounce more and are more compact than walls balls. This can make medicine balls better for things like single-handed throwing exercises.
Are all medicine balls the same?
Many people use the name medicine balls for different types that are not actually the same. There are medicine balls, slam balls, wall balls, and medicine balls with handles. Even within these categories, the balls can vary in many ways between brands.
What are the large medicine balls called?
Wall balls are the largest type of medicine balls. These also have a softer surface.