If bodyweight exercises or free weights just aren’t doing it for you anymore, the slam ball might be just what you need.
Slam balls are great for dynamic and functional movements, and they not only add an element of fun to your workouts, but are also really effective at engaging multiple muscle groups at once.
Slam balls, (unlike traditional medicine balls that aren’t actually designed to be “slammed”), are filled with sand or a gel to prevent them from bouncing back. They also come in much thicker rubber. This opens up a world of exercise possibilities that can challenge your strength, balance, and coordination… and allow you to throw and slam to your heart’s content.
In this article, we’ve outlined 17 beginner-friendly slam ball exercises that you can use in your next workout.
We’ve also included a printable PDF so you can easily follow along with these exercises at your own pace too.
At a Glance – Slam Ball Exercises
- Overhead Slam
- Squat Throw
- Single Leg RDL
- Russian Twists
- Straight Arm Front Raise
- Overhead Squat
- Tricep Extensions
- Bicep Curl
- Slam Ball Single Arm Push Up
- Floor Press Throw
- Slam Ball Woodchopper
- Slam Ball Sit Up
- Slam Ball Plank
- Lunge and Twist
- Slam Ball Pullover
- Toe Taps
Slam Ball Weight
The overhead slam is a great way to get your heart rate up… and a unique exercise compared to using more traditional gym equipment.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and hold a slam ball with both hands over your head, with your arms extended.
With your core engaged, forcefully slam the ball on the ground, and naturally hinge at the hips to lower yourself into the slamming motion.
This works your arms, shoulders, back, and core, and even gives your legs a bit of a workout too.
Remember to bend your knees as you slam the ball down, and keep your back straight. Repeat this for repetitions.
This is a really fun exercise to try and definitely a great way to start a slam ball workout.
The squat throw combines a traditional squat with an overhead throw, working your lower body, core, back, shoulders and arms.
The throw element will help to develop explosive power, which is really useful for any sort of sport of physical activity.
Start in a squat position, holding the slam ball at your chest (similar to how you would start a goblet squat).
As you stand up out of the squat, use your momentum to throw the ball straight up into the air (or against a wall). Make sure to extend your arms fully.
Catch the ball and go back into a squat and repeat.
This exercise is excellent for building lower body strength and improving coordination. It’s also a great way to improve shoulder strength for those bored with overhead press variations and lateral raises.
Single Leg RDL
The slam ball single leg RDL (Romanian Deadlift) targets your hamstrings and glutes, as well as your lower back, core and grip strength.
We think the single leg RDL is a great exercise for anyone and comes with a whole host of benefits, and the slam ball variation offers a refreshing approach to it.
Hold the slam ball in your hands and stand on one leg. Keeping your back straight and your core engaged, hinge forward at the hips and lift your non-working leg behind you.
Lower the ball towards the ground, then return to the starting position by really squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. This movement requires balance and stability, so take it slow at first.
Russian twists are a fantastic exercise for your obliques and overall core strength.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and either your feet raised or heels touch the ground (heels touching the ground makes it slightly easier).
Hold the slam ball with both hands and lean back slightly and keep your core active throughout. Twist your torso to the right and touch the ball to the floor, then do the same on the left.
This helps to improve rotational strength, as well as offer aesthetic benefits.
Straight Arm Front Raise
The slam ball straight arm raise targets your shoulders and upper back.
Stand with your feet roughly hip-width apart, holding the slam ball in front of your hips. Keeping your arms straight, raise the ball up to shoulder height, then lower it back down.
This exercise is all about shoulder stability and control, as well as strength, so opt for a slow tempo, especially on the way down.
Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the movement to maintain stability.
The overhead squat is a surprisingly challenging exercise that works your entire body, and requires good mobility at the hips and shoulders.
Hold the slam ball above your head with both hands. Keep your arms extended as you perform a squat.
If this is a struggle, a single arm dumbbell overhead squat is a good way to practice the fundamentals.
As well compound movements, slam ball can be great at targeting specific muscles, such as the triceps.
To do slam ball tricep extensions, hold a slam ball with both hands behind your head. Extend your arms to lift the ball up, then lower it back down by hinging at the elbow. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your head throughout the movement and try and keep your shoulders stable.
The bicep curl with a slam ball is a simple but effective exercise for strengthening your arms.
Hold a slam ball with both hands in front of your hips. Curl the ball up towards your chest by contracting your biceps, then lower it back down. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body and your upper arms still throughout the movement.
If you have a heavy slam/medicine ball, you could also leverage eccentric/negative bicep curls.
Slam Ball Single Arm Push Up
The slam ball single arm push up is one of the more challenging exercises on this list but worth trying if you want a challenge.
It works your chest, shoulders, triceps and core.
Place the slam ball on the ground and get into a push-up position, with one hand on the ball and the other on the ground. Perform a push-up, then switch sides.
Compared to a regular floor push-up, the slam ball will create more instability, making the movement harder. It will also change the angle of the movement and allow you to challenge each side separately.
You’ll find you also naturally need to do reach rep very slowly, which keeps the muscles under tension for longer.
Floor Press Throw
The slam ball floor press throw targets your chest and triceps and is a great alternative to the regular barbell bench press.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a slam ball with both hands and forcefully throw it up into the air. Catch the ball and lower it back to your chest and repeat.
This movement not only strengthens your upper body but also engages your core to stabilize your body during the press and throw.
Throwing is quite a fundamental movement pattern, yet rarely since in workouts and fitness plans, which is why we really doing a few sets of floor throws to get the muscles adapting to this requirement.
Slam Ball Woodchopper
The woodchopper exercise is easy to adapt (e.g., adding a lunge or squat within it), but primarily focuses on core strength.
Hold a slam ball with both hands and swing it (controlled yet forcefully) from your left hip to above your right shoulder, like you’re chopping wood, and then repeat for repetitions and on the other side.
This exercise is excellent for improving your rotational strength and control.
Slam Ball Sit Up
If you like sit ups, slam ball sit ups are a simple way to instantly make them more challenging.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, holding a slam ball with both hands, and perform a sit-up. Lift the ball above your head as you sit up. Lower yourself back down, bringing the ball back towards your chest.
This movement not only strengthens your core but also works your shoulders, back and biceps as you lift the ball.
Slam Ball Plank
This is a variation of the traditional plank, which is excellent for core stability and strength.
To do a slam ball plank, get into a plank position with your hands on the slam ball.
Hold this position, making sure to keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
The instability caused by the slam ball will make it much more challenging.
Lunge and Twist
This exercise combines a lunge with a torso twist, working your lower body and core.
Hold a slam ball with both hands at roughly your chest level.
Step forward into a lunge, then twist your torso towards the side of your front leg by squeezing your core. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
This movement is excellent for improving lower body strength and core stability.
Slam Ball Pullover
We think the pullover is a really underused movement and is a great way to stretch and strengthen the upper body.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and hold a slam ball with both hands and extend your arms above your head. Extend your arms and the ball behind your head before pulling it back to the starting position. This movement should be controlled and steady.
You can also do this on a decline to increase the range of motion (see our guide on dumbbell decline pullup for more information).
Toe taps are a great cardio exercise that also works your lower body. Place the slam ball on the ground in front of you. Quickly tap your toes on the ball, alternating feet.
This exercise is excellent for improving your cardiovascular fitness and lower body agility.
Customizing Your Workouts
Grab PDF Version
Click below to view this list of slam ball exercises as a PDF. Save and follow along at your own pace.
Benefits of Slam Ball Exercises
Slam ball exercises often involve your entire body. From your arms and shoulders to your core and legs, these exercises can help you build strength and endurance throughout your body.
Many slam ball exercises, like overhead slams and toe taps, can get your heart rate up. This can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, which is a key component to a good fitness routine.
Improve Balance and Coordination
Exercises like the single leg RDL and lunge and twist require balance and coordination. As you improve in these exercises, you’ll likely notice improvements in these areas as well.
A benefit that is often forgotten about when it comes to slam balls, is the fact the grip is quite challenging. Instead of holding a bar, you usually need to squeeze the ball with both hands throughout the movement. This will keep your forearms engaged and improve your overall grip strength.
Many slam ball exercises require you to engage your core. This can help improve your core strength, which is important for overall fitness and can help prevent back pain.
One of the best things about slam ball exercises is their versatility. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, you can adjust these exercises to match your fitness level.
Our guide on sandbags vs barbells also demonstrates how functional equipment can be used for most traditional exercises too.
Things to Consider
Slam Ball Weight
The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and in control when you’re performing the exercises… and this ultimately comes down to the weight of the slam ball.
If a ball is too heavy and you’re struggling to maintain good form, it’s better to switch to a lighter one. On the other hand, if a ball is too light and you’re not feeling challenged, it might be time to switch to a heavier one.
Your Fitness Level
If you’re new to slam ball exercises, it’s a good idea to start with a lighter weight. This can help you get used to the movements and reduce the risk of injury. As you get stronger and more comfortable with the exercises, you can gradually increase the weight.
You may also want to start with the more basic movements first too.
If you’re struggling with bodyweight exercises, like planks, push ups and squats, then we would recommend getting more confident with these fundamentals before adding in additional weight, such as a slam ball.
The Type of Exercise
Some exercises may be easier with a lighter ball, while others might be more effective with a heavier one.
For example, if you’re doing overhead slams or squat throws, you might want a heavier ball to increase the intensity. But for exercises that require more precision or balance, like the tricep extension or bicep curl, a lighter ball might be better.
If you have access to various slam balls, this is great and means you can select the most appropriate ball for each exercise.
Creating a 15 Minute Slam Ball Workout
Slam ball exercises offer a dynamic and versatile way to enhance your workout routine.
From full-body movements like the overhead slam to targeted exercises like the bicep curl, these 17 exercises can help you build strength, improve balance, and boost your cardiovascular fitness.