Are you looking to add some excitement to your workout routine? Medicine Ball Slams and Sledgehammer Slams are two dynamic strength–training exercises that will help you build power, strength, and stamina.
This article will compare and contrast these two exercises, and discuss which one might be the best choice for your workout.
Let’s start with Medicine Ball Slams.
Medicine Ball Slams
- Medicine Ball (it’s literally in the name)
- Grab a medicine ball and stand tall with feet roughly shoulder-width apart.
- Reach the medicine ball high overhead.
- Using the core, pull the body down – hinging forward at the hips.
- Follow through with the arms and release the ball.
- Let the ball slam into the ground, catch it off the bounce and repeat for the designated number of reps.
First and foremost, test how ‘bouncy’ your medicine ball is before starting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen athletes almost have their faces smashed by a medicine ball bouncing much harder and rebounding much faster off the ground than they were anticipating.
The biggest mistake I see with Medicine Ball Slams is athletes not utilizing the core and simply throwing the ball down with their arms. The bulk of the force should be generated by aggressively using the core to hinge forward. If done correctly, it should almost (and actually might) lift your feet up off the floor.
Although there are countless core exercises, Med Ball Slams is one of the only dynamic movements that truly focuses on the core. Think of them as an Olympic lift for the core. Dynamic and explosive.
Great for athletes and really anyone that wants to add more functionality to their core training.
- Sledgehammer (10-20 pounds)
- Tractor tire
- Hold the sledgehammer with one hand on the end of the handle and the other hand about 3/4 of the way toward the head of the hammer.
- Take a strong athletic stance. Slight bend in the knee and hips back.
- Always remember to engage the core.
- Pull the hammer up and rotate the hammer until it is slightly overhead.
- Your arms should still be slightly bent.
- Forcefully bring the hammer down to slam
- As the hammer approaches the tire, you should feel your top hand slide and they will be together at impact.
- Alternate sides until you finish your set.
- Be sure to select a hammer that is not too heavy. If the hammer is too heavy, you will not have proper form and you will not benefit from the exercise
- Focus on force production. Slam the tire as hard as you can.
- Remember to engage the core. As you bring the hammer down, really pull down with those lats and abs to get the best strike possible.
Some potential benefits of Sledgehammer Slams include:
- Improved strength: Sledgehammer slams require a lot of force to lift and swing the hammer, which can help to build strength in the arms, shoulders, and upper back.
- Improved power: Sledgehammer slams involve explosive movements that can help to improve power and speed.
- Improved endurance: Sledgehammer slams can be performed as a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise, which can help to improve endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
- Improved coordination: Sledgehammer slams require coordination and control to swing the hammer accurately and safely, which can help to improve overall body control and coordination.
- Improved functional fitness: Sledgehammer slams mimic movements that are often used in everyday life and sports, such as swinging a golf club or baseball bat. This can help to improve functional fitness and athletic performance.
It’s important to note that sledgehammer slams can be challenging and potentially risky if not performed correctly.
It’s always a good idea to start with a lighter hammer and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the exercise. It’s also important to use proper form and technique to reduce the risk of injury.
Med Ball Slams vs Sledgehammer Slams: Is One Better?
Now let’s do a side-by-side comparison to see how they compare on a couple of common lifting goals.
Better For Power Development: Toss Up
Both Medicine Ball Slams and Sledgehammer Slams do a tremendous job of developing power. It’s really going to depend on the weight being used for each piece of equipment and how much speed you can generate with it.
In fact, the two exercises are so similar in their movements and benefits, Sledgehammer Slams are one of my favorite Medicine Ball alternatives if you don’t have access to a med ball.
Better For Beginners: Medicine Ball Slams
I’m giving the edge to Medicine Ball Slams as being better for beginners because I believe a medicine ball is simply safer to use. For starters, you can start with a lighter medicine ball and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the exercise.
Additionally, sledgehammer slams can be more challenging and potentially risky if not performed correctly, as they require good coordination and control to swing the hammer accurately and safely.
For these reasons, I would suggest beginners started with Med Ball Slams first before moving on to Sledgehammer Slams.
I’ve just spent the last section of this article comparing which is better – Medicine Ball Slams or Sledgehammer Slams. However, the truth is, there is no reason you shouldn’t have both exercises in your strength training program.
Both are excellent exercises for developing power and improving cardiovascular conditioning. Incorporating both exercises into your training program can also add variety and keep your workouts from getting stale.
So, my suggestion would be instead of trying to decide between the two exercises, figure out how you can utilize both Medicine Ball Slams and Sledgehammer Slams in your training plan.