Wall Balls (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)
Wall Balls are an exercise that has been made very popular by CrossFit. It’s basically a combination of a Front Squat and a Push Press done with a medicine ball. It’s a total body movement that can help develop power and will absolutely get your heart rate going in a metabolic circuit.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Wall Balls including important coaching points, muscles worked and a few alternatives.
How To Do Wall Balls
- Medicine Ball
- Wall at least 10 feet tall that you don’t mind hitting a medicine ball off of
- Wall Balls are a total body exercise. Almost every muscle group in the body is utilized at some point during the movement.
- Start with a medicine ball held right at the chest.
- Now, with feet shoulder-width apart and core braced, descend down into a squat.
- Once you reach full depth, explosively drive up.
- As you reach full extension with the hips, throw the ball vertically to a spot 10 feet up on the wall.
- Catch the ball as it falls down from the wall and repeat.
I know many CrossFit workouts prescribe a high volume of Wall Ball reps and encourage you to work as fast as possible. Having said that, always make sure that you’re able to maintain proper technique and keep a braced core when squatting.
Don’t let the combination of fatigue and trying to rush cause you to use poor technique as this can lead to injury.
Benefits of Wall Balls
Wall Balls are a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, shoulders, and arms, providing a full-body workout.
Wall Balls are an intense exercise that requires significant physical effort, making them a great way to increase cardiovascular endurance and fit perfectly as part of a high-intensity circuit.
Wall Balls are a great movement for beginners to learn body position and technique for many barbell exercises like Front Squat and Push Press.
How Many Reps?
Wall Balls are typically done as part of a metabolic circuit and therefore rep ranges are generally pretty high. Sets of anything from 10 to 25 reps are common.
As stated in the Coaching Points, make sure no matter how many reps you are doing that you’re able to maintain proper technique. Never sacrifice technique for weight (or trying to go fast).
Wall Balls Alternatives
Need an alternative for Wall Balls? Here are a couple of exercises that you may be able to use as a replacement.
Want more options? Here are my 8 favorite Wall Ball Alternatives.
Thrusters are essentially a barbell version of a Wall Ball. Thrusters also involve a squat and a drive overhead (just don’t throw the bar into a wall).
They are a bit more technical, but if you’re looking for an advanced version of Wall Balls – this is it.
Dumbbell Push Press
Don’t have a medicine ball (or a barbell)? Give Dumbbell Push Presses a try. They also utilize a dip (instead of a full squat) and drive overhead.
More Links and Info
Need a training program? I’ve been a Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach for 20 years and have written programs for both elite-level athletes to dominate at the sport as well as friends wanting to look good at the beach. If you check out My Shop, you’ll find both types of programs.
If you’d like to see more Olympic Lifting-style lifts (I know Wall Balls are not an Olympic lift, but they are rather hard to categorize), then check out the Olympic Lifting section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of Olympic lifts and Olympic lift variations, all with step-by-step instructions.