Slam Ball Vs Medicine Ball (Training Benefits & Differences)

We've all heard of and used dumbbells. Most of us have probably used kettlebells as well. And I bet most people reading this can name a few machines at your local gym you could use to build strength and stability. But excellent pieces of fitness equipment that often get overlooked are medicine balls and slam balls.  

Slam balls and medicine balls are similar but slightly different. Each serves a different training purpose within your workout. So how do you know when to grab a slam ball vs medicine ball?? We'll explain in the guide below. 

Slam balls are weighted, rubber-coated balls used in several exercises to strengthen, condition, and define your muscles. Slam balls are very similar to medicine balls, but slam balls have thicker surfaces, so they are perfect for high-impact throwing exercises.   

Slam balls are built with a heavy-duty outer shell that prevents them from breaking when thrown against the ground. Athletes worldwide use slam balls because they are simple to use and are great for adding muscle mass. 

Depending on the exercise you choose to do, your slam ball can work your triceps, claves, pecs, back, shoulders, and core. Most slam balls weigh somewhere between two and 50lbs. 

What Is A Slam Ball

Benefits Of A Slam Ball When Training 

Maximum Core Control 

Many core workouts are available today, and old-fashioned squats and deadlifts are excellent at building core strength, but slam balls are just as effective. Ball slams can be performed in several angles and positions, forcing your abs, obliques, and deep abdominal walls to work together through a full range of motion. 

This can boost power development and spinal stability, especially for athletes in competitive sports. Slam balls are great for powerlifters and strength athletes because enhanced core control leads to better squats, snatches, clean & jerks, and many more functional movement patterns. 

Extreme Cardiovascular Endurance 

When a slam ball is used the right way, it can increase your cardiovascular endurance by incorporating more functional volume in your training. 

Start by picking your slam ball up off of the floor, clean and press it overhead, and then violently slam it to the ground. When this is done repeatedly, it will challenge your cardiovascular endurance and condition your entire body. Your muscles will also learn to work together, eliminating muscle activation problems, poor posture, and restricted joint mobility. 

Reactive Strength 

Reactive strength is produced in the muscles due to contractions after they are stretched during a workout. Slam ball tosses focus on reactive strength of your lower back, upper back, arms, and your abdominals.

Besides these muscles, there are secondary muscles that play an important role as well. These muscles include your shoulders, forearms, glutes, hamstring. 

Power Development 

Many people don't realize it, but slam balls are excellent at developing and improving power. Power and strength training are similar, but like medicine balls and slam balls, they aren't exactly the same.

Strength training focuses on the ability to exert force to overcome resistance. Training for power focuses on exerting force to overcome resistance as quickly as possible.  

Power training requires lighter loads that allow us to work more explosively without compromising technique. Slam balls are excellent for this. Slam ball swings, for example, are an excellent exercise for training power. 

Benefits Of A Slam Ball

Pros & Cons Of Slam Balls 

Benefits

First of all, slam balls are great for building cardiovascular strengthUsing a slam ball makes your heart pump faster, sending more oxygen to the tissues in your body. This improves the endurance and function of your heart. 

Next, slam balls are really great for burning fat and building muscle. Slam ball tosses are one of the quickest ways to burn fat and build muscle. This is why slam balls are becoming popular all over the world. 

Slam balls will also improve your motor skillsFor example, your hip extension and hand-eye coordination will significantly improve when you start using a slam ball consistently. 

Slam balls, believe it or not, will also improve your posture. Once you master the art of using a slam ball, your posture will improve. This will significantly impact your daily life, especially if you are stuck behind a desk at work all day. 

And last not but not least, slam balls are a fantastic form of stress relief. If you've had a bad day at work or you've been dealing with stress for a long time, there's nothing better than picking up a heavy slam ball and slamming it to the ground as hard as you can. Most people that work out with slam balls end up in a better mood.  

Drawbacks

Although we really enjoy working out with our slam balls, nothing is perfect. They can be pretty inconvenient to carry around for outdoor training. They aren't something you can just throw into your gym bag like your jump rope or weight bands. 

Also, like most other pieces of exercise equipment, if they aren't used correctly, you can easily injure yourselfSo be sure to use proper form and technique at all times to avoid injury. 

What We Like 

  • Improves cardiovascular strength 
  • Burns fat and builds muscle 
  • Improves motor skills 
  • Improves posture 
  • Relieves stress 

Things We Don’t 

  • Inconvenient to carry around 
  • You can easily injure yourself 

What Is A Medicine Ball & What Is It Used For?  

Medicine balls are usually larger than slam balls and are used in a variety of ways. Medicine balls can be found in various sizes and weights, ranging from a few inches in diameter to larger than a basketball, and typically weigh between 1 to 30 pounds. They are called "medicine balls" because the word medicine has long been synonymous with the word health, and using the ball promotes your health. 

Medicine balls are made out of leather, rubber plastic, or vinyl, but they aren't designed to absorb impact like slam balls are. Because of the materials used to make a medicine ball along with the core inside of them, if they are slammed to the ground, there's a good chance the medicine ball will bounce back and injure you or break. 

Some excellent exercises you can do with a medicine ball are V-ups, rolling push-ups, and planks. These are all excellent core exercises. You can also use your medicine ball to replace dumbbells in several exercises. Natural bodybuilders love medicine balls because they can be used to target hard-to-reach muscle groups. 

Also see Medicine Ball Slam Alternative Exercises


Benefits Of A Medicine Ball For Exercise 

Develop Explosive Power & Build Body Strength 

More and more athletes are focused on developing explosive power. Explosive power is the ability to exert maximum effort and force in the shortest amount of time. 

Explosive power relies on strength in specific parts and movements in which the training impacts. Sequences that combine movements and medicine balls, like squats and ball throws, will bring out these dual benefits. 

Enhance Speed, Movement Accuracy  

Warming up with medicine balls can help athletes boost their speed and the accuracy of their movements. When athletes reproduce certain actions with these weighted medicine balls, they can move their bodies in a versatile way, quickly react to their surroundings, and position their bodies properly while interacting with teammates. 

Improve Rehabilitation Effort After Injuries 

Rehabilitation and recovery are essential for all athletes. Medicine balls are used to regenerate the body's endurance and response. Medicine balls are particularly helpful with spinal, shoulders, and knee injuries. 

With rehab, patients will usually start with a lightweight ball at first and gradually increase the ball's weight as the recovery process progresses.  

Enhance Socialization Skill & Teamwork 

Team chemistry is often overlooked in team sports. While you can do most medicine ball exercises alone, you can also practice with a partner or teammates to help build chemistry and add some fun to your workouts. Working out with your teammates will increase the number of exercises you can do and lead to positive moods. 

Group training with a ball can involve rolling, bouncing, tossing, or passing the ball back and forth to target different muscle groups. 

Benefits Of A Medicine Ball

Pros & Cons Of Medicine Balls 

Benefits 

The best thing about medicine balls is that they are available. Most gyms will have a few medicine balls to choose from, but they won't all have slam balls. You can also find them at any big box store, sporting goods store, or online retailer. 

They also produce some pretty challenging workouts. Medicine balls allow you to add weight to various exercises so you can up your game. Simply holding a medicine ball while you're doing squats, lunges, or core workouts will increase the intensity of your workouts. 

If you're looking to develop core strength, medicine balls are the way to go. Medicine balls are excellent and developing and strengthening your coreControlling the motion of the ball during an exercise requires you to tighten your core muscles. Many exercises force you to contract your hip flexors, abdominals, and obliques through a full range of motion.  

Medicine balls are also excellent for developing balance and posture. Good posture and spinal alignment depend on a strong core, and most everyday and sport-related activities require core engagement and balance. Using a medicine ball can help improve your overall posture and balance because medicine ball training is an excellent way to strengthen your core. 

Drawbacks 

Medicine balls are excellent tools if you have a training goal in mind. They can help you generate power in various muscle groups, which is great for athletes. However, they are limited in what they can do, and they aren't quite as versatile as free weights, resistance bands, or kettlebells. 

It's also very easy to get injured if you don't use your medicine ball the right way. Many people also use a medicine ball too heavy for them or the move they are doing, which is a great way to get injured. An action as simple as a chest pass can result in injury if the medicine balls are too heavy. 

What We Like 

  • Easily available 
  • Develop challenging workouts 
  • Core strengthening 
  • Improves balance and posture 

Things We Don’t 

  • Not very versatile 
  • You can easily injure yourself 

Slam Ball vs Medicine Ball: Key Differences Compared 

Slam balls and medicine balls have several similarities and a few key differences. They can both be found in weights ranging from 2lbs to 50lbs. Their sizes can range from the size of a baseball to a little larger than a basketball.

You can add slam balls and medicine balls to various exercises, and you can use both for partner exercises like chest passes, overhead passes, and rotational abdominal work. 

The main difference between the two balls is that slam balls are specially designed for throwing or slam exercises. Slam balls have a hard outer shell typically made of tough rubber, so they can handle high-velocity impacts against hard surfaces.

Medicine balls are typically made of leather, rubber, or plastic not suitable to absorb impacts. Some medicine balls come with handles to make holding the balls easier.  

Squat Exercises 

Medicine balls are perfectly equipped for squat exercises. Simply choose the right size medicine ball for you, hold it at your chest, and perform a regular air squat.

To make it a little more challenging, extend your arms straight out from your chest while you do your squats. This will help build muscle in your arms as well. 

Lunge Exercises 

Medicine balls are also ideal for lunge exercises. But, again, make sure you pick an appropriate weight and never use a ball that's too heavy. 

Like a squat, you can hold the medicine ball at your chest and do a typical lunge. Or, you can hold the medicine ball high above your head to make the move more challenging for your arms and shoulders. 

Throwing Exercises 

You don't want to use a medicine ball for throwing exercises. Medicine balls aren't as durable as slam balls, so always use a slam ball for a throwing exercise.

For an overhead throw, hold the slam ball between your legs, squat down, and when you come up from your squat position, throw the ball as high as you can. Just be sure to get out of the way before the ball comes back down! 

Swinging Exercises 

You can grab a medicine ball to do some swinging exercises. Start by holding the medicine ball between your legs. Next, bend at your knees, keep your back flat, and swing the medicine ball between your legs. Finally, stand back up, bringing the medicine ball over your head, straightening your arms.  

Slam Exercises 

These are the fun ones. Slam balls are obviously better suited for ball slams because your medicine ball could easily break. Grab your slam ball and stand, feet shoulder-width apart. Raise the slam ball above your head, and slam it down on the floor between your feet. 

Safety 

Safety is critical no matter which ball you're using. Either ball can be used without risk of injury, as long as it's used right. Never use a ball that is too heavy for you, and always pay attention to your form and technique while working out. 

Slam Ball Vs Medicine Ball

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can I use a sledgehammer as an alternative to a slam ball?  

If you have the space for it and don't mind making a little noise, sledgehammer swings are an excellent alternative to ball slams.

You should do this exercise outdoors, making sure you've got enough space around you to avoid accidents. Use an old SUV tire as your striking target and a standard sledgehammer. 

What's a good weight for medicine ball workouts?  

When it comes to a recommended medicine ball size for your workout, it really depends on your strength and experience. If you're just starting out, medicine balls weighing between 4 and 15 pounds are great starting points. 

What's a good slam ball weight? 

Again, this depends on your goals and current fitness level. If you're cardio-focused, use a smaller slam ball between 10-20lbs. If you're looking to build strength and power, heavier balls will be better for you. 


Conclusion

While they each have their differences, both slam balls and medicine balls are excellent pieces of fitness equipment. They can each be used as dumbbell alternatives, and they each have their own unique moves to build cardio or strength. From your average gym-goer to professional athletes, slam balls and medicine balls are helpful for everyone. 

Paul J