If you’re serious about improving your strength and conditioning, and your explosive power, then a good slam ball very much needs be in your equipment arsenal. Slam balls are versatile and functional, and many of the exercises you can do with them are just downright fun (even if they will kick your butt)! But as with all exercise equipment, especially medicine balls, not all slam balls are created equal.
Without a good guide, you could end up spending serious dollars on a ball that wears out and gets damaged long before you’ve got your money’s worth.
But we’re here to help.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 7 best slam balls currently on the market, as well as provide some great slammer exercises to get help you spice up your workouts.
The 7 Best Slam Balls
Slamming exercises are excellent for powerfully activating whole swathes of muscles in the upper and lower body, and there’s not much that’s more satisfying than smashing something against the floor or wall. But, that repeated abuse tends to take a toll on regular medicine balls (like those used in CrossFit), which is where a good slam ball comes in:
Ranging in size from 10 lbs – 50 lbs, the Echo Slam Ball is Rogue Fitness’ finest addition to the medicine ball market. These rubber-shelled, dust-/sand-filled bad boys are a fantastic piece of equipment for anyone who wants to add slamming exercises to their workouts.
The shell has a nicely textured surface, making it easy to grip and catch. Although we recommend medicine balls with a softer shell, like vinyl, PVC or synthetic leather for throwing and catching exercises, you could easily get away with using the Echo Slam Ball for exercises like wall balls and rotational throws.
Their dust interior gives the Echos a near dead-bounce, so if you’re going to use it for wall balls, don’t expect much return. You’re going to have to play with it a bit to get used to the bounce and return off the wall. The near dead-bounce is, however, perfect for overhead slams. Not only will it not bounce back and rearrange your face if you get a bit enthusiastic, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll allow you to catch the ball in a full squat and bang out quick, repeated reps.
You should be able to put a beating on these balls on pretty much any surface (although carpeted surfaces or grass are best) without any s
gn of damage. That said, Rogue Fitness absolutely back this product, and provide a 2 year warranty on them. So if your ball fails within 24 months, just send them shell and they’ll send you a new ball.
As with most Rogue products, when you take shipping into account, you’ll pay more for the Echo Slam Ball than for competitors, but the quality and warranty alone mean that you won’t be disappointed if this is the option you decide to go with.
Just like Rogue Fitness, almost all of the equipment that Fringe Sport produce and offer is top quality. Their OneFitWonder Slam Balls are absolutely no different. Along with the American Barbell Slam Balls, their 10 lbs to 150 lbs range is the biggest on the market and will allow you to get a great conditioning workout no matter how large or small you are, or what level of strength you’re at.
Sand-filled with a black rubber shell, they should take a pounding and politely ask for more. Fringe back these with a 1 year, no-questions-asked return policy, which is not as good as the Rogue Echos or the Dballs below, but is still pretty good.
The textured rubber and raised ribs makes for a good grip, even as you start getting sweaty. One thing to note, though: Straight out of the box, these slam balls may have a ‘slick’ feel. This could make you feel less than confident in your ability to keep a hold of them once you start getting right into your workout. However, it will disappear after a bit of use, so make sure you give yours 20 – 30 good slams to get them it shape for your workouts long-term.
With Fringe Sport’s standard free shipping, their quality makes OneFitWonder Slam Balls nothing short of a bargain.
D-Balls are a unique product too. They use a 3/8″ PVC shell rather than a rubber one, which gives them a unique feel in your hands and supposedly makes them significantly more durable than rubber competitors. Again, we don’t know about that claim, other than to say that they are durable and should hold up to the rigours of daily slamming. If not, they’re covered by a 2 year warranty for personal use, and 1 year warranty for institutional use, which is the best guarantee you’re going to get for a product you smash repeatedly against hard surfaces. The shell has a raised dimple texture and the standard raised ribs, which do a great job of making these slam balls nice and grippy.
The interior is a unique blend of fill materials as well. Whereas most slam balls use mostly sand or dust, D-Balls combine 6-7 different materials for the interior, which gives them a one-of-a-kind feel during use (more similar to a gel-filled ball than a sand-filled one), and prevents ‘sloshing’. It also gives the D-Balls a great balance and consistency, and stops the interior from clumping up and causing the ball to lose its shape.
Moreover, by changing the composition of the interior materials, D-Balls are able to vary the slam ball’s weight while maintaining the diameter and fill volume. This is how you can have the 9″ and 10.6″ diameter D-Balls of varying weights, as well as the larger 14″ MK D-Balls ranging from 14 lbs to 150 lbs.
You’ll pay a premium on these unique slam balls, but in the long-term we think you’ll find that they’re very much worth the price.
Rep Fitness obviously had some issues with the durability of their original slam balls…Enter the V2. Created with a 50% thicker rubber shell and a reinforced air valve, Rep have done their best in assuring their customers that the V2 slam balls are going to withstand the rigours of repeated slamming.
They’re backed with a 1 year warranty for home use, which is standard, but they also have a 6 month warranty on commercial use, which isn’t standard. This suggests that Rep Fitness are confident they’ve addressed the issues of the of the V1.
All-in-all, the V2s are a good slam ball, if not unremarkable. The black, textured rubber shell has a fairly standard feel to it, and should assure users that their not going to pop, tear, or lose their grip during a workout (on any surface). The interior is sand-filled, similar to many of the above balls, and seems to shifts as much or more than comparable balls. This means a pure dead-bounce, but makes it difficult to gather the ball at the bottom of an overhead slam and do quick, repeated reps.
The Rep Fitness V2 Slam Balls are a very solid option for anyone that just wants a standard, good quality slam ball at a reasonable price. Get one and there will be no surprises…good or bad.
The American Barbell slam balls are fairly new on the scene, but they can hold their own against any of the major players. With a black rubber shell that’s reminiscent of a tractor tyre, these bad boys have great grip and little chance of slipping from your hands even once you start to get your sweat on.
The sand-filled interior is well-balanced, and should give them a predictable and consistent flight, as well as a near dead-bounce. That said, considering the tyre-track shell, we’d recommend against using these for wall balls, or really any exercise in which it’ll be flying towards your face.
They have the same range as Fringe Sport (10 – 150 lbs), with their 150 lbs ball coming in at $200 (at time of writing). This may seem like an absolute bargain when compared to the 150 lbs OneFitWonder slam ball, which is $349 (at time of writing), but when you factor in the shipping (approx. $250 via Fedex if you live in California, and $350 if you’re in New York) you’ll often pay substantially more than at Fringe Sport.
The exception is if you want to pick up from their warehouse. So, if you live in or near San Diego, then you can get an exceptional deal on a 150 lbs slam ball! But we digress.
Their lighter slam balls can be shipped via UPS which is much more reasonably priced, and the total cost will, in the end, actually rival Fringe Sport (with their fancy free shipping!).
Get one of these if you want a good-quality, badass looking slam ball, that has an unbeatable grip.
TRX’s mission is to empower you in your pursuit of better, and their slam balls are proof that they’re not doing too bad in achieving that mission. These tyre-tread balls look and feel very similar to the American Barbell Slam Balls above. They don’t come in the same range of sizes/weights as the American Barbells (6 lbs – 50 lbs), but they’re very near the same quality.
The rubber shell is strong, and it’s rugged texture makes for a very easy grip, even as you start to sweat. It should take all manner of use and abuse, and TRX back this up with a one year warranty. It’s not as good a guarantee as the Rogue Echo, but then again none are. The interior of the TRX is sand, which gives a real dead-bounce. You can inflate these slam balls with air to give them a bit of extra diameter, but this doesn’t really improve their bounce (not that you would want to with a slam ball).
Their price is very competitive, and if you can get one of these TRXs with free shipping, then you’ve got a pretty good deal. Certainly nothing wrong with these slam balls from one of the premiere makers of functional exercise equipment.
Titan Fitness have become a serious player in the home exercise equipment game, and these slam balls are a good example of why. Considering their very competitive price and quality, they could very easily be further up the list. The reason they’re not is that the diameter is a little larger than you would generally see in a slam ball, which makes it a bit hard to handle, especially as you get into the higher weight range. You can let some air out of it to make it smaller, but this can throw it’s balance and general ‘feel’ off a little.
That said, the make of Titan’s slam balls is otherwise immaculate. The rubber shell is super tough and grippy. They can take an absolute beating on any type of surface without showing signs of wear or damage, and you shouldn’t ever feel like yours is going to slip out of your hands. The sand-filled interior is really well balanced, and provides a true dead-bounce. The heavier weights in particular hit the ground with a splat and really pancake before getting their rounded shape back.
These slam balls are Titan Fitness’ squishy gift to your plyometric training that’ll support the hard work you do, and help you reap the benefits. They’re a great product. Bearing in mind their slightly larger size, if you buy one you won’t be disappointed.
Choosing the Right Slam Ball
Choosing the right slam ball is important, as making a bad choice can be costly, both in terms of the money you pay and the practical value (or lack thereof) your workouts get. As with most exercise equipment, you should start by deciding what it is you want to do with a slam ball. Basing your decision around the exercises you want to do will help lead you to the best possible choice in slam ball.
The weight of your slam ball will obviously influence the exercises you can do and the effects of those exercises, but the diameter is also extremely important. Changing the diameter of your ball will drastically alter the dynamic of the exercise, from center of gravity through to range of motion.
Here are a few rules of thumb for choosing the right slam ball:
- Smaller diameter balls are generally better for explosive exercises like overhead slams. Larger diameters are better for exercises like med ball cleans. 9″ balls are considered the best diameter for overall functional training.
- For strength training, it’s recommended you choose a weight that’s 30-50% of your one rep max of a comparable traditional weight training exercise.
- If you’re unsure, go with a lighter ball. You can always work your way up to heavier balls, and there’s nothing worse than injuring yourself with your new exercise equipment.
3 Killer Slam Ball Exercises
Ultimately, slam balls are only as valuable as the exercises you do with them. Good slam ball exercises should work multiple large muscle groups and combine the upper body, core, and / or lower body. And although you can use them for more ‘traditional’ exercises, like squats, it’s the dynamic exercises that require explosive movements in which slammers really come into their own.
Add the following exercises to your workouts to give them a real boost and make some extra gains in strength, power and muscle. Warning: They may cause you to question how you believed you were ever in shape to begin with.
#1 Overhead slams
If this exercise gets too intense – and it might for the first few weeks of doing it – then reduce the speed of repetitions by letting the ball settle on the ground before each rep. Eventually, you must work up to catching each slam in the squat position and moving straight into the next slam.
#2 Keg toss
In this video, you’ll see that the ball is thrown quite a way backwards. If you have enough room, then you should also do this, but if not you can just throw the ball directly up in the air. Try doing this gently as many times as you need to consistently get it going pretty much straight up and down. And, always make sure to KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL, as a slam ball hitting you on the head from height could cause serious injury or death.
#3 Wall Balls
Wall balls with slam balls are similar to those done with a traditional med ball but a little trickier. The reduced bounce, smaller size and faster drop makes them more difficult to catch, which increases the intensity of the exercise. That said, a hard rubber ball to the face is much worse than a vinyl covered ball, so take due care when doing this exercise.
Well, there you have it. The best slam balls on the market, plus a few extra bits of info to help get you started.
Building functional strength and power comes from dedicated training and having the right tools for the job. Add any of the above the slam balls to your training tool belt, and we guarantee you won’t look back.
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As always, best of luck with your home workouts. Remember: We can make the effort or make excuses, but we can’t make both.
THFF (The Home Fit Freak)