Ball Slam Exercises
Ball slamming is a type of plyometric training where you perform fast, repetitive movements at a near-maximum effort with very little or no pausing in a set. You can use either a medicine ball or a medicine ball sling, which is a ball with a heavy rope attached to it. Choose a weight that you can do without losing your balance, disrupting your body mechanics or causing severe fatigue.
This exercise mimics a typical throw that a soccer goalie would do. The power of the throw comes from your legs and hips which channel energy to your shoulder and arms. You can throw against a sturdy wall or with a workout partner. Raise the medicine ball above your head and bend your elbows to prepare to throw it. Take two strides forward, and on the second stride, throw the ball as hard as you can. Brace your spine and abdominal muscles to maintain your posture. Do not bend your back as you throw. With each set, you can start the stride with the left or right leg.
The ground slam is similar in function as the soccer throw, but you throw the ball in front of you vertically to the ground instead of at an angle. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and hold the ball above and slightly behind your head. Without bending your back, throw the ball in front of you so that you can catch it without moving your feet when it bounces back up. You can also do this exercise by turning to your left or right side and throw, alternating both sides.
With a medicine ball sling, this exercise develops power, momentum, and core stability throughout your body as you swing the sling like a sledgehammer or axe. Hold at the ends of the rope with both hands with the ball dangling over your left shoulder. Brace your trunk and sling the ball over your shoulder to strike on the ground in front of you. You may bend your knees and hips to absorb the impact. Repeat the movement as quickly as you can on both sides.
The chop throw trains stability and strength in your abdominals without relying on your hips for movement and strength production. One side of your core may be weaker and less balanced than the other. Kneel with your right leg in front of you with your hips and legs bent at 90 degrees. Hold the medicine ball over your right shoulder and throw it at the ground to your left with minimal movement in your torso. Keep your torso upright the entire time. Do both sides of your body to complete one set.
- "Athletic Body in Balance"; Gray Cook; 2003
- "Essence of Program Design"; Juan Carlos Santana; 2004
- Meylan, C., T. McMaster, J. Cronin, N.I. Mohammad, C. Rogers, and M. Deklerk. 2009. Single-leg lateral, horizontal, and vertical jump assessment: Reliability, interrelationships, and ability to predict sprint and change-of-direction performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 23(4): 1140â47.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.