Best Slam Balls
Explosive power developed while calories are burned, the slam ball concept is as solid as it gets. A key component of functional training methods, the slam ball ranks up there with sledgehammer workouts and tire drills. But what makes for the best slam ball? It really depends on the user’s needs, as the uses are mostly only limited to the user’s imagination. Some users keep their balls indoors and incorporate them into rotational core work, while others take them outside and to the ground for a slamming every day. In addition to the balls themselves, there are a growing number of slam bags which offer even more variability in their usage for exercise. Always popular and easy to use at home, these toys for grown-ups really are a must for the fitness enthusiast.
Best Slam Balls
The variety of uses for a slam ball are nearly unlimited. Unlike traditional medicine balls which have more bounce to them, the slam balls are designed for a dead thud. This means you can use the slam ball for just about anything a medicine ball would do, and still yet more. Lower body drills involving slam balls typically feature the user dropping down into a crouch with the ball as weight. Whether for a launch-style throw, or a slam to the ground, the effect is a total body motion. Core work can be performed with rotational drills, and the cardio value is pretty well understood going in.
A couple things to ask yourself include, just how often will you use this, and under what conditions? If you’re planning on daily drills outside slamming the ball to the ground, spend a few more pennies and make sure it’s a solid-stitching. If you’ll be using this mostly for rotational work and passing back and forth to partners, or perhaps weighted carries, then the weight itself is probably more important than the stitching job and materials.
1. Ultra Fitness Gear Pancake Sandbag
Shaped like a pentagon pancake and manufactured with a heavy-duty neoprene material, the Ultra Fitness model contains 100% pure steel shot filler, making for a pentagon-shaped steel disc. The tiny steel balls make for an extremely dense filler that needs no sand or air. The bag itself is 1000D military grade Cordura with double-reinforced stitching and a fully enclosed construction. Coming in weight ranges 10- to 50-pounds, the advantage to the flat, pentagon shape, is that the unit can be stacked atop a user’s back for pushups and other innovative movements. The flattened shape also helps prevent bounce as one would expect from rounder units, and is less likely to lose shape with use.
2. Champion Sports Medicine Balls
Complete with an old-school look reminiscent of 1950s basketball, the Champion Sports slam ball comes in a variety of weights and veritable rainbow of color options. With a thick, synthetic leather cover and tight stitching, the ball is designed for heavy use and slam-jamming. Fashioned for a non-slip grip, the ball does not have a treaded surface, which some may find slick nonetheless. The 4-5-pound ball measures about 7 inches across but isn’t a perfect sphere for long, as it molds and re-molds upon impact, which is good for a no-bounce effect.
3. Jump USA Slam Ball
Complete with a handle, the Jump USA model can be lifted like a dumbbell, thrown like a slam ball, swung like a kettle bell, and held like a medicine ball. An all-around workout toy, the opening is shaped so as to allow foot placement for leg exercises. Designed with indestructability in mind, the Jump USA model is built for a no-bounce effect when thrown hard to the ground repeatedly. The inside of the handle features a soft grip for improved comfort while using and this model is reportedly the only one on the market with such an opening.
4. Rogue Echo Slam Balls
Backed by a two-year warranty, the Rogue Echo Slam Balls might seem a little pricey but they’re guaranteed to take a beating. Grip-friendly with a rubberized exterior shell, the 10-30-pound balls measure 9 inches in diameter with the 35-50-pound units spanning 10 inches. Built for a dead-bounce, the manufacturer notes that the units can be re-pumped with air like a basketball but notes they should not be used on abrasive surfaces as that can damage the rubberized shell.
5. Outroad Slam Ball
Built for the slam, the Outroad Slam Ball comes in a 10-, 12-, and 15-pound sizes and are 13.8 inches in diameter. Uniquely stitched design and PVC material, the balls are designed for a slip-proof grip between throws. Sand-filled inside, the ball offers very little bounce and gives a solid thud when slammed. The balls also come in a wide assortment of coloring options including black, red, and blue.