Awesome cardio and strengthening exercise all in one.
Selection of balls: To slam or not to slam
There are many different types of balls to use when exercising, the two most common are the hollow medicine ball constructed from rubber or PVC which has a high rebound capacity and the newer type ‘SLAM’ ball generally constructed from heavy rubber and filled with granules (often sand) to restrict its ability to bounce. The differences between the two are slight but result in allowing for a very different type of exercise program. So when making your selection be aware of what type of exercise program you wish to embark on and what your ultimate fitness goals are.
Both Slam and Medicine balls can be found in weights ranging from about 3kgs – 35kgs and even more. The diameter of the balls typically ranges from about the size of a baseball to the size of a basketball. Both the Medicine and Slam ball can be used for a variety of exercises simply by holding the ball while performing the exercise and so increasing the intensity of the movements through the added weight. Some of the movements are squats, sit-ups, overhead presses and lunges. Both types of balls can be used for group or partner exercises such as chest passes, overhead passes and rotational abdominal work when targeting of the core is required and partners stand back to back and twist to pass the ball to each other.
The most significant difference between a Slam ball and Medicine ball is that the Slam ball is designed for throwing/slamming exercises when little or no rebound is required and the Medicine ball is designed for the opposite. Slam balls have a tough resilient rubber outer cover filled or partly filled with granules so when slammed into a wall or the ground minimal or no bounce will result. Medicine balls are typically made of rubber or plastic are hollow inside and have considerable bounce or re-bound properties.
Why to Slam
Slam balls are ideal for basic weight-lifting exercises in place of free weights and for an exceptionally effective cardiovascular workout. Slam balls are also effective for athletic training as they improve muscle mass, cardiovascular endurance and hand-eye coordination. There are many exercises you can perform with a slam ball with one of the most effective ones being the basic Floor Slam.
How to Floor Slam
The Floor Slam movement when performed correctly will condition your heart and lungs and tone and strengthen your entire body; arms, shoulders, legs and back while giving your core a great session. Starting out I would suggest you select a Slam ball with a weight that allows you to complete about 12 reps.
- With a shoulder width stance place the ball on the floor between your legs about level with your toes then squat down and grip the ball with both hands while keeping a straight back.
- Holding the ball drive/squat back up into a standing position.
- At the same time push the ball directly up over your head, at this point you should be up on your toes.
- Once overhead slam the ball down on to the floor to the start position between your feet.
- In the one same movement squat back down to catch the ball on the first bounce. That completes one rep.
Repeat 12 reps (a set) and then have a rest for 30 seconds. Attempt to complete 5 sets, but if this is too challenging to start out maybe try just 3 sets. Over the coming days and weeks and as you fitness and strength levels improve gradually increase the amount of reps and sets you perform.
The Floor Slam is a simple but very effect movement and is only one of the many exercises you can perform with a Slam ball. I will take you through more exercises next month.
Slam balls are a ‘must have’ piece of equipment in your gym and with a starting price of around $19 each a very inexpensive exercise tool.
Give the Slam Ball a try I’m sure you will not be disappointed.
Good Health and keep training.