Slam ball vs. medicine ball

Courtney Love

Because they are so similar, at times products are listed as being both a slam ball and a medicine ball. Always read the description to clarify that the product is safe for impact and meets your personal requirements.

Which full-body workout should you incorporate into your routine? 

Slam balls and medicine balls are great additions to any workout routine. By engaging multiple muscle groups when you lift and maneuver either ball accordingly, you’ll achieve an effective strengthening workout. 

But which one is the better workout ball? To pick the best one for you — you need to understand the difference between the two balls, as they are each intended to be used for separate purposes. 

What is the difference between a slam ball and a medicine ball?

Slam balls and medicine balls add weight and resistance to your specific movements and exercises. Medicine balls are designed to be handled and used close to the body, or even passed to a workout partner as a part of your routine, whereas slam balls — as the name suggests — are meant to be thrown or slammed into the ground and are designed for impact. 

While both balls are round and available in different sizes and weight ranges, you shouldn’t use your medicine ball for the same types of exercises that you’d use a slam ball. Medicine balls have the potential to rebound when slammed into the ground which could cause injury. They are also not designed for continuous impact. Now that you understand the main differences between each ball let’s dive into the complete comparison: 

Slam ball

Slam balls are designed for high-impact throwing exercises, as well as for weight training and core strengthening. While they are quite similar to medicine balls, they are usually heavier and have slightly thicker surfaces. They tend to be made of durable rubber.

Slam ball pros

  • Easy to grip, rubber surface
  • Several options for weight and color
  • No rebound — they are designed for a soft impact that will not damage the ball, and will not bounce
  • They’re versatile and are designed for slams, throws, tosses, squats and more

Slam ball cons

  • Slam balls are typically quite heavy, especially when compared to medicine balls; therefore, be sure you are using the ball correctly and not exceeding any personal limits with weight, as there is potential for you to strain your muscles.
  • Because they are often slammed/thrown, heavier slam balls could potentially damage or injure anything that comes between the ball and the ground. This includes children, pets, and household items. It’s best to always be cautious when using your slam ball.

The best slam balls available now

BalanceFrom Workout Exercise Fitness Weighted Slam Ball: available at Amazon

This slam ball is available in a range of weights, from 6-75 pounds. It features a rugged, rubber texture providing great grip and control whether you’re lifting, passing or slamming the ball.

Yes4All Slam Balls: available at Amazon
Available in a few different colors and weights, these slam balls are made of Polyvinyl Chloride and filled with sand. They are resilient and built to resist bounce, making them ideal for CrossFit training or other high endurance exercises.

Amazon Basics Exercise Slam Ball, Smooth Grip: available at Amazon
Available at a very reasonable cost and in weights ranging from 6-35 pounds, this slam ball is a great choice if you’re seeking a smoother grip. It also has a thick exterior, so it won’t rupture when slammed.

Medicine ball

Medicine balls are intended for building core strength, as using one primarily helps engage your back and abdominal muscles. Using a medicine ball regularly can help with balance, as well as posture and overall strength. You can find medicine balls weighing as few as 1-4 pounds (ideal for younger athletes or smaller individuals), and as heavy as 15 pounds. They are intended to simplify exercise and although they can be tossed, they are not intended for slamming or hard impact. 

Medicine ball pros

  • Versatility: Available in different weights and styles, as well as the number of exercises you can incorporate using the ball.
  • Availability and affordability: You can find a medicine ball that meets your budget easily.
  • User-friendly: These are simple to understand and a variety of weights are available.

Medicine ball cons

  • Much like slam balls, your technique matters: Ensure you are being cautious so you do not injure yourself or others around you. 
  • Balls, unlike kettlebells or weights, do not always have handles and can be less flexible in certain routines/difficult to hold. Always look for a ball that meets your grip expectations.

The best medicine balls available now

Amazon Basics Medicine Ball for Workouts Exercise Balance Training: available at Amazon
For improving balance and coordination, these medicine balls (available in 4-10 pounds) are smooth and sturdy, with adequate bounce. They are ideal for holding during squats, passing or for using as support during balance exercises.

ProsourceFit Slam Medicine Balls: available at Amazon
This product is described as both a slam ball and a medicine ball. It is available in a variety of weights and in a tread or classic texture, to suit whichever type of grip preference you have. You can purchase it in a lighter weight (like a typical medicine ball), and it can be safely slammed without rupture.

Champion Sports Exercise Medicine Balls: available at Amazon
Champion Sports offers eight sizes of medicine balls, all of which are made of leather and designed to have a no-slip grip, even if you’re sweating. These medicine balls can be used for cross-training exercises or in Pilates and yoga.

Should I choose a slam ball or a medicine ball?

While both options are quite similar, the benefits of purchasing a slam ball do slightly outweigh the benefits of a medicine ball. Slam balls can be slammed and thrown safely onto the floor as a part of your routine, whereas medicine balls could break and split open during impact.

You can use slam balls for a variety of exercises, including CrossFit, core workouts and strength training, just as easily as a medicine ball could (so long as you’ve chosen a ball with a weight that is appropriate for you).

Courtney Love is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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