Wall Ball Exercise Benefits, And How To Do Them Properly

Wall Ball Exercise Benefits, And How To Do Them Properly

clock-circular-outlinePosted 16 Apr 2023

If you’ve experienced wall balls within your workouts, you’ll know they leave you using with sweat and gasping for air – in a good way, of course!

Despite the relatively straightforward movement pattern, the accumulation of high reps through a full range of motion is sure to challenge gym-goers of every ability.

And it’s that universal application across athletes of all levels that make it a fantastic exercise to include in your sessions, whether it’s in your training split or a WOD at your local CrossFit box.

In this article, we’ll share the benefits of the wall ball exercise, and show you how to complete them with correct form, along with answering common questions and providing you with wall ball exercise alternatives.

What is a Wall Ball exercise?

The wall ball exercise combines a front squat and an overhead press to create an explosive movement generating power to propel the medicine ball to a desired height on the wall.

Generally, there is a mark or target to aim for when throwing the ball overhead, before catching the ball and beginning your next rep.

The wall ball exercise is often incorporated into circuits and WODs, however, it’s a perfectly good exercise to perform as a standalone exercise. It’s an excellent functional movement that engages your full body, along with challenging your coordination and endurance.

Wall Ball Exercise Muscles Targeted

The wall ball exercise targets the entire body and challenges muscular endurance across many muscle groups.

The key muscles targeted during the wall ball exercise include:

  • Quadriceps

  • Hamstrings

  • Glutes

  • Core

  • Triceps

  • Shoulders

What Are The Benefits Of The Wall Ball Exercise?

Due to the wall ball exercise being an explosive full-body movement, there are many benefits from performing the exercise regularly.

Wall ball benefits include:

  • Coordination & Balance

  • Endurance

  • Squat Form

  • Explosive Power

  • Functional ROM

Coordination, Balance & Stability

Timing is an important aspect of the wall ball exercise, and both releasing and catching the ball at the right times will help keep a smooth momentum through each rep, alongside maintaining balance and stability by engaging your core.

For example, releasing the ball just before your legs fully extend will help you use the explosive power from your lower body to propel the ball upwards, rather than just using your arms and shoulders to throw the ball.


There’s no doubting the wall ball exercise is physically demanding, from both a cardiovascular and muscular perspective.

The repetitive full range of motion with added resistance from the ball engages the entire body, and the explosive nature of the exercise promotes speed. This combination means it will elevate your heart rate and fatigue your legs, forcing adaptations in both of these areas.

Squat Form

If you’re new to squats, then wall balls are a great way to improve form. With the wall ball being held in the front rack position, it will help you maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.

Completing higher reps or sets will also help you develop muscular strength and endurance without loading up a heavy bar.

Explosive Power

If you’re not using your legs to explode up out of the squat, you’ll soon start to feel the fatigue in your arms. Correctly performing the wall ball exercise places plenty of emphasis on explosive leg movements, and this high repetition will develop the ability to execute repeated bouts of explosive movements.

Most of the time, a squat is done at a steady tempo with heavy weight, so the wall ball exercise reverses that notion, allowing for a faster more explosive squat with lighter resistance.

Burn Calories

Ok, technically every exercise does. However, the wall ball exercise is usually completed at high intensity. And with this engaging the full body in every rep, you’ll no doubt burn through the calories.

Functional Range Of Movement

The movement pattern of the wall ball squat is one of the best you can do in the gym. From a low squat position all the way up to fully extended legs, torso and arms. Taking the body through

How To Do The Wall Ball Exercise

Despite the wall ball exercise being a full-body exercise, it's not overcomplicated – one of the many reasons it's great for athletes of all levels.

We'll break down the movement into five simple steps, but first, here is an example of the wall ball exercise:

5 Steps To Perfecting The Wall Ball Exercise:

  1. Stand approx 1 meter away from the wall or rig.

  2. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, with toes slightly pointing outwards in a natural position.

  3. Place your hands under the ball and keep your elbows tucked in.

  4. Squat, look up at the target, and use your legs to help throw the ball as you come back up towards the top of the movement.

  5. Catch the ball above your head, and cushion it down to your shoulders as you sink into the next squat, doing this in one movement helps to maintain momentum through multiple reps.

Additional tips:

  • If you're struggling to hit the target, use a lower target, or try moving closer or further from the wall.

  • Start with a light weight and higher reps, and increase the difficulty gradually.

Wall Ball Alternatives

One of the key benefits of the wall ball is its full body engagement, working the body through a fantastic range of movement. But, what if you don’t have a wall, or a ball for that matter?

Here are two wall ball alternatives that will provide similar benefits:

  • DB Thruster

  • Jump Squat

DB Thruster

The dumbbell thruster is a great alternative to the wall ball exercise, following a similar movement pattern through a full range of motion. It's another great exercise to work on your squat from a front rack-type position.

With the DB Thruster, we're replacing the weighted ball dumbbells to add resistance to both the squat and the overhead portion of the movement.

Here is an example of the DB thruster:

Jump Squat

The jump squat is another fantastic wall ball variation.

By removing the weight from the wall ball, we can focus on the squat movement and explosive jump, building speed and power without the need for added weight.

Here is an example of the jump squat:

So, should you be doing wall balls?

Admittedly, wall balls probably aren't optimal for someone looking to pack on some serious size and strength. Check our tips for growing bigger legs if this is your goal.

However, we've provided you with more than enough reasons to include wall balls in your training, whether you're new to the gym or a seasoned functional athlete – wall balls can be utilized to improve various physical traits, and will fit nicely into most people's training.

Now it's time to mix up your workouts with wall balls!

. . .

Chris Beck is Senior Editor at Gymshark, with a passion for writing informative conditioning, health and fitness tech content. Chris is an avid gym-goer and sportsman, Personal Trainer, and also holds qualifications in Nutrition, Sports Performance, and is a certified Crossfit Level 1 Trainer.

Chris BeckBy Chris Beck

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