Wall Balls – Exercise Guide, Muscles Worked, and Benefits
Mike Dewa BarBend (blog) 2017-08-18 11:54:21
Most of us know all too well the feeling of the lungs burning, arms flailing, and legs nearly buckling underneath us as we perform a huge number of wall balls in a metabolic workout. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, I have put together everything you need to know about wall balls, how to do them, and their benefits so you can treat yourself to a seriously metabolic and rewarding experience.
Wall balls are a movement that entails nearly every joint in the body to open and close repeatedly, making it a great way to hit a lot of muscle at once. Below are the main muscle groups targeted when doing wall balls, with greater demands placed upon them when higher rep ranges are performed (muscular endurance) and/or when heavier loads are used (muscular power/strength).
Wall Ball Benefits
Below are a few benefits of performing wall balls for corssfit exercise, as either a movement as a whole or within a metabolic circuit.
Functional movement, muscular stamina and endurance, and even some strength and power can all be developed by wall balls (either done for endurance with lighter loads or done in small explosive sets for max height on the throw for power). This versatile movement can be incorporated to enhance wall ball exercise of muscular fitness, movement, and cardiovascular health, all of which are critical components of one’s overall fitness.
Fast-Track to Perfect Squats
Goblet squatting is a great way to teach slow and controlled squatting to all levels of fitness. Wall balls are very similar in that they are front loaded which force individuals to properly descend into a squat position. The great thing about wall balls is that you can program a gazillion of them into a training session in a timely manner to add quality reps and motor movement to beginners and/or reinforce proper squat patterning to pros.
Upper Body Stamina
After a wall ball workout you will notice one of two things; your legs and glutes are rocked, and your shoulders and arms feel like Jell-O. The repeated launching of a 14-30lb ball (yea, 30lbs, but heck, why not heavier) high into the air with repeated eccentric contractions as you catch it can due some serious muscle damage. Increased upper body stamina plays a huge role in competitive fitness and even sports like boxing, basketball, and swimming.
Midline control and stability is necessary for about every movement that we do in fitness, sport, and life. The ability to control the midline via core strength, proper posture, and diaphragmatic breathing can increase endurance, work output, power, strength, and help to prevent injury. Squats, overhead pressing, and front loaded movements all do a wonderful job of reinforcing proper midline mechanics and increasing our abilities to remain strong and stable under fatigue. Runners, CF athletes, and fitness goers alike can all benefit from wall balls.
Wall balls for metabolic training are simple and brutal exercise when done for long durations and with significant loading. The act of squatting, throwing, catching, and absorbing and transferring energy in a highly cyclical fashion is demanding on the muscular and cardiovascular systems. Do it intensely, and you may even find yourself in a state of EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is the sweet spot for increasing your ability to do work while fatigued, increase caloric output, and elevate your metabolism.