THE WALL BALL
The wall ball is a compound movement where the athlete holds a medicine ball while performing a front squat, and then as the athlete comes out of the front squat position, he/she uses a push press motion to throw the medicine ball overhead and subsequently hit a target up on the wall. Similar to the thruster, the wall ball requires great core stability and focus on technique to ensure the movement is completed efficiently and safely. Athletes should feel the upper body and lower body activated as they complete the wall ball.
Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.
Set Up Arm’s Width from the Wall: To maintain proper form throughout the movement and also create efficiency and ease of motion while performing the wall ball, set up by standing about arm’s width away from the wall. If you are too close or too far, you will find it much harder to accurately perform the wall ball while maintaining correct form, and it will be much harder to hit your target.
Remember the Basics: As you perform the wall ball, keep the basics of the air squat in mind: keep your feet about hips’ width apart; ensure toes are straight forward or possibly slightly angled out, depending on your mobility; keep your weight in the heels with your butt back; stay focused on moving the knees directly out over the feet; and maintain an upright chest. All of these are essential to perform the squat without injury.
Place Ball in Front Rack Position: Whenever you do a wall ball, you want to start the movement by holding the ball a front-rack position, meaning the ball is held in your hands, with hands staying up and in front of your shoulders. Focus on holding onto the ball with your hands below the ball versus holding onto the sides, as this will create the best possible pressing or throwing position with your arms. Keeping the hands below the ball and your elbows in toward your body also ensures better accuracy while attempting to hit your target on the wall.
Use Hips to Get the Ball Up: Just as with the push press or thruster, use the upward momentum from your squat and energy in the hips to help you throw the ball in the air with greater speed. Focus on accelerating from the bottom of your squat and popping your hips, almost like you’re jumping, and as you do so, throw the ball upward into the air.
Smooth Singular Motion: When starting out, many athletes attempt the wall ball as a combination of two separate movements, a front squat followed by a push press. However, you should feel as if you are performing a singular smooth motion, transitioning from movement into the next without pausing at the top of the squat before pushing the ball upward. As you move from one rep into the next, you will feel yourself moving downward into the squat at the same time as you catch the ball and hold it in a proper front rack position. This may take coordination and practice to link reps together.
SCALING: Sometimes our mobility or lack of strength can hinder us as we attempt to perform the wall ball with proper form. Remember: Scaling isn’t a negative thing! It will help you gain strength while staying in a safe position until ultimately you can perform the movement in its entirety. Stay encouraged that as you continue on your fitness journey, you will find that you won’t have to scale as significantly or as often.
Different Weights and Heights: Depending on your strength and ability, you may use a different weight of ball than someone else, and you may use a different height for your target. Target heights are eight, nine, or ten feet up on the wall, and balls differ between 10, 14, and 20 pounds. Use the proper height and weight to ensure you can complete a series of wall balls as outlined in the workout, and to prevent injury.
Focus on Coordination First: Although wall balls are often performed in workouts to achieve maximum speed, it is more important to focus on proper form and coordination versus pushing quickly through a set of wall balls with improper mechanics. Always ensure your form is correct, and if you find yourself catching the wall ball off-center, stop, get back into the right position, and then complete a proper rep.
QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.
METABOLIC CONDITIONING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage
Fierce Play’s Metabolic Conditioning Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.