Slam ball vs. medicine ball

Fitness Gear

When using a medicine or slam ball, use a weight you can comfortably handle and always be conscious of your form. Failure to maintain proper form during exercise can lead to serious injury.

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Are slam or medicine balls best? 

When you think of working out, exercises like weightlifting or jogging on a treadmill might be the first that come to mind. However, if you’re looking for alternative workout methods, don’t overlook the simplicity and effectiveness of exercise balls.

Slam balls and medicine balls are affordable workout tools that can help strengthen core muscles, but which is better? It depends on the kind of exercises you want to perform, but the key difference is that a slam ball is designed for throwing.

Slam ball

A slam ball is a weighted rubber ball that adds resistance to dynamic exercises like squats. Slam balls can weigh anywhere between 2-50 pounds and are ideal for tossing and throwing workouts. They’re filled with sand and are available with different textured surfaces.

Slam ball pros

Slam balls have a hard rubber shell that prevents them from bouncing or rolling, making them ideal for various kinds of exercises. Slam balls are versatile enough for nearly any medicine ball exercise and weightlifting in place of free weights such as dumbbells. Also, since they’re usually smaller, slam balls are generally less expensive than medicine balls.

Slam ball cons

A slam ball toss can be noisy and disruptive if you live in an apartment above someone else. Also, slam balls are heavy, so transporting them is a hassle if you want to work out in a different location.

Best slam balls

TRX Training Slam Ball

TRX Training Slam Ball

This slam ball has a super-thick rubber shell and a tire-like textured surface, so it’s easy to grip. It’s durable and absorbs harsh impacts effectively, so it’s perfect if you want a ball with little to no bounce back. 

Sold by Amazon


Amazon Basics Exercise Slam Ball

Amazon Basics Exercise Slam Ball

If you’re looking for a durable slam ball designed to withstand tossing exercises and improve your core strength, then look no further. This slam ball has a sturdy PVC shell and is excellent for CrossFit workouts. It’s available in several weight options and sports a slightly textured but smooth surface for superior grip and control. 

Sold by Amazon


Ethos Slam Ball

Ethos Slam Ball

This is one of the most affordable slam balls, and it has a soft exterior coating over a rugged and durable rubber vinyl shell. It’s built to last long and has a textured surface for improved grip. 

Sold by: Dick’s Sporting Goods

Medicine ball

Medicine balls are like slam balls, but they’re not meant to be thrown on the ground or bounce. They can be used for throwing and strength or endurance exercises, but they’re not ideal for high-impact activities. They’re available in different shapes and sizes and can be made with materials other than hard rubber, such as vinyl, plastic and leather.

Like slam balls, the best medicine balls are textured and durable enough to withstand various exercises and make excellent free weight substitutes.

Medicine ball pros

Medicine balls are generally larger, lighter and have softer surfaces than slam balls. Some medicine balls even come with handles, creating possibilities for more diverse workouts.

Due to their surface and construction, they’re better suited for workouts like push-up variations, planks and V-ups than slam balls, although performing all three is possible with either type of ball. Also, medicine balls are better free-weight replacements than slam balls due to their shape.

Medicine ball cons

Unlike slam balls, most medicine balls can roll and bounce, so they shouldn’t be used for throwing and catching exercises. They’re also much less durable and not as effective at absorbing high-impact shocks. Throwing a medicine ball with enough force against a hard surface will crack it and cause it to leak sand, which doesn’t typically occur with a slam ball.

Best medicine balls

Amazon Basics Medicine Ball

Amazon Basics Medicine Ball

It’s a basic medicine ball, but if you want to improve your cardiovascular strength, it’ll get the job done. It has a tough rubber exterior with a textured surface and can sustain ground tossing. It’s excellent for Russian twists, squats, sit-ups, planks and many other exercises. 

Sold by Amazon


Dynapro Medicine Ball

Dynapro Medicine Ball

This ball boasts a stylish black and yellow design and a durable rubber build. It’s one of the more versatile medicine balls as it has a dual-textured surface for a superior anti-slip grip and can handle being slammed. 

Sold by Amazon


Yes4All Soft Weighted Toning Ball

Yes4All Soft Weighted Toning Ball

This is an excellent ball for beginners looking to improve their flexibility and strength. It boasts a rigid PVC shell and weighs just 4 pounds, so it’s convenient for traveling and storage. It’s available in four stylish color designs and is also offered in a textured-surface option. 

Sold by Amazon

Should you get a slam ball or a medicine ball?

Most medicine balls these days are durable enough to handle some slamming and throwing exercises. However, unless they’re marketed as slam balls, they’re not ideal for those kinds of exercises. So consider which activities you’ll be doing more.

A slam ball is more versatile since you can use it for all kinds of medicine ball exercises; not all medicine balls can be used for all slam ball exercises. They’re also cheaper, so if you plan on performing throwing activities, the clear choice is the slam ball.

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them a lot of time and money.

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