What Are Wall Balls In Crossfit: CrossFit, a fitness phenomenon that has taken the world by storm, is renowned for its diverse and intense workouts, incorporating a wide range of functional movements and exercises. One such exercise that has become an integral part of CrossFit routines is the “Wall Ball.” If you’re new to the world of CrossFit or simply curious about the exercise, this introduction will provide you with an insightful overview of what Wall Balls in CrossFit are all about.
Wall Balls, also known as Wall Ball Shots, are a quintessential CrossFit Class exercise that combines elements of strength, endurance, and coordination. They involve throwing a weighted ball upwards towards a designated target, typically a marked spot high on a wall, and catching it upon its return. The beauty of this exercise lies in its simplicity, yet it delivers a full-body workout that challenges various muscle groups and cardiovascular endurance.
The equipment used for Wall Balls consists of a medicine ball, usually weighing 14 to 20 pounds for men and 8 to 14 pounds for women, and a designated target on the wall. Athletes stand facing the wall, holding the medicine ball at chest level, and perform a deep squat. As they ascend from the squat, they powerfully thrust their hips and throw the ball upwards, aiming to hit the target. The ball then descends, and the athlete catches it in the squat position before repeating the movement.
What Are The Benefits Of The Wall Ball In Crossfit?
Benefits of Wall Ball Exercises
Most moves combine upper- and lower-body engagement, “and work basically your entire body in one compound movement,” Heilig says. You can build strength in your shoulders, core, chest, arms, glutes, and legs in a single rep.
The Wall Ball is a staple exercise in CrossFit for good reason – it offers a multitude of benefits that contribute to overall fitness and athletic performance. Here are some of the key advantages of incorporating Wall Balls into your CrossFit routine:
Full-Body Workout: Wall Balls engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The squatting motion targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, while the throwing and catching of the ball work the shoulders, chest, and arms. This comprehensive engagement of muscle groups makes it an efficient exercise for building strength and muscle endurance.
Cardiovascular Endurance: Performing Wall Balls at a high intensity can get your heart rate up quickly, making it an effective tool for improving cardiovascular fitness. It blends strength and cardio elements, which is a hallmark of CrossFit workouts.
Functional Movement: CrossFit emphasizes functional movements that mimic real-life activities. Wall Balls simulate actions like lifting, pushing, and throwing, which are essential in daily life and sports. This functional aspect of Wall Balls helps improve your ability to perform everyday tasks with ease.
Coordination and Agility: The fluid motion of Wall Balls requires hand-eye coordination and balance. Over time, this can lead to improved agility and better overall coordination, which can be beneficial in various sports and activities.
Core Strength: To maintain proper form and generate power in Wall Balls, your core muscles have to work hard to stabilize your body. This leads to enhanced core strength and stability, which can help reduce the risk of injury in other activities.
What Is The Standard Wall Ball For Crossfit?
The general standard is a 20-pound wall ball to 10 feet for males, and a 14-pound wall ball to nine feet for females. What’s great about CrossFit, and functional fitness in general, is that we can modify it to fit your ability level.
In CrossFit, standardization is crucial to ensure fair competition and consistent workouts across different gyms and competitions. The standard wall ball for CrossFit adheres to specific guidelines to maintain uniformity. Here are the key standards for the standard wall ball used in CrossFit:
Weight: The standard weight for a men’s wall ball in CrossFit is 20 pounds (approximately 9.07 kilograms), while for women, it is 14 pounds (approximately 6.35 kilograms). This weight provides an appropriate challenge for athletes of different levels and ensures that the exercise is both safe and effective.
Size and Shape: The standard wall ball used in CrossFit is spherical in shape, similar to a traditional medicine ball. It should have a consistent diameter of approximately 14 inches (35.56 centimeters). This uniformity in size allows athletes to train and compete with equipment that meets the same specifications.
Grip: The wall ball should have a textured surface or a grip pattern that makes it easier for athletes to hold, especially when they get sweaty during intense workouts. A good grip ensures that athletes can maintain control while performing Wall Balls.
Color Coding: CrossFit often uses color-coding to distinguish between men’s and women’s equipment. While not a strict standard, it’s common to find men’s wall balls in blue or black and women’s wall balls in red or purple. This color-coding simplifies equipment selection during CrossFit workouts and competitions.
Durability: Wall balls must be constructed to withstand repeated throws against a wall, ensuring their longevity in a CrossFit gym setting. They are typically made with durable materials, such as synthetic leather or rubber, and are stitched securely to prevent splitting or leaking.
How Heavy Is A Crossfit Wall Ball?
Wall balls are usually made of vinyl with a padded outer layer that makes grip easier. They vary in weight, from about 4 to 30 pounds.
A CrossFit wall ball typically weighs either 20 pounds (approximately 9.07 kilograms) or 14 pounds (approximately 6.35 kilograms), depending on whether it is designed for men or women, respectively. These standardized weights provide an appropriate level of challenge for athletes of different genders and fitness levels.
Men’s Wall Ball (20 pounds)
The standard men’s wall ball in CrossFit weighs 20 pounds. This weight is chosen because it offers a significant resistance that challenges the lower body, upper body, and core muscles when performing Wall Ball exercises. It’s important to note that the weight is distributed throughout the ball, making it more manageable to lift and throw during workouts.
Women’s Wall Ball (14 pounds)
The women’s wall ball in CrossFit is lighter, weighing 14 pounds. This weight is chosen to provide an appropriate level of challenge for female athletes while still allowing for effective strength and conditioning workouts. Like the men’s wall ball, the weight is evenly distributed within the ball to ensure safe and controlled throws.
These standardized weights help maintain consistency in CrossFit workouts and competitions, ensuring that athletes at various skill levels can participate safely and effectively. It’s worth mentioning that while these weights are standard, CrossFit workouts can be scaled to accommodate individual fitness levels. Athletes who are new to Wall Balls or who have specific limitations can use lighter wall balls to build strength and technique gradually.
What Size Of Wall Balls For Crossfit?
Pick a ball that’s hard enough to be tough, but not too heavy that it compromises your form. In CrossFit, women typically use a 14lb ball and men use a 20lb ball.
The size of wall balls used in CrossFit is standardized to ensure consistency in workouts and competitions. The standard size for a CrossFit wall ball is a sphere with a diameter of approximately 14 inches (35.56 centimeters). This size is consistent for both men’s and women’s wall balls, providing uniformity in equipment across CrossFit gyms and events.
Here’s why the standardized size is important in CrossFit:
CrossFit prides itself on standardized workouts that can be replicated in various locations and during competitions. Using wall balls with a consistent size ensures that athletes have a familiar experience regardless of where they train or compete.
In CrossFit competitions, fairness is paramount. Having standardized equipment, including wall balls, ensures that all athletes face the same challenges and conditions, allowing for fair competition.
During Wall Ball exercises, athletes aim to hit a designated target on the wall. A consistent ball size ensures that the target height and distance are appropriate for all participants, making it a level playing field.
Wall balls need to be thrown and caught with precision to minimize the risk of injury. A standardized size helps athletes develop muscle memory and consistent throwing and catching techniques, reducing the likelihood of accidents.
Athletes can track their progress and improvement more effectively when they use consistent equipment. Using the same-sized wall ball for benchmark workouts allows athletes to compare their performance over time.
What Is The Ball Used For Crossfit?
These balls have been designed in such a manner as to absorb the impact of the collision with a rigid surface. Wall balls are often larger and made of vinyl with a padded outer layer thereby making them visible and convenient to catch while exercising.
The ball used in CrossFit is known as a “Wall Ball” or “Wall Ball Shot.” It’s a versatile piece of equipment integral to many CrossFit workouts and exercises. The CrossFit Wall Ball is designed to be thrown against a wall and caught, incorporating strength, cardiovascular endurance, and coordination into one exercise. Here are the key features and details about the ball used in CrossFit:
The weight of a CrossFit Wall Ball varies depending on whether it’s intended for men or women. The standard weight for a men’s Wall Ball is typically 20 pounds (approximately 9.07 kilograms), while the women’s Wall Ball typically weighs 14 pounds (approximately 6.35 kilograms). These weights are carefully chosen to provide an appropriate challenge for different athletes’ strength levels.
Size and Shape
The CrossFit Wall Ball is spherical in shape, similar to a traditional medicine ball. It has a uniform diameter of approximately 14 inches (35.56 centimeters). This standardized size ensures consistency in workouts and competitions, allowing athletes to become accustomed to the equipment’s feel and characteristics.
Surface and Grip
The surface of a Wall Ball is usually made of a durable material like synthetic leather or rubber. It often has a textured or grippy surface to help athletes maintain a secure hold, especially when they are sweating during intense workouts. A good grip is essential for safety and control when throwing the ball.
While not a strict requirement, CrossFit often uses color-coding to differentiate between men’s and women’s equipment. Men’s Wall Balls might be blue or black, while women’s Wall Balls could be red or purple. This color-coding simplifies equipment selection during CrossFit workouts and competitions.
CrossFit Wall Balls are constructed to withstand the rigors of repeated throws against a wall. They are stitched securely to prevent splitting or leaking, ensuring their longevity in a CrossFit gym setting.
What Is The Movement Of The Wall Balls?
The movement begins as a front squat and follows through to a push press/shove that sends the ball up and forward to the target from which it rebounds back to the throwers outstretched arms where it is “absorbed” back into the squat. In its entirety the wall-ball is quite simply a throw.
The movement of Wall Balls in CrossFit involves a combination of a squat and a throw, resulting in a dynamic, full-body exercise that challenges various muscle groups and cardiovascular endurance. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the movement of Wall Balls:
Starting Position: To begin the Wall Ball movement, stand facing the designated target on the wall, which is typically marked at a specific height. Hold the Wall Ball close to your chest with both hands, your feet should be hip-width apart, and your toes pointing slightly outward.
The Squat: Initiate the movement by performing a squat. Lower your body by bending at the hips and knees, keeping your chest up and your back straight. Aim to go as low as possible while maintaining good form. Ideally, your hips should descend below your knees to achieve a full squat position.
Powerful Extension: As you ascend from the squat, generate power by rapidly straightening your hips and knees. Simultaneously, use the force generated by your legs to propel the Wall Ball upward.
The Throw: While extending your hips and knees, forcefully throw the Wall Ball upwards towards the designated target on the wall. The throw should be explosive and controlled.
Follow Through: After releasing the Wall Ball, continue extending your arms and follow through with your upper body. This ensures a proper trajectory for the ball to reach its target.
Catch and Reset: As the Wall Ball reaches its peak, quickly move your body into a catching position. Receive the ball by extending your arms, and your goal is to catch it before it starts its descent. Bend your knees slightly to absorb the impact as you catch the ball in a squat position.
Return to Starting Position: After catching the Wall Ball, return to the starting position by standing upright. The ball should be held close to your chest, preparing for the next repetition.
Can You Jump When Doing Wall Balls?
Occasionally as athletes tire he or she is forced to jump (feet clear the ground) when throwing the wall ball. This is more commonly observed fault in shorter athletes. This is inefficient and incredibly taxing on the legs. This jump happens because the athlete is fatigued in either the legs, shoulders or both.
The Wall Ball exercise involves a squatting motion and a throwing action, but it does not include a jumping component. Here’s why jumping is not part of the Wall Ball movement:
The primary movement in Wall Balls is the squat. You start in a standing position, descend into a squat while holding the Wall Ball close to your chest, and then use the power generated from your legs to propel the ball upward as you return to a standing position. This movement focuses on the strength of your lower body and core, not on jumping.
Explosive Hip Extension
While the movement involves an explosive extension of your hips and knees to throw the ball upward, this is different from a jump. In a jump, you aim to propel your entire body off the ground, whereas in Wall Balls, you are propelling the ball upward while keeping your feet on the ground.
Safety And Control
Incorporating jumps into the Wall Ball movement could introduce an unnecessary risk of injury. The exercise is designed to be controlled and precise, with athletes focusing on the accuracy of their throws and catches. Adding a jumping component could lead to uncontrolled movements and increased risk of accidents.
In CrossFit, maintaining consistency in movements is essential for fair competition and tracking progress. Wall Balls are standardized exercises, and introducing jumping would disrupt this consistency and potentially lead to variations in technique and results.
While jumping is not part of the standard Wall Ball movement, CrossFit workouts can be highly varied, and you may encounter exercises that incorporate jumping separately. For example, box jumps, burpees, and double-unders (a jump rope exercise) are common CrossFit movements that involve jumping. These exercises are typically distinct from Wall Balls and serve different training purposes.
What Muscles Do Wall Balls Work?
“Wall balls are a great bang for your buck. With every rep, you’re targeting not only your quads, shoulders, chest, and core, you’re also working your glutes, hamstrings, and triceps,” said certified personal trainer Katie Bergstrom, also an instructor with the home workout program The Mirror.
Wall Balls are an excellent full-body exercise in CrossFit, targeting a wide range of muscles and providing a comprehensive workout. Here’s a breakdown of the primary muscles that Wall Balls work:
Quadriceps: Wall Balls engage the quadriceps, the muscles on the front of your thighs, as you perform the squatting motion to lower your body.
Hamstrings: The hamstrings, located on the back of your thighs, are activated when you descend into the squat and then when you return to a standing position.
Glutes: The gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, are heavily involved in the squatting phase and contribute to the power generated during the upward throw of the Wall Ball.
Abdominals: Your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques, play a crucial role in stabilizing your torso during the squat and throw phases. They help you maintain an upright posture and protect your lower back.
Lower Back: The erector spinae muscles in your lower back work to support and stabilize your spine throughout the movement.
Shoulders and Arms:
Deltoids (Shoulder Muscles): Wall Balls heavily involve the deltoid muscles, particularly the anterior (front) deltoids, as you lift and throw the ball. The anterior deltoids are responsible for the initial push of the ball.
Triceps: The triceps, located on the back of your upper arms, are engaged when extending your arms to throw the Wall Ball.
Trapezius: The trapezius muscles in your upper back are engaged when you catch the Wall Ball and during the follow-through phase.
Rhomboids: These muscles between your shoulder blades help stabilize your shoulder blades during the exercise.
Gastrocnemius and Soleus: The calf muscles are involved in maintaining balance and control during the movement.
Wall Balls are a fundamental and iconic exercise in CrossFit that encapsulates the essence of this intense and functional fitness discipline. These weighted spheres, when skillfully incorporated into CrossFit workouts, offer a myriad of benefits that contribute to a well-rounded fitness regimen.
Wall Balls, characterized by their standard weights (20 pounds for men and 14 pounds for women) and consistent size (approximately 14 inches in diameter), demand a precise and dynamic movement pattern. Athletes begin with a deep squat, engaging their lower body and core, and then explosively thrust upward to throw the ball against a designated target on the wall. The exercise is not only physically demanding but also mentally challenging, as athletes often aim to complete a specific number of repetitions within a set time frame or reach a prescribed target height.
The beauty of Wall Balls lies in their ability to deliver a comprehensive workout. They engage a multitude of muscle groups, including the legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves), core (abdominals and lower back), shoulders, arms, and back. This full-body engagement not only builds strength but also enhances cardiovascular endurance. Wall Balls are also functional, mimicking real-life movements like lifting and throwing, which are essential in various activities and sports.