One of the most significant exercises used in Crossfit is Wall Balls. Wall Ball is both
simple and hard depending on how you perceive it. It is a full body weight bearing workout essential for strengthening the abdomens core muscles and lower back while improving the overall conditioning. It is also a plyometric meaning that the muscles exert maximum force within a short period to increase speed-strength.
In sports such as lacrosse or basketball, wall balls are just a series of drills done against the wall. Here, they are performed with a definite Crossfit burnout twist. The main idea of a Wall Ball is to throw a medicine ball upwards against the wall, catch it in a squat posture and then explosively spring it back out of the squat throwing the ball back up. Then squat catch, spring up and throw, squat catch, spring up and throw and repeat the sequence as many times as you desire.
Medicine ball training is among the oldest forms of strength and conditioning training. A medicine ball is a weighted ball and is roughly the diameter of the shoulders (around 14-15 inches). The balls were a staple of the 18th and 19th-century English gyms. Also, they were early references to the Persian wrestlers training with sand filled bladders dated back nearly 2000 years.
To perform a Wall Ball, you should begin by facing the wall almost 12-18 inches back. Ideally, the throw motion is much the same as that of basketball – start by squatting and keep the elbows down, and the ball held close to your chest. Unlike the basketball, you should descend into a squat posture and then explode in a throw. It is of great importance to perform a full squat. However, your rear must hit the medicine ball in case it was on the floor right behind you. Whether you take a breath in every throw or two, you should breathe deeply & calmly while synchronising the breath with your throws. Always keep your movements smooth and even on both the descent and the ascent.
The extension of your leg muscles while catching and sinking into a squat, then their quick contraction with every throw is now the plyometric part. Plyometric workouts are designed to develop as well as increase muscle power. Moreover, Plyometric emphasizes on the rapid stretch of the muscles followed by a swift shortening of the similar muscle. Soft bouncing jumps are a perfect example. Same as the Crossfit-style squat-thruster, a Wall Ball is mainly a squat push press combination performed continuously with light weights as a plyometric workout.
In the Crossfit exercises, Wall Balls are usually done as part of the couplet and /or triplet series together with pull-ups, sit-ups, or any other Olympic lift like the push-press in a 21-15-9 series. For instance, a triplet of twenty-one Wall Balls followed by twenty-one pull-ups and twenty-one weighted push-presses, fifteen balls, fifteen pull-ups, fifteen weighted push presses, and nine pull-ups, plus weighted push presses.
Originally the main objective of the game is to throw a medicine ball up 7-9 feet, but with the arrival of the Crossfit games the standard became ten feet for men and eight feet for women. The specified crossfit weight is 14lbs for women and 20lbs for men. In most cases, you can find lines at such heights scribed on the gym walls.
Other medicine ball workouts
1. Squat push. This exercise aims at strengthening arms, legs, shoulders, glutes and obliques. When doing squat push, you should keep weight on your heels for a squat and elbows soft especially when extending overhead.
2. Figure 8. The workout aims at strengthening legs, arms and shoulders. The closer the feet are when doing this workout, the tougher the challenge becomes. Besides, you can try this exercise on one leg, but always keep your knees soft as well as core braced together
3. Medicine ball circle squat. Always keep weight in your heels when squatting and the knees forward while you move the ball on the floor. Ensure you lengthen the spine when trying to reach the ground, but avoid rounding your back. Besides, touching the ground is not mandatory, but you can try to reach the floor as far as you can
4. Seated medicine ball trunk rotations. The closer your arms are, the easier the workout. To increase the challenge, try to touch the ball to the ground on the outside of your hip or lean back to put more tension on your abdominal wall. Also, you can try lifting a leg.