From Squatting To Slamming, These Are The Best Medicine Balls For Maximizing Your CrossFit WODs

by Cynthia Fetherlin

Medicine balls have been around for centuries. From the gladiators of ancient Rome to modern day athletes, the medicine ball is known for improving speed, balance, and core strength. They're especially great for CrossFit workouts because they add resistance to common exercises like squats and lunges and work well for interval training. The best medicine balls for CrossFit are those that are durable and have a textured grip to keep them from slipping during a workout.

The most common types of medicine balls used in CrossFit are similar to the size and texture of a basketball, though much heavier. They are typically crafted in a rubber or leather material and filled with sand or gel materials. They bounce off surfaces, so they're better for lifting or adding resistance to your workout routine.

In addition to traditional medicine balls, there are also two weighted tools used at a box:

  • Slam balls: Great for "slamming" or throwing on the floor, these are usually filled with sand and have more give than others, so they won't bounce back. Keep in mind, when you're using a medicine ball for slamming, it's important that it does not bounce. Ones that bounce are harder to control and has the potential to cause injury.
  • Wall balls: These are meant to be thrown against a wall. Like slam balls, they're usually filled with sand. What makes them different is that they have a soft outer shell that's meant to absorb impact when tossed. These kind also tend to be bigger than other medicine balls.

When choosing the best medicine balls for CrossFit, it's also important to consider size and weight. If you're a beginner, it may be better to start lighter (weights start at 4 pounds and can go as heavy as 60 pounds) and smaller (diameter range is 6 to 14 inches). If you have small hands, it may be easier to grip a smaller one than larger ones. But when it comes to what size medicine ball for CrossFit, choosing one that you can easily grip during a fast-paced workout is key.

Check out the best medicine balls on Amazon below.


The Best Overall Rubber Medicine Ball

With 4.6 stars and more than 1,600 reviews, this rubber medicine ball is one of the highest rated on Amazon. The textured grip is great for holding onto during high intensity workouts and is ideal for both upper and lower body exercises. Because it bounces off surfaces, it's better for lifting rather than throwing. Several users rave about how durable this medicine ball is — one even reports that the quality is similar to what you'd find in a gym. It's available in a wide range of sizes, from 4 to 20 pounds. So whether you're a beginner or seasoned pro, this ball is suitable for any fitness level.

One thing to keep in mind is that some users say the grip can be a little slippery when it's new. Washing the ball with dish soap and water when you first get it can help improve the texture.

What fans say: “Love this! The weight is perfectly distributed through this ball and it’s very high-quality. It bounces if you throw it, [so] make sure that’s the kind you want (I have one that’s softer and is like a sandbag, but I wanted one that’s more like a basketball). I use this for ab exercises, to do push-ups or planks [...] and many other things.”

  • Available weight range: 4 pounds - 20 pounds


The Best Medicine Ball for Slamming

This thick, durable ball is great for upper body workouts. It has a textured grip so it's easy to hold and the sand filling makes it ideal for throwing to the ground or against a wall without it bouncing back. It's designed for slamming so it can withstand a lot of impact. Users rave about how durable it is, saying they've had theirs for years, and it's still able to hold up well even during the most intense workouts. The only downside to this pick is that the weight options start at 10 pounds, so if you're looking for a lighter ball for slamming, this may not be suitable.

What fans say: “Great super awesome item! This is a slam ball and DOES NOT bounce. It is a great exercise source and gives you an awesome, full-body workout and can make you feel the burn.”

  • Available weight range: 10 - 60 pounds


The Best Wall Ball

This wall ball is ideal for throwing against a wall [or tossing to a partner   see note in intro]. The soft shell covering absorbs impact and the sand filling keeps it from bouncing. However, some people have mentioned the covering can become a little slippery when you sweat. Also, keep in mind, this ball is quite large compared to others. While most medicine balls increase in size depending on the weight, this one is 14 inches in diameter regardless of weight. If you have smaller hands, it may be difficult to hold on to, but the larger size is ideal for improving balance and coordination.

What fans say: “I absolutely LOVE my new J/Fit balls! They are very sturdy, the seams are sewn very well and they feel good in my hands. Well worth the investment, these will last for years and years!”

  • Available weight range: 6 - 30 pounds


A Medicine Ball Set To Add To Your At-Home Gym

This medicine ball set is a great way to outfit your own gym or workout space. With five different weighted balls to rotate between, you can easily go from high-intensity workouts to slower, strength-building ones with ease. Each medicine ball has a soft, leather covering that's great for absorbing impact when tossing against a wall. They do increase in size with the heavier they are, so the lightest is about 6 inches in diameter and 4.4 pounds.

What fans say: "Holding up quite well in an environment that uses these balls all day! I actually bought another set because they were priced right."

  • Weight range: 4.4 pounds to 15.3 pounds


Also Consider: This Medicine Ball Tree for Easy Storage

A home gym isn't complete without a place to store all that equipment. This medicine ball tree can store up to five medicine balls of almost any weight. Amazon reviewers love how sturdy it is, noting that they use it to store other workout equipment aside from just medicine balls, too. One thing to keep in mind — some users say it can be a little complicated to assemble. They suggest using the longer screws on the bottom and shorter ones at the top to ensure that it fit together nicely. Also, using a wrench to tighten all the bolts will keep it sturdy.

What fans say: “We recently added a workout room in our home and I wanted to get a set of medicine balls for ab work. This rack is very high-quality, assembles quickly even when done by yourself, and looks great."

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.