Fitness tip – Medicine ball slam

Fitness tip – Medicine ball slam

by Evigan Xiao 22 Feb 2020

The medicine ball slam is one of my favourite go-to exercises for a variety of reasons. It’s a great way to warm-up the entire body through excitement of the nervous system. When it comes to building explosiveness, few can compete with it in terms of simplicity. It’s also a great full-body exercise with an emphasis on the upper body. However, how one slams the ball with ultimately determine the effectiveness of this exercise.

 

The premise of the medicine ball slam seems simple enough: you pick up a fairly heavy ball, then slam it into the ground as hard as hard as you can. Rinse and repeat for as many times as necessary. Yet, the devil is always in the details.

 

Despite being an exercise that emphasises upper-body work, the way your lower body moves does have an effect on the execution of the movement. One common error is for people to flex at the spine as they initiate the slam:

 

Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit

 

Not only does this leave a lot of power on the table, it also predisposes your lower back to injury. Subjecting your spine to repeated flexion at explosive speeds is akin to self-induced whiplash; just try swinging your head up and down abruptly and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Medicine ball slam with hip hinge:

Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit

 

Utilising a hip hinge will allow you to produce more power during the slam, while at the same time protecting your lower back. By pushing your hips back slightly and keeping a neutral spine, you’re also working your core musculature as stabilisers. Remember to keep those abs tight and braced!

 

An oldie but forever a goldie, the medicine ball slam has seen use in physical training programmes ranging from primary schools to collegiate levels. Its effectiveness is well-documented, but proper form should be practised in order for one to experience it first-hand. The goal is to slam the ball – not your spine – into submission!