Many people will now be familiar with the medicine ball – it’s become a popular piece of equipment in gyms as a versatile and fun addition to your strength training. It’s also an excellent option for home gyms because of the multitude of exercises you can do with it.
Medicine balls really force you to use all your major muscle groups and get your heart pumping to increase calorie burn and they’re perfect for beginners as you don’t really need to master your form in the same way you would a kettlebell for instance. They also come in a range of shapes, sizes and weights to ensure constant progression with strength and endurance training – so all-in-all an excellent addition to your workouts.
I’ve written a lot more on the benefits of medicine ball training, but if you’re already sold on incorporating them into your exercise regime but unsure what type to go for, here are my top-rated medicine balls to help you make your mind up.
There’s More Than One Type Of Medicine Ball
Medicine balls have really evolved over the years and now come in a multitude of textures and weights – some with handles, some without, some that are bouncy, some that aren’t – but they all serve the same purpose and will add a completely new dimension to your training. The key difference between a medicine ball and most other free weights is that they take your body through all planes of motion which more accurately represents how we move in our everyday lives.
I’ve laid out below my top rated medicine balls which cover all the main variations. Take a good read through the below and hopefully the information will give you a better idea of which type may be best to use in your training.
My Six Recommended Medicine Balls
Amazon Basics Medicine Ball
Price: $27 – $36 (£23 – £26)
Where to buy: Amazon
The Amazon Basics Medicine Ball really represents the staple of all medicine balls and is a great choice for those on a budget, or who are unsure and don’t want to spend a fortune upfront.
They’re a classic, weighted ball which are just as ideal for a gym as they are for home use and come in a range of six different weights ranging from four to 20 pounds (2 – 10Kg) which means they’re just as suited to those new to medicine ball training as they are to more seasoned users and so offer a good range of progression if you want to purchase more than one. The Amazon Basic Medicine Ball range is colour coded with bright stripes to denote the weight of each ball, which is also clearly printed on each one.
They have a textured, durable and rugged design which makes them easy to grip and they can be bounced off a wall or the floor, although they’re not recommended for slamming (see the Power Guidance Slam Ball below).
Use a lighter weight for core training and a heavier weight for strength and resistance.
- Sturdy rubber material
- Textured finish for increased grip
- Available in six different weights from four to 20 pounds (2 – 10Kg)
- Can be bounced off walls and floors
- Will help you develop strength, explosiveness, coordination and balance
- A good basic medicine ball that’s relatively inexpensive – so perfect for beginners
Garage Fit Wall Ball – Soft Medicine Ball
Price: $52.95 – $99.95 (£40 – £75)
Where to buy: Garage Fit
Wall balls are basically the softer, slightly bigger version of your standard medicine ball and, as their name suggests, are constructed to be thrown at a wall – often as part of crossfit. You would stand in front of a wall with the ball held at chest height, squat down and then spring back upwards as you throw the ball high in the air before it hits the wall and travels back downwards in time for you to catch it and repeat. Although they can help to develop strength, the main purpose of a wall ball is fitness and endurance – they’re incredibly effective at providing an intense, full-body workout that will ramp up your heart rate, ignite calorie burning and leave you in a mess on the floor within 60 seconds or so.
These Garage Fit soft ‘wall ball’ medicine balls are well-balanced and easier/softer to throw and catch They’re designed to absorb impact therefore minimizing the risk of injury in case you miss a catch or you catch the ball awkwardly, however they are still firm enough to withstand a tough workout and maintain their shape. They are slightly more expensive than a standard medicine ball but arguably more durable and a softer construction and they also look good. Made of durable and high quality leather, they have a unique stitched design to enhance your grip, protect your walls, and ensure durability – although if you get sweaty hands this could affect your grip in a way that the textured balls don’t. Although they are designed to be thrown against a wall as part of crossfit wall routines, they are also perfect for sit-ups, squats and core work.
They also come in a fantastic range of weights from anywhere between six pounds all the way up to 40 pounds which means not only are they great for beginners, but you have a huge scope for continuous development and challenge.
- Softer, safer alternative to standard medicine ball with reduced risk of injury
- Unique leather stitched design to enhance grip
- Versatile in that they are made to be thrown at a wall as well as used in functional core and lower body work
- Durable material means they won’t lose their shape or split through intense exercise
- Comes in a huge range of weights from six pounds all the way up to 40 pounds
SPRI Dual Grip Xerball
Price: Between $46 – $80 (£34 – £60)
Where to buy: Amazon
A variation from the traditional medicine ball, the SPRI Dual Grip Xerball features easy to grip handles which provides a little more confidence for those less seasoned users to stay in complete control of the ball and makes them perfect for targeting rotational and core exercises, especially obliques. In addition, they also provide some extra challenge as they give you the option to use one or two hands and therefore execute more dynamic and explosive moves, similar to a kettlebell. This means they’re not only useful for cross-body movement but also for imitating functional swings that you would use in tennis and golf for instance.
The SPRI Dual Grip medicine ball comes in seven different weight options from six to 20 pounds (2.5 – 10Kg) an exercise guide, and is made from textured material which makes it easy to grip on to.
- Dual handle design
- Easy grip
- Great for rotational core exercises
- Comes with exercise guide included
- Sturdy and robust
- Comes in seven different weights from six to 20 pounds (2.5 – 10Kg)
Jordan Tornado Ball
Price: £34.50 ($45)
Where to buy: Best Gym Equipment
Another slight variation on the traditional medicine ball, the Jordan Tornado Ball is a ball on a rope! The rope runs through the middle of the ball and offers added versatility for functional resistance training and anaerobic conditioning.
A half-way house between a standard medicine ball and a slam ball, the Jordan tornado ball is great for rhythmical stabilisation drills such as figure of 8 swings, explosive floor training like kneeling V-slams, rebound exercises against a wall, and dynamic training such as the standing lunge and slam. This ball is really great for anaerobic conditioning and improving your core function whilst adding even more challenge and fun to your workouts.
Made to withstand vigorous exercise, these balls are made from tough, long-lasting, texturised rubber for improved grip and come in four weights from 2 – 5 Kg (4.5 – 11 pounds) and can be used both at the gym and at home.
- Great for both anaerobic conditioning and resistance training
- Rope adds extra versatility and challenge
- Robust enough to be used as a slam ball, as well as for more traditional medicine ball exercises
- Four weights available from 2-5 Kg
- Colourful design with weight marked clearly on each ball
- 12 months warranty on all tornado balls
Power Guidance Slam Ball
Price: $46 – $88 (£34.99 – £65.99)
Where to buy: Amazon
The Power Guidance Slam Ball has been designed to withstand hard, repeated slams against hard surfaces – hence the name. Although many medicine balls will bounce well, many are not tough enough to withstand repeated force which is why, if you want to incorporate slam-based movements into your workouts, you should opt for something a little more heavy-duty.
These slam balls come in seven weights and sizes from 6 pounds (3 Kg) and nine inches in diameter, all the way up to 30 pounds (15 Kg) and eleven inches in diameter, so there’s a good range of resistance across the range to ensure constant progression if you opt to buy more than one.
The balls are made from sturdy PVC with a tyre-like tread around the exterior to provide really excellent grip. Their design construction means they absorb the impact of your throw so they don’t bounce or roll away and are a great option for more seasoned medicine ball users who want to add slamming into their medicine ball routine to help create a challenging, high-intensity workout.
- Sturdy, robust, PVC material and ‘no inflate’ design to withstand tough, high-impact workouts
- Tyre-like tread to ensure excellent grip, even with sweaty hands
- Available in seven weights and sizes from 6 pounds (3Kg) to 30 pounds (15Kg)
- Can be used for both slam exercises to create a high-intensity workout, as well as more traditional medicine ball exercises
Pro-Active Double Grip Medicine Balls
Price: Single ball from £12.50 ($16)
Full set from £149 ($198) without rack
Full set from £271.95 $362.86) with rack
Where to buy: Best Gym Equipment
If you’re looking to go all-in and purchase a full set of medicine balls then the Pro-Active Double Grip Medicine Ball range does bring the cost down a bit when compared to buying them individually, as well as providing a storage option. They’re of high quality too. Geared perhaps more towards beginner and intermediate users, the weight range is a little more limited than some other makes – ranging from 1 Kg up to a maximum of 10 Kg (2-22 pounds) but you do get everything in between with enough progression available to keep challenging you depending on the type and intensity of your exercises.
These balls are made from high-quality textured rubber offering good grip and they are designed to bounce so they’re also good for wall-based exercises. Clear markings show the weight on each ball and they come with a six-month warranty.
You can either buy individual weights from 1 – 5 Kg starting from £12.50 ($16) for the 1 Kg ball, up to £24 ($32) for the 5 Kg ball, or as a set of five or ten and there is also the option to buy a rack to store them in to help save space.
- High-quality, textured rubber for durability and good grip
- Available in 1 Kg increments up to 10Kg (2-22 pounds)
- Can be bought individually or as part of a set of five or ten balls
- Option to include a storage rack when purchasing a set offering savings compared to buying individually
- Clear weight markings printed on each ball
Medicine Ball Buying FAQs
- What is a medicine ball?
Medicine balls are ball-shape weights that are typically used for strength and conditioning and come in a range of sizes and weights ranging from anywhere between 1 – 12Kg (2-26 pounds). Not to be confused with inflatable exercise balls which are larger, lighter and designed to be sat upon to undertake exercises, medicine balls offer a very dynamic approach to strength and conditioning training. They’re great at developing core explosive power and all-over body conditioning as they’re designed to be thrown – something you can’t do (safely at least!) with other free weights such as dumbbells and kettlebells.
- What are the benefits of medicine ball training?
It’s a great way to add a bit of fun and diversity to your workouts which can be great at motivating you to exercise – especially if you’re getting a bit tired of your current workout routines. Medicine balls force you to use acceleration in your movements which develops explosive power as well as strength – something you don’t get from free weights in quite the same way. They also make you work in multiple planes of movement which can be limited when using dumbbells or kettlebells but instantly become more functional as you increase movement and acceleration throughout your body – which also has the added benefit of raising your heart rate and accelerating calorie burn to help torch fat.
They’re also great for beginners as they don’t require as much technical ability as, say, a kettlebell. If you’re new to strength training then medicine balls are a great place to start.
- How do you choose the right medicine ball?
Due to the range of weights and sizes, and in some cases shapes, it can be daunting trying to work out where to start if you’re new to medicine ball training. You need to be able to move the ball about with good form but ensure that it is heavy enough to leave you feeling fatigued after multiple reps. If you aim to throw the ball overhead and against a wall then it should be large enough for you to throw and catch it in both hands and heavy enough to ensure you recruit all the major muscle groups. If you’re going to use it for core work and targeted ab exercises then something smaller and lighter is better so you can focus on speed, reps and form. In general, it’s always best to start out lighter and work up to heavier as you develop your strength and stamina.
- What muscles do medicine balls work?
It depends on the type of exercises you’re performing but medicine balls can be used to target your upper body including chest, arms and shoulders, your lower body including quads, hamstrings and glutes and your core such as your abdominals and lower back. You can also target the whole body at once. Medicine balls can be used to replicate the types of movements you would use in certain sports such as jumping, squatting, throwing, lunging and bending and are ideal for developing speed, balance and agility as well as increasing your strength and stamina.
- Can anyone do medicine ball training?
Yes absolutely! A big appeal of medicine ball training is that it’s ideal for both beginners and athletes to develop strength, agility, balance and coordination and explosiveness. Little technical ability is required and you can start slow and work up to faster movements with more weight.
- What are some good medicine ball exercises?
There are lots of routines you can find online, including guides and video workouts on YouTube, which allow you to follow along with a fitness instructor. You should also be able to get advice and ideas for medicine ball exercises from your local gym instructor or personal trainer if you have one. I’ve posted a couple of workouts that focus on full body as well as core muscles which are suitable for both beginners and intermediate users, so feel free to check these out as well.
I hope this has provided you with some useful information to help you decide which medicine ball may be right for you and how to use one effectively to really get the best out of your workouts.
Have you used a medicine ball in the past or do you use one regularly as part of your workouts? Or maybe you’re new to medicine ball training and looking to start incorporating it into your routines? Whichever it is, comment underneath and let me know.
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