Slam balls are an awesome item of gym equipment. They’re simple, versatile, safe, effective, cheap, easy to store, easy to maintain, don’t take long to learn how to use and finally, are suitable for all fitness levels. In my opinion, they should be a feature of almost all home gyms.
I love them so much that I have 6 in my own gym…
The confusing part of buying a slam ball is which one do you get? It’s not like there’s an obvious difference in features, or perhaps even quality – it’s basically a heavy ball, right?
Well, yeah – kinda. There are ways to sort out the good from the bad though, as I’ll help you understand. I looked at dozens of slam balls when buying mine and what you learn very quickly is that there is a wide range of them, all with different uses, strengths and weaknesses. The differences between them will have a large impact on how you train with them and the kind of benefit you’ll get.
In this article I’ll share my favourite slam balls with you and explain why I’ve made the decision to rank them as I have. It’ll help cut down on your research time and steer you to a great choice very quickly.
If you’re in a rush and want to know my top 3, here they are…
If you’re looking for a great value, all-round usability and super reliable build quality then the Titan rubber tread slam balls are perfect for you. They are made from a super durable rubber with an excellent functional tread grip. The tread grip is deep, so if you don’t like a tread grip bear that in mind here.
I can’t imagine anyone will have any quality issues with these things – take out all of your anger on them and they’ll still sit there stoically, asking if that’s all you’ve got? The Titan slam ball is low bounce, ideal perfect for powerful slam exercises. It’s sand-filled, so that helps keep the bounce down.
The tread grip means business – it’s big, super grippy and won’t wear away. When sweat and fatigue get the better of you, you’ll still be able to pick these slam balls up easily enough. If you want to use chalk to offset the sweat, go ahead – the rubber coating will be fine with it!
The Titan slam balls are available in a huge range of weights (10LB-150LB), so there’s literally something for everyone in there. They’re also super easy to clean – blast them with the hose pipe to wash off the sweat and chalk and the job is done. Of course you can always scrub them with soap and a plastic brush if you need to.
Owners love it too – it has a 5* review score across the board…
These are the perfect home gym slam ball for the generalist. Robust enough to last, cheap enough to buy multiples, versatile enough to serve multiple functional training purposes. It beats all of its rivals and will give you years of faithful service. A clear winner in my eyes.
The Rogue medicine ball is a dynamic slam ball, more suitable for the high velocity throwing workouts. They’re an interesting hybrid design, capturing elements of a common rubber slam ball but combining them with a gel core and a higher bounce capacity. They’re only available in a range from 6LB – 30LB, which gives a hint towards their intended use.
The rubber is tough and durable, but the tread grip is subtle. This is a classic design for balls intended to be laterally thrown. You don’t need much in the way of grip when you’re using a ball mostly for throwing.
This ball is designed to bounce, so you can do a lot of throwing work against a wall and have the ball bounce back to you. This is a great feature for solo training and ballistic throwing work, but be careful – you don’t want a 30LB slam ball flying at you at full speed. It’ll knock you out quicker than a peak Mike Tyson!
The gel core means the ball retains its shape well, so you can develop a consistent throwing action. Gel core balls are better than sand filled balls for throwing because the sand moves around more so the shape is less consistent. They’re significantly more expensive than the Titan ball, but they’re a specialist item. If you need a ball for throwing, go with this one.
If you’re after a specialist ball for training your throwing capability, this is a fantastic option. It’ll keep its shape so you can develop a consistent technique, plus the construction of the range is top quality, as you’d expect from a Rogue product. Expect to pay top dollar, but know you’re getting a great item in return.
The MK D-Ball is an extension of the popular D-Ball range from Rogue. They’re built from the same durable black rubber, with a gel-feel core. They’re a serious bit of kit, with the weights extending from 14LB to 150LB. The entire range has a 14” diameter, which allows you to develop a consistency of technique that you can’t get with other balls.
There’s a dead bounce nature to them, which is perfect for slam ball and over the shoulder toss exercises. The textured (rather than tread) grip is perhaps a slight concern, given I’m not sure how easy it’ll be to pick a 150LB medicine ball off the floor when you’ve got sweaty hands! Better get your chalk ready…
I love the range of sizes here, because you can really scale up the lifting. A 150LB medicine ball will give you a serious challenge in the gym. The downfall here though is the 150LB MK D-Ball is over $460… the 150LB Titan slam ball is less than $240. That’s a huge difference, when there’s no real obvioius difference in quality.
Overall the MK D-Ball is an excellent medicine ball. It’s durable, it’s well made, offers a huge amount of training options and can take your fitness to new levels. If you’ve got the cash and love what Rogue do, you’re buying an excellent slam ball with the MK D-Ball.
The MK D-Ball is one of the most popular med balls Rogue makes…
The MK D-Ball is a legitimately excellent slam ball. It’s tough, durable, well made, feels great – does everything you want it to do. You just need to be willing to stump up the extra cash for the Rogue product. It’s not without concerns (lack of grip for heavy balls being the main one), but overall it’s a top product and will serve you really well.
Before we go any further I need to explain the differences between a slam ball and a medicine ball – they’re two different items with a different purpose, so don’t confuse the them. You’ll only end up disappointed if you buy the wrong type!
To add an extra level of confusion, in some cases you’ll see a slam ball referred to as a medicine ball, because some companies like to use the term ‘medicine ball’ as a blanket term for any heavy ball. For the purposes of clarity, all of the balls listed in this article are slam balls and can be used as such.
A slam ball is a dense ball that is designed to be thrown at high speed into a hard surface such as the floor or a wall. They’re used mostly as a power generation and conditioning tool.
Slam balls are usually made from a rubber or polyurethane outer shell and filled with a dense gel, crumbed rubber or sand. They’re generally designed to have zero bounce, but there are some specialist throwing balls that do bounce. Some come with a tread grip, others are smoother.
They’re not especially easy to hold for exercises such as Russian Twists etc because they aren’t ‘full’, round balls.
A medicine ball is a different texture and construction to a slam ball. Traditionally they are made from leather, or faux leather in the cheaper balls. They’re made from a series of panels that are stitched together. They’re made to be ‘fuller’ than a slam ball and have slightly more bounce capability (although not much).
Medicine balls are mostly used for power development, core work, using as a push up base and carry exercises. They aren’t designed to be slammed into the floor at high speed because it can destroy the stitching on the ball, making it fall apart.
They are usually much bigger than the other types of medicine balls because the filling tends to be less dense, so you need more of it. They also keep their shape well.
If you’re looking for a medicine ball, I wrote a review on my favorite medicine balls here.
As with any home gym equipment, your first decision is around the use case – who is using the ball, how are they using it and what are their capabilities? Thinking about your needs rather than your wants is always a good place to start.