How to do the Wall Ball Shot or Ball Throwing in CrossFit?

How to do the Wall Ball Shot or Ball Throwing in CrossFit?

Wall Ball Shot is one of the best known exercises in CrossFit, which many people have “love-hate relationship” with.

What is Wall Ball Shot?

The Wall Ball Shot is a strength-power weightlifting movement involving the upper, core and lower limbs.

Wall ball

This exercise requires a certain timing coordination to achieve an infinite number of valid repetitions.

Specifically, the Wall Ball Shot is a combination of a frontal squat with a medicine ball and a vertical throw towards a specific point (wall or target).

Technique for performing the CrossFit exercise

The effective and efficient technical development of Wall Ball Shots depends on the monitoring and maintenance of the following movement phases:

Initial position

We start by standing, at a distance of 40-50cm from the wall. The medicine ball will be supported on the floor and between the athlete’s legs.

Start of the movement

Medball Power Clean, to start movement in beginners; or Medball Squat Clean/Hang Squat Clean, to start the exercise for the advanced.

Medball power clean

Downstream phase

Medball Front Squat: the hands will be positioned in the centre-lateral external area of the medicine ball, focusing the eye-neck towards the target.

Medball front squat

We will bend our hips and knees (and excursion from the knee to the toe). We will maintain control and maintenance of the physiological lumbar curvature.

The knees break the parallel line of the thigh.

Ascending phase

Maintaining the position of the hands, spine and eyes, we will extend knees, hips and arms.

The throwing of the ball towards the wall will take place at the moment of maximum body extension.

Transition phase

Once the ball has been thrown, we can “relax” our arms, although we must keep our attention at all times, following the trajectory of the ball, waiting for it to fall.

We will receive the ball by cushioning it on our hands and shoulders, to begin the descent of our arms and the support of the ball on our shoulders-chests.

All of this is done through a coordinated chain of repetitions under continuous timing.

What do you need to throw the ball?

The medicine ball launch is a very complete global movement that requires very little material. Specifically, we only need the following:

  • A medicine ball: 9kg for boys and 6kg for girls.
  • A wall 3 metres high.
And, of course, the desire to start making and accumulating Wall Ball Shots.

How high do you throw the Wall Ball?

The height that has been adopted as standard in competition and as well as in the different wods, is 3 metres for men and 2.7 for women.

Wall ball movement sequence

How to make a valid repetition

A Wall Ball Shot is valid and will be accepted as a rep when the athlete performing the item meets the following 2 requirements:

  1. Breaking the parallel: taking the lower part of the glutei as a reference, the hips must go beyond the line of the knees once the front squat with the medicine ball has been received and started.
No Rep: not breaking the parallel during the descent phase
  1. Contact with the target (wall or board): the centre of the medicine ball has to hit the target (wall or board) at or above the specified height (3m men and 2m women)
No Rep: low target and no wall contact.

What muscles are worked with Wall Ball Shots?

It involves a high level of muscular collaboration: calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, core, pectoral, triceps, deltoid, trapezius and scapular muscles.

Benefits for your CrossFit training

The Wall Ball Shots are a chain of movements characterised by:

  • Multi-articular Weightlifting movement.
  • Stimulates muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Development of the vertical movement pattern.
  • Helps in breathing control.
  • Contribution to the improvement of coordination.
  • Low complexity in the teaching-learning process.
  • Can be performed anywhere: commercial gym, box, at ome and outdoors.

Differences between Slam Ball and Wall Ball Shot

Slam Balls and Wall Ball Shots are exercises with a series of differences that should be taken into account during the planning, programming, periodisation and prescription of the training.

Slam BallWall Ball Shot
Vertical towards the groundLaunch patternVertical towards a wall/board
Power Clean/Squat Clean/Hang Squat CleanDynamics of the beginning of the movementPower Clean-Shoulder Press and Squat-Shoulder Press
Power and Power-ResistanceStimulation orientationPower-Resistance and Strength-Resistance
From an anti-extension positionDynamic movementLower and upper limb extension

How to do the Wall Ball at home

Don’t wait any longer, add Wall Ball Shots to your home training routine today by following these instructions:

  • Get a 9/6 kg medicine ball (or use a basketball filled with beach sand).
  • Look for a 3m high wall (or a contact point at the specified height).
  • Warm up your lower, core and upper limb muscles, set a training goal

Wall ball shots

And start accumulating Wall Ball Shots!

Advice for Wall Ball Shots

  • Are you an amateur or advanced CrossFit athlete?
  • Do you love or hate Wall Ball Shots?
So, regardless of your level of training, tastes, skills… you should listen to and take into account these tips on how to improve Wall Ball Shots.
  • Avoid shoulder fatigue: wait for the ball with your arms down.
  • Control your breathing: take a breath during the descent phase and release it during the ascent phase. Even use two breaths per repetition if necessary.
  • Ensure valid repetitions: avoid high speeds, (they generate faults or invalid repetitions) and throws before completing the extension of the lower limb.
  • Be efficient: look for a comfortable and constant execution rhythm.
  • Control your workloads: start with low relative volumes and work your way up each week.
  • Always hit the target: ensure correct production of speed/power of the legs and precision during the throws.
  • Train the Air Squat and Medball Front Squat technique: a good squat is the basis of any perfect Wall Ball Shot.

Bibliography

  1. Glassman, G. (2017). La guía de entrenamiento del nivel 1. CrossFit©
  2. Crossfit© (2019). Wall Ball Shots. Crossfit©.
  3. Crossfitcitylines (2020). Do this to get better at Wall Balls. Crossfitcitylines.
  4. Nichole, K. (2019). Tips & tricks for avoiding shoulder fatigue during wall ball Shots. Crossfit Invictus.

Related Entries

  • We tell you all about the Front Squat in this link.
  • The Push Jerk is the ultimate vertical thrust power movement, do you know how to execute it correctly? Visit this article.
  • Can you train CrossFit in a conventional Gym? Our answer here.
Review of Wall Ball Shots

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HSN Evaluation: 5 /5
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About Ivan Sotelo
Ivan Sotelo
Iván Sotelo is a specialist in Physical-Sport Prevention and Rehabilitation, he has experience with professional football clubs. He writes articles in the HSN Blog and advice for workout routines.
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