Medicine Ball Slam Alternatives

Core strength is key to nearly everything we do as humans. Whether running, jumping, lifting, or twisting, a strong and stable core is key. For athletics (and those looking for a leaner midsection), explosive core training can be the missing link in your core strengthening routine. 

In this article we will briefly discuss a key plyometric movement for the core (medicine ball slams) as well as four great medicine ball slam alternatives to add your your current strength and conditioning routine.

Medicine Ball Slam Demo

Below is a video demonstration on how to perform various forms of medicine ball slams. Slams can be done with moderate and/or maximal intensities and can be done in a wide array of directions (horizontally, vertically, diagonally, etc) to properly train the full ranges of motion.

Why Do Medicine Ball Slams

Below are just a few benefits of performing medicine ball slams, each briefly described.

  • Total Body Plyometric Exercise: The ability to promote maximal power via forceful contractions at high velocities is key to explosive sports and movements, such as; sprinting, weightlifting, CrossFit, boxing, baseball/softball, football, etc
  • Metabolic Conditioning Purposes: Medicine ball slams are a total body, full range of motion, and energy consuming movement that can be used in many high intensity training programs to promote weight loss, athleticism, and increased fitness for nearly every level.
  • Ballistic Core Strength, Power, and Stability: The ability to promote explosive movement throughout a controlled yet fluid full range of motion is key to athletics, functional fitness, and injury prevention.

Medicine Ball Slam Alternatives

Below are a few alternatives to medicine ball slams that coaches and athletes can perform to receive many similar benefits. With that said, the medicine ball slam is often a highly valuable and irreplaceable movement when looking to bring about such physiological adaptations, therefore I suggest including them into training plans on a regular basis.

Sledgehammer Slams

In the event you have a sledgehammer and tire hanging around, go to town with this med ball slam alternative. The amazing thing about the sledgehammer is that you can train various angles of force production and unilateral movement at very high velocities. The need to also recoil the hammer after the slam forces athletes to react and absorb energy safely and effectively.


Whether done slowly or with high speeds, this movement can train many of the same attributes as the ball slam, but with the additional ability to train a wider range of motion. Whether done with cables, medicine balls on tethers, or an axe, woodchoppers can be a very functional exercise to increase core strength and explosiveness.


When looking to increase the explosive nature of the core, hip flexors, and neurological systems, short and intense sprints (linearly or laterally) can be an alternative to ball slams when placed in circuits and/or explosive sets. The ability to maintain core stability during high velocities will increase injury resilience and enable athletes of all levels to enhance stability during sprinting and other athletic movements.

Plyometric Core Training Variations

Whether this is ballistic sit ups, throwing a ball to a partner during core workouts, or simply fast and explosive core training, high emphasis should be placed upon maximal exertion in the movement. Plyometrics are key to force and power production, rotational power, sprint performance, and more; making the inclusion of them in athletic training programs paramount for optimal performance.

Train Your Core Better

Take a look at the following articles to build a stronger, leaner, and more athletic midsection.

Featured Image: @buffdudes on Instagram


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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.