Wall Balls – Exercise Guide, Muscles Worked, and Benefits

Most of us know all too well the feeling of the lungs burning, arms flailing, and legs nearly buckling underneath us as we perform a huge number of wall balls in a metabolic workout. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, I have put together everything you need to know about wall balls, how to do them, and their benefits so you can treat yourself to a seriously metabolic and rewarding experience.

Muscles Worked

Wall balls are a movement that entails nearly every joint in the body to open and close repeatedly, making it a great way to hit a lot of muscle at once. Below are the main muscle groups targeted when doing wall balls, with greater demands placed upon them when higher rep ranges are performed (muscular endurance) and/or when heavier loads are used (muscular power/strength).

  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteals
  • Hamstrings
  • Abdominals
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Lats
  • Erectors

Wall Ball Exercise Demo

Wall balls are a fundamental movement that entails perfect fluidity between a squat and overhead throwing motion, in a cyclical fashion. Below are a few exercise demos and video tips to help you increase your stamina, efficiency, and overall performance during this metabolic movement.

Here are some tips and tricks to maximize your wall ball efficiency and performance.

Wall Ball Benefits

Below are a few benefits of performing wall balls, as either a movement as a whole or within a metabolic circuit.

Increased Fitness

Functional movement, muscular stamina and endurance, and even some strength and power can all be developed by wall balls (either done for endurance with lighter loads or done in small explosive sets for max height on the throw for power). This versatile movement can be incorporated to enhance muscular fitness, movement, and cardiovascular health, all of which are critical components of one’s overall fitness.

Fast-Track to Perfect Squats

Goblet squatting is a great way to teach slow and controlled squatting to all levels of fitness. Wall balls are very similar in that they are front loaded which force individuals to properly descend into a squat position. The great thing about wall balls is that you can program a gazillion of them into a training session in a timely manner to add quality reps and motor movement to beginners and/or reinforce proper squat patterning to pros.

Upper Body Stamina

After a wall ball workout you will notice one of two things; your legs and glutes are rocked, and your shoulders and arms feel like Jell-O. The repeated launching of a 14-30lb ball (yea, 30lbs, but heck, why not heavier) high into the air with repeated eccentric contractions as you catch it can due some serious muscle damage. Increased upper body stamina plays a huge role in competitive fitness and even sports like boxing, basketball, and swimming.

Midline Stability

Midline control and stability is necessary for about every movement that we do in fitness, sport, and life. The ability to control the midline via core strength, proper posture, and diaphragmatic breathing can increase endurance, work output, power, strength, and help to prevent injury. Squats, overhead pressing, and front loaded movements all do a wonderful job of reinforcing proper midline mechanics and increasing our abilities to remain strong and stable under fatigue. Runners, CrossFit athletes, and fitness goers alike can all benefit from wall balls.

Metabolic Training

Wall balls are simple and brutal exercise when done for long durations and with significant loading. The act of squatting, throwing, catching, and absorbing and transferring energy in a highly cyclical fashion is demanding on the muscular and cardiovascular systems. Do it intensely, and you may even find yourself in a state of EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is the sweet spot for increasing your ability to do work while fatigued, increase caloric output, and elevate your metabolism.

More Wall Ball Articles

Take a look at all of our articles covering wall balls and other metabolic movements that you can add into WOD’s or your current training routine!

Featured Image: @crossfit40graus 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.