Medicine Ball Slam

How To Do A Medicine Ball Slam
By Alli McKeeMarch 1, 2016

Medicine Ball Slams

Medicine ball slams are a fantastic exercise for developing power, particularly in the upper body. They also strengthen the muscles of the upper body, and anterior core.

Equipment needed:

You need a medicine ball to perform the medicine ball slam exercise. It is up to you whether you use a ball that bounces, or a ball that does not bounce.

Ability level:



Women of a beginner fitness level should perform this exercise using a light medicine ball. If you struggle to hinge your body down to the ball without rounding your lower back, you should opt for a ball that bounces.


The medicine ball slam is a great option for the intermediate lifter, and is pretty versatile as it can be placed at the beginning of the workout as part of an active warm-up.  You can also perform this exercise on its own, you can pair it with another exercise as part of a superset, or can you even make it part of a metabolic conditioning circuit. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps of the medicine ball slam.



Women of an advanced fitness level can perform the medicine ball slam the same way as described for intermediate lifters. However, you can increase the resistance, or can add in a rotational component to the slam. If you do so, make sure the movement is coming from your hips and thoracic spine, and not your lumbar spine (lower back).

Benefits of Medicine Ball Slams:

There are many medicine ball slam benefits. How a woman chooses to use the medicine ball slam is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much weight is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where the exercise falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general, the medicine ball slam can be used to do any or all of the following:

  • increasing upper body strength, especially if a heavier ball is being used
  • increasing upper body power
  • increasing core strength, particularly the anterior core
  • building muscle
  • fat loss (if your diet and exercise routines are conducive to fat loss)
  • increasing conditioning (if used as part of conditioning circuits)

How to perform a Medicine Ball Slam: 

  • Grab a medicine ball and get into an athletic stance. Your knees should be slightly bent, and your feet about hip width apart. Make sure that your weight remains in the mid-back portion of your feet but keep your toes down, particularly your big and baby toes. This will improve your stability and strength, and ability to perform the exercise.
  • Before you lift your arms to slam the ball, take a deep breath in (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core (imagine that you’re about to block a soccer ball with your stomach), and lightly tuck your rib cage down towards your hips (close the space in your midsection).
  • Now lift your arms as high as you can without arching your lower back, and shrugging your shoulders, and slam the ball to the ground.
  • Stop when the ball is overhead, instead of allowing it to drift behind your body.
  • You can exhale as you are slamming the ball
  • Once you have slammed the ball, if you are using a ball that does not bounce, lower yourself down to the ball by hinging your hips backwards and bending your knees, not by rounding your lower back. As for the hip hinge, you can pretend that you are trying to push your hips backwards into a wall that is behind you.
  • When you are picking up the ball, make sure that it is right between your feet and is not too far ahead of you. Otherwise, it will make using proper form very challenging.
  • When you are bending down to the ball, do not allow your knees to collapse in or fall out.
  • Return to the starting position. Reset, and repeat for the desired number of reps.

Video Transcription: 

Now I am going to demonstrate a medicine ball slam. There are a lot of different ways to do a medicine ball slam, depending on your personal preference and what kind of ball you have (what kind of material it is). I am going to talk about a couple of key points. When you bend over to get the medicine ball you want to make sure you are pushing back into your hips and not rounding at your lower back. So you push back into your hips, when you bring it up you want you only want to bring the ball as high as you can while you can keep your ribs down. If you bring the ball up high and you can't keep your ribs down, then you go to slam it, essentially you are driving the movement with your lumbar spine. So if you do this over and over again with a lot of force that's not a good long term strategy for your lower back. You are going to make sure you push back into your hips to pick it up, you only bring it as high as you can keep your ribs down and you brace your core really hard and slam it as hard as you can. You also want to throw it right in between your feet so it doesn't get away from you.

I am going to demonstrate: push back into your hips, pick it up, only come up as high as you can keep your ribs down, and slam it as hard as you can, pick it up. As I mentioned, there are a couple of different ways to do it depending on what kind of ball you have, you might slam it and it might bounce all the way back up. Make sure you check that before you do it, we have had people slam it and bend over to get it and get whacked in the face before. So make sure you know how high the ball is going to bounce before you throw it. Other people will take a ball of this material and slam it down, and catch it. It really is whatever your preference is. As long as you are pushing back into your hips, keeping your ribs down and bracing your core and throwing it as hard as you can you will be fine. That's a medicine ball slam


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About the author:  Alli McKee

Alli is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. She's contributed to and modeled for a number of major publications including Oxygen magazine and the New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged. You can find out more about Alli on her personal blog at

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