Workin’ The Wall Ball


At CrossFit, we practice moves that present high functionality and cardio respiratory benefit to sport and human performance in general. Right?  Well, this includes your favourite… The Wall Ball!  This exercise is mostly a front squat and push-press combination.  Awkward, and exhausting, yes.  But, the functionality of throwing or shooting an object from overhead and standing up is evident!

Here’s a breakdown of the move, as detailed in the CrossFit Journal, for all you curious folks:

For this exercise, you will use a Dynamax Medicine Ball and a flat vertical target (originally the wall and hence the name) located about 8-10 feet above the ground.  The movement begins as a front squat and follows through to a push press/shove that sends the ball up and forward to the target from which it rebounds back to the throwers outstretched arms, where it is “absorbed” back into the squat.  In its entirety the wall-ball is, quite simply, a throw.

When perfected, each shot looks identical to the one before, and the ball’s contact and departure are gentle and smooth.  If the athlete endeavors to quiet the drill, the benefit to mechanics and breathing technique are immense.

The wall ball drill can be made as difficult as needed by increasing the weight of the ball, moving back from the target, or raising the target.

Now here’s a challenge! Are you up for it?

Start and see how long you can continue hitting these milestones:
30 seconds: 12 shots
1 minute: 25 shots
1 ½ minutes: 37 shots
2 minutes: 50 shots
2 ½ minutes: 62 shots
3 minutes: 75 shots
3 ½ minutes: 87 shots
4 minutes: 100 shots
4 ½ minutes: 112 shots
5 minutes: 125 shots
5 ½ minutes: 137 shots
6 minutes: 150 shots
On failure (falling behind), rest and try again. Over time you want to get to where you can do 150 shots in 6 minutes or less.  (The best time for 150 shots at a target 10 feet high with a 20-pound ball belongs to Mike Weaver at 4:52.)

If you have the resources, it might be best to master the drill (6 minutes/150 squats) with a 4-pound ball and work your way up to the 20-pound ball. (Dynamax has balls at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 pounds. And at the Zone, we don’t have quite as many choices, but there are a few!)

Here are some Wall Ball technique fundamentals:

  • Each rep begins with a rock bottom squat,  feet flat on the floor
  • Keep the elbows down and in
  • Keep the ball low to the chest
  • Don’t let the ball obstruct your view of target
  • Launch with little finger roll and push (Hard to picture, so play around with it.)
  • Make ascending and descending movements the same
  • Minimize breathing and ball contact noise
  • Breath deeply and attempt to synchronize your breathing to your shot rate

As much as we love to groan when they come up in a WOD, Wall-Balls comprise two highly functional and classic weightlifting movements brought together at light loads and extended duration to create a super-potent metabolic conditioning tool with an enormous potential for increasing athletic performance.

Have fun, kids!


Power Yoga today at 10:45am, come drop in!  Your first class is FREE, or $10 (including HST).

Foundation Seminar is on Sunday, October 17th @ 9:00am.  Register by emailing

Parents: Due to the Foundations Seminar happening at the Zone this Sunday, CrossFit Kids and Teens classes will be held in the gymnasium at Glenlyon Norfolk School.  Email for directions.

Today’s Workout:

Buy In: Max Wall balls in 2 minutes

WOD: Super 8 Plus (5RM)

This wod has two parts, combine them both to get your overall score.

Part 1: Push Press 5 x 5

Part 2: Super 8 Clock set to 8 minutes –

  • Complete an 800m run

then AMRAP of:

  • 8 double unders
  • 8 sumo deadlift high pulls (65/95)
  • 8 barhop burpees

* total reps completed in the amrap plus your 5RM is your score

* Compare to Super 8 Plus on Sept. 21, 2010

Cash Out: Mobilize it! Do a Mobility WOD to stretch out your shoulders and hips.


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