Weightlifting Wednesday: Wall Ball Shots

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Weightlifting Wednesday: Wall Ball Shots

The wall ball exercise is a proven example of high functionality and a great predictor for cardiorespiratory health as a benefit to sport and human performance in general.

Typically you’ll see our wall ball shots being performed by our athletes with either a 6lbs, 10lbs, 14lbs, or even 20lbs for those more advanced squatters. Because even though this movement is an incredible test of cardio-respitory endurance, the squat is what makes or breaks this exercise.

Being able to send your hips back and down and squat low enough to illicit a nuero-muscular response is paramount prior to having an athlete perform this exercise under and specific load and high intensity. But, once the athlete has proven capable with their body weight squat, we can begin challenging them in many ways. One of which is the wall ball shot.

The wall ball drill combines two highly functional classical 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.

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. The athlete must ensure their core is braced as the ball descends back to their hands. Otherwise, the weight of the ball can topple even the sturdiest of athletes over.

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 exercise the benefit to mechanics and breathing technique are immense.

CrossFit has posed some relevant benchmarks for those of you looking to improve your ability in this movement: (these are not easy tasks. ensure your squat is on point prior to attempting these. No matter the weight of the ball)

  • 30 seconds: 12 shots
  • 1 minute: 25 shots
  • 1 1⁄2 minutes: 37 shots
  • 2 minutes: 50 shots
  • 2 1/2 minutes: 62 shots
  • 3 minutes: 75 shots
  • 3 1/2 minutes: 87 shots
  • 4 minutes: 100 shots
  • 4 1/2 minutes: 112 shots
  • 5 minutes: 125 shots
  • 5 1/2 minutes: 137 shots
  • 6 minutes: 150 shots

Here are some technique fundamentals:

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


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