The Wall Ball: Exercise Select

Introduction to the Wall Ball

The ‘wall ball’ is a movement commonly done by individuals participating in fitness in a CrossFit environment. The movement has often been misinterpreted as a squatting maneuver. In reality, the movement is much more dynamic in nature.

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 for the client. 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

How to Coach the Wall Ball

Coaching the movement is very simple. However, determining if the client should be doing it is not simple. It requires some preliminary assessment of movement and an understanding of the clients capabilities is vital to proper coaching of movements.

  • Ensure the client has adequate right to left balance before prescribing – The wall ball is a strength-speed activity. Strength speed activities require a great deal of coordination and motor control than absolute strength movement. If the client doesn’t have adequate motor control, adequate absolute strength and can’t express force, do not prescribe them wall balls. If the client needs to work on these movements be sure to address right to left muscular balance, shoulder and core strength before prescribing.
  • Determine the Client’s Goals – The intent of practicing wall balls differs greatly between your average fitness enthusiast and a CrossFit competitor.

This guide may seem a bit counterintuitive when it comes to coaching the specific wall ball movement. However, knowing when not to give a client is the mark of an excellent coach. The existence of a movement is not a justification for giving it to a client, and the wall ball is an excellent example of this.

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