Centr trainers Luke Zocchi and Alexz Parvi sit opposite each other a throw a slam ball to and fro.
Luke Zocchi

5 slam ball exercises to build functional strength

Luke Zocchi

A slam ball is not just for stress relief.

With a slam ball you can tone muscle, challenge your core and supercharge your explosiveness. On Centr, we use slam balls in programs like the Functional Movement Challenge and Centr Circuit: Elevate+ because they’re fantastic for building functional strength.

And I’ll admit that picking one up and smashing it down is a great way to get those frustrations out, too.

I’ve lined up some of my go-to slam ball exercises to create a workout you can do anywhere. Just make sure there are no breakable objects around.

Centr trainer and chef Dan Churchill throws a slam ball against a wall in a grungy alleyway.

Centr slam balls are built to withstand the toughest workouts and come in four weights. Make like Dan and get yours at shop.centr.com.

Benefits of a slam ball workout

Functional strength training is all about building strength in foundational movement patterns like squatting, pushing, pulling and rotating. And because you’re always picking things up and pushing things away in your daily life, it makes sense to add equipment like a slam ball into the training mix.

A basic exercise, like picking up a slam ball, lifting it above your head, then slamming it on the ground will work muscles in your legs, arms, shoulders and core. And unlike a dumbbell, which can damage your floor (or you) when dropped, slam balls are literally made to be chucked at the ground. Handy, right?

Slamming, throwing and other dynamic slam ball moves can also dial up the cardio factor in your training.

Got your ball? I’m using a 10lb ball, but you can use whatever suits. My Centr Circuit: Elevate+ co-pilot Alexz will demonstrate modifications as needed.

Let’s get slamming.

1. Slam ball alternating lateral rotation + chest + overhead press

Functional movement patterns: Rotation, push, core activation

How to do it: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and hold the slam ball at your chest. Aiming for one fluid movement, rotate your torso, pivot your left foot and extend the ball out to the right. From this position, bring the ball back to your chest, then raise the ball above your head. As you bring the ball back to your chest, rotate and pivot on your right foot to extend the ball out to the left. Again bring the ball back to your chest, raise it above your head, then continue alternating rotations.

2. Slam ball alternating reverse lunge + high knee

Functional movement patterns: Lunge, balance

How to do it: Stand tall, feet slightly apart, holding the slam ball at your chest. Step your right foot back, dropping the knee toward the floor to go into a lunge, then as you push back up to standing, swing your right knee forward and up toward your torso. Return your right foot back to the floor, then step your left foot back and repeat the movements. Keep your upper body upright, core engaged and ball at your chest throughout.

3. Slam ball alternating single-leg RDL

Functional movement patterns: Hinge, balance

How to do it: Stand holding the slam ball in front of you at hip height, letting your arms hang naturally. Raise your right leg out behind you and – keeping your back straight – hinge at the hips, lowering your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor and the ball is hanging around shin height. Briefly pause at the bottom of the movement, then squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward to raise your torso and bring your leg back to the starting position. Raise your left leg out behind you and repeat.

4. Slam ball jumping slam

Functional movement patterns: Squat

How to do it: It’s the slam you’ve been waiting for! Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, holding the ball at hip height. As you jump your feet off the floor, raise the ball above your head, then slam it onto the mat in front of you with force. Squat to catch the ball, then rise up and repeat.

5. Slam ball ice skater taps

Functional movement patterns: Gait, balance

How to do it: Hold the ball at your chest. With a slight bend at your hips and knees, hop to the right, landing on your right foot and bringing your left foot behind the other leg, lightly tapping it down on the floor to stabilize the movement. Then launch off your front foot, squeezing through the glutes to hop to your left side. Continue alternating sides.

Looking for more functional movement motivation?

Luke Zocchi

Chris Hemsworth may wield the hammer, but it’s his personal trainer Luke Zocchi who cracks the whip. A certified personal trainer, Luke is renowned for his fast and efficient training methods, using weights and bodyweight to get maximum results in minimum time. He’ll also show you how to fuel your training with quick, easy and healthy recipes.

Luke Zocchi

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