Working out is a great physical form of medicine, so when it comes to switching up your routine and trying something new, one piece of equipment seems obvious — the medicine ball. It’s right there in the name.
In the most basic terms, a medicine ball is a heavy and solid rubber ball that is used when working out. It comes in a variety of weights, typically starting at four pounds and going up in one and two-pound intervals, similar to free weights. It can be small enough to fit in your palm or big enough that it looks like a basketball, but don’t be fooled. You definitely can’t dribble with a medicine ball.
What To Look For In A Medicine Ball
Like free weights, it’s a good idea to have a range of options when it comes to medicine balls, with different sizes and textures. Some medicine balls are designed for slamming exercises, while others focus more on grip for high repetitions.
We’ve included medicine balls with handles, small sizes for toning, and larger medicine balls for core stabilizing exercises. Depending on the types of workouts you prefer, you may only need one style or all three.
Know the difference between slam balls and medicine balls. We’ve included both on our list because while slam balls can be used as medicine balls, not all medicine balls can be used as slam balls. Slamming a medicine ball can be bad for the ball and your floors.
How We Chose The Best Medicine Balls
Medicine balls can often be incorporated into your existing workout and typically center on arms and stabilizing the core. We included a wide variety of medicine balls, including slam balls and toning balls, to help hit several workout styles. All the medicine balls on our list are great for solo or group workouts.
If you’re just starting out and want to find out if the medicine ball is right for your workout, we’ve got some great options. And spoiler, medicine balls are great for everyone.
1. AmazonBasics Medicine Ball
AmazonBasics Medicine Ball is a great intro to the world of medicine balls. The classically designed medicine ball, which has a sturdy rubber construction, is available in 4 to 20 lb options and can bounce on hard surfaces (only on rubber floors), making it ideal for slam workouts. The medicine ball has a huge following since its conducive to traditional medicine ball workouts and can be used post-workouts, with the ability to do foam roller-inspired stretching. AmazonBasics also sells the medicine ball in sets with kettlebells and free weights to help build your at-home gym collection.
Pros: Several sizes available and color-coordinated for easy identification, can be bounced on rubber floors, excellent for post-workout stretching.
Cons: The medicine balls arrive with a strong chemical smell.
2. Champion Sports Exercise Medicine Balls
Whether you’re a traditionalist who is getting tired of rubber in their gym or you’re in need of a medicine ball with a no-slip grip, the Champion Sports Exercise Medicine Ball is a great option. The leather medicine ball has a fun retro look and is available in a range of sizes starting from 4-5 pounds and going up to 21-22 pounds. The medicine balls each have their own accent color depending on the size and get slightly bigger as the weight increases. Made with reinforced stitching that is designed to last through several workouts, the exterior synthetic leather used on the Champion medicine balls has a supple texture that provides excellent grip even when users begin to sweat.
Pros: Traditional design, a wide range of weights, made with reinforced stitching.
Cons: The ‘ball’ is more of a sphere shape.
3. Yes4All Slam Balls
If you need a durable ball with a heavyweight exterior, the Yes4All Slam Balls can stand up to tough workouts. Ranging in weight from 10 to 40 pounds, the high-density slam balls are covered with a textured PVC shell that provides an excellent grip and can handle repeated slams. Designed for Crossfit workouts, the Yes4All Slam Balls help to burn calories and improve muscle mass, whether they’re being slammed or used as a more traditional free weight for squats and lunges. The slam balls won’t bounce or roll when placed on the ground and provide a solid grip even during sweaty workout sessions.
Pros: High weight options, textured exterior for Crossfit workouts, won’t bounce or roll.
Cons: The tread on the ball may cause friction during repeated reps.
4. ZELUS Medicine Ball with Dual Grip
If you can’t decide between free weights, a medicine ball, and a kettlebell, the ZELUS Medicine Ball with Dual Grip has a little bit of everything. Made from odorless, eco-friendly rubber, the Zelus has dual grips on either side of the ball, which help to create a secure handle during workouts. The anti-skid texture on the ball makes it convenient to grip anywhere and the durable rubber shell helps to extend the life of the ball.
Pros: Dual handles, odorless, eco-friendly rubber base, anti-skid finish.
Cons: The Zelus is only available in 10 and 20-pound options.
5. TRX Training Slam Ball
For a slam ball that boasts an impressive weight range, there’s the TRX Training Slam Ball. Starting at 6 pounds and going all the way up to 40 pounds, the TRX has the largest offering of weights to help fit every workout. The textured, thick and rugged surface on the ball provides a secure grip and protects the ball for slam exercises. The durable rubber shell helps to absorb the impact once the ball has been slammed, making it safe for Crossfit exercises. Filled with sand, the weight inside the ball can shift, forces users to engage their core and get more of a stabilizing workout.
Pros: Durably made, wide weight range, texture surface for gripping.
Cons: All the slam balls are the same color regardless of weight, which can make it challenging to differentiate the balls.
6. A2ZCARE Toning Ball
If you’re looking for a medicine ball that can be incorporated into traditional weight training workouts, as well as yoga, pilates, or if you’re dealing with an injury, we recommend the A2ZCARE Toning Ball. Unlike most medicine balls, the A2ZCARE has a durable and soft PVC shell and is packed with natural sand, which allows for the ball to be compressed and react to your weight. The ball is available in a literal handful of sizes, with the makers suggesting you select a ball that is sized to fit in the palm of your hand. Starting at 2 pounds and going up to 10 pounds, the toning balls come in bright, bold colors that correspond to their weight.
Pros: Excellent for toning and stretching, available in several sizes, sold in bright and bold colors that are easy to identify.
Cons: Getting the toning balls wet may affect their durability.