7 Reasons Why Crossfitters Hate Wall Balls

One exercise that will definitely appear again this year in the upcoming CrossFit Games Open workouts.

Thrusters, push presses and wall balls could all possibly fit into the same category: metabolic, mental conditioning! Here are seven reasons why we don’t always like them.

1. From Beginners to Pros: no one can escape them.

The task: goblet squat combined with a push/throw of the ball up to the target.

Wallballs-beginner-pro-exercise
From wall ball rookie to pro.

Wall balls are a simple and efficient way to train the fundamentals of movement later used for weightlifting. You don’t need advanced skills to use them as metabolic conditioning exercise to spice up your workout. Which means no one is immune to them. There’s not a single “I am beginner” excuse that could be valid to use. They are a safe and efficient way to burn out your hands first, followed by legs the very next day – whole body movement. Remember Karen?


2. Being Hobbit height: real challenge happens here.

Problem: Target height versus your body height

wallball-hobbit-height
Body height and wall balls.

Usual target height is 3 meters for men, 2.7 for women. Sounds low, but not so when you have 150 reps ahead. The struggle however begins when your body height is under average. Being smaller means having a longer ball path/target distance, and therefore a bigger energy output.

To jump when throwing up? Depends how tired your hands are, and your height. When my hands get tired, I usually start to jump a little just to give my hands a bit of rest.


3. Wall balls equal high volume MetCon weapon.

Challenge: If you want to test one`s engine and mental sanity, put high rep wall balls in.

high-volume-weapon
Recovery pose after a high dose of wall balls.

Six or nine-kilo wall balls are great when delivered in lower range of reps. But have you ever seen a workout with small amount of reps? The minimal is usually 50, and even those are incorporated into Chippers with 5-10 other exercises done in the same, or similar numbers. Remember 13.3 with Karen before 90 double-unders and 30 muscle-ups?

Related: Coping with high volume workouts


4. Sometimes Jordan’s throwing skills are needed.

WOD-saver: excel with throws. And use more hip power.

the-thorw-jordan-skills
Use hips and glutes to generate more power.

This can save you from a lot of pain. The way you throw up the ball is important, and is the key to good efficiency. If you have a basketball player friend, watch him do Karen. If not, keep in mind you need to hold and catch the ball good, so it does not slip away and costs extra energy.

– Hip power: Use the glutes and hamstrings to accelerate the throw and generate more power by driving your hips up: within the momentum of opening hips (up), throw the medicine ball towards the target.

– Good front rack position: Also hold the ball right in front of your face in a front rack position where your arms stay tight and under the ball.

– Chin support: You’ll see a lot of competitors using their chin to help supporting/stabilizing the ball.


5. They hit you directly in your face.

Problem: failure can be painful.

wallballs-in-your-face
Wall ball fail.

Don’t push to failure. When your hands burn out to fast, you actually can get hit directly in your face. Fox example do not try to attempt to do all 150 reps of Karen at once. As a beginner divide them into 15 sets of 10s. Maybe even 30 of 5. Keep your hand-exhaustion under control and your eyes on the ball. You can try with bringing your hands down for a quick rest, while the ball is flying up and down.

Learn how to catch the ball properly. If you are a total beginner do them with a soft ball.

Keep the right distance from the wall: approximately 0,5 meter from the wall.


6. High danger of no reps.

Important: be accurate to avoid no reps.

wallballs-no-reps
Beware of no-reps.

The valid rep consists of hips getting below the parallel and the ball hitting the marked target. While being technically very simple, and therefore often performed with less focus on the technique, exhaustion can take a tool on being accurate with the movement. Part of efficiency is also being consistent with accuracy and meeting the prescribed standards. You don’t want to lose reps, especially when you have to be smart with pacing.


7. They reveal the truth about your basic squat mobility.

Reality check: on your ankles, knees, hips, calves, Achilles tendon, hamstrings, back…

wallballs-squat-mobility
Wall balls mobility check.

Wall balls will definitely test your ankle mobility, your stiff calves and tight hips. You need to bend your ankles, knees and hips enough so you can keep a stable upright position which will allow an efficient support for catching and throwing.

 How-To Wall Ball

What do you think, which good reason we left out?

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