Exercises like ball slams can be a great way to get fit while blowing off some steam — but some experts think the aggro move is just a dangerous waste of time and energy.
Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer to the likes of Adam Levine, isn’t a fan of ball slams. In a recent Instagram post, the trainer shared a video of a woman performing the movement, only to have the ball bounce back up and smash her in the face after slamming off the floor.
“There are many exercises that have become popular in the fitness world that are neither useful or safe,” he captioned the post. “The ball slam is without a doubt one of them. If you love this exercise, why?
The main difference is that slam balls are filled with sand that shifts constantly while you train with it (making it harder to grab, hold, or throw), while medicine balls, well, don’t. Medicine balls are often made out of springy rubber composite materials, so they’re easier to bounce. You’re not necessarily working as hard, and the ball could potentially spring back up and slam you in the face if your hand-eye coordination isn’t on point.
Newbies should also look for a sand-filled slam ball or a medicine ball that won’t bounce back, like this Star Wars-themed Slam Ball from Onnit, so you can work on your reaction time separately. That way you can combine the two aspects of the exercise when you feel comfortable in both arenas, without risking your face to the wrath of an overly-bouncy ball.