-by Coach Mat
What do you think of when you know you’re going to do Wall Balls? Many people immediately think about their legs burning, heart racing and lungs panting.
They go as far as to say they hate wall balls. It even effects their decision to workout.
That’s why we analyzed the 3 most common problems people have with wall balls and created strategies that will help you do them more easily and feel better about them.
Problem 1: Not hitting the target - Throwing Early
Have you ever had that perfect wall ball rep? The ball gets to the target, doesn’t take 100% of your energy and feels almost dare I say, easy? What about the rep that feels like you're throwing an elephant? It doesn’t get the height you needed and you gave everything you had into the throw.
You may be throwing the ball early. This blunts your throwing ability and strength. The wall ball is a leg dominant exercise and the power you create while you're coming up out of the squat needs to be transferred into the throw by keeping your core tight and delaying the throwing action until you have fully extended your hip and stood or even jumped. Then the throw immediately follows, like a wave of energy flowing from you standing up, into the throwing action; not all at once, not throwing as your standing, but once your finished, then immediately throwing and transferring that energy.
Problem 2: Not getting stronger - Squatting Incorrectly
Squatting correctly will assist in you throwing correctly. The squat happens first, throw second. If you perform the squat well, chances are higher the throw will go well too.
Many people who fail to get the ball to the target have issues happening during the squat. Knees cave in (keep them out!), lumbar curves and strong core positions get weak (breathing correctly will help this!) or depth isn’t achieved (focus on the squat, slow and steady).
One of the most frequent faults is when the body weight comes off of the heels and into the toes during the descent of the squat and even the ascent and before throwing. This blunts your power and doesn’t allow for a good transfer of strength into the throw of the ball.
If you’re going onto your toes during the squat you may be trying to throw way too early. Wiggle your toes and squat down in control. Continue to wiggle your toes and begin to stand up in the same controlled speed. As you reach the last 1/3 of standing up, go faster and more aggressively through your heels. Once you’ve stood all the way up, throw. At this point you may be on your toes or have even jumped.
During that entire time, keep your knees out, chest up and get your depth. Performing the squat correctly on the way down will lead to a more successful throw!
Problem 3: Out of Breath – Breathing Inefficiently
Breathing correctly when doing wall balls can make or break your ability to do them.
It’s what will make you feel like you can either keep working out, or like your legs are filling up with battery acid and that you “hate” them.
Chances are high that you’re holding your breath during the wall ball or not breathing efficiently and correctly to bring oxygen in and clear CO2 out.
Your breathing strategy will depend on your height.
If you’re taller than 5’10, the “double breath” technique may work better for you. Standing tall with the ball at the “rack position”, take a breath of air in.
On the way down, breathe out. Not all the way out so that you relax in the bottom of the squat, but just enough so that you feel like you can breathe in again.
When at the bottom, breathe in.
As you're standing and throwing, breathe out.
This is a breath of air in and out on the way down, and then again in and out from the bottom up. 2 full breath cycles.
If you’re shorter than 5’10, the single breath may work better.
Breathe in, hold it and squat down.
When you're standing up continue to hold and when you’re throwing breathe out.
These are just guidelines. You may find that one strategy works better regardless of your height.
The main thing is that you’re breathing!
Practice the tips that we gave while doing wall balls. The more you do correctly, the easier they will become.
During the week, accumulate 150 Wall Balls with a partner.
One person works at a time.
There’s no right or wrong number of reps to do in a set.
Tell your partner what you’re working on and while you’re going they can watch you and see if you’re doing it or not.
You don’t have to do 150 in a day. Spread them out over the course of the week. 20 each will only take a few minutes, easy enough to do before or after a class and then you’ve already done 40!