The medicine ball has been part of the fitness scene since the time of the Ancient Greeks. For decades, it was relegated to the corner of the gym to collect dust. In recent years, however, the medicine ball has come into vogue. The advent of functional training has given the humble medicine ball a much-needed make-over.
In this article, we go deep into the medicine ball market to reveal the 8 best medicine balls for your home gym in 2023. We’ll also uncover the benefits of medicine ball training and provide an in-depth medicine ball FAQ.
Why Trust Us? Our fitness professionals have spent over 40 hours testing the best medicine balls to find the very best. We assessed the durability, balance, weighting, grip ease and texture so that you can heave complete buying confidence.
Table Of Contents
Best Medicine Balls Comparison Table
AmazonBasics Medicine Ball
Editor’s Choice: The AmazonBasics Medicine Ball proves, once and for all, that you don’t need to carry a leading industry brand name to be the best. These rubber medicine balls rock due to their high spec features, not their brand name. We loved the feel, balance, and texture of this ball. The sharp price point didn’t hurt, either, helping propel it to the top of our best medicine ball list.
AmazonBasics Medicine Balls are constructed of sturdy rubber. They deliver the ideal amount of rebound. This makes it an extremely versatile weight ball. You can use it for traditional medicine ball moves that replicate resistance training, as well as wall ball and slam exercises.
AmazonBasics Medicine balls are available in a range of sizes and weights, from 8 pounds to 20 pounds. Ball weights go up in 2-pound increments, allowing you to choose the right weight for your needs.
The textured finish of AmazonBasics medicine balls makes it easy to grab hold of and comfortably grip. The grip on this ball is similar to what you would get on a basketball. That means that you can be confident that your grip will hold whether your hands are covered in sweat or even if you are wearing weightlifting gloves. This allows you to take your focus off the med ball and onto the working muscle.
Amazon Basics was launched in 2009. Its mission was to produce versions of the top leading brands, but with a much-reduced price point. The Amazon Basics Medicine Ball is a prime example of this concept. You are able to pick up this extremely functional med ball for the best price on the market.
CAP Barbell Medicine Ball
Editor’s Choice: CAP Barbell rates as our second best medicine ball. It’s got a great feel and grip, just like the Amazon ball. However, it’s not quite as well balanced as our number one rater. This one is also a good bouncer, so it’s a good choice when you are working out with a partner. CAP is a leading name in the budget home fitness space, so it is also competitively priced.
The CAP medicine ball is impressively sturdy. While not designed as a slam or wall ball, this one will withstand a moderate level of wall or floor impact, thanks to its durable rubber outer material. Your purchase also comes with a 30-day warranty. CAP rubber medicine balls have a tacky rubber grip that makes it easier to hold and catch the ball.
This ball is made from a single texture rubber. This gives it a uniform weighting that enhances the balance of the ball. The single texture material also guarantees the ball against leaking, which can happen with a ball that is constructed from separate panels.
The CAP medicine ball comes in a range of sizes from 2 to 12 pounds. That provides variety for beginner and intermediate level trainers. However, more advanced trainers, who are looking for 14 pounds or more, should defer to the Amazon Basics ball, which goes all the way up to 20 pounds.
j/Fit Soft Wall Ball Medicine Ball
The j/Fit soft Wall Ball features a soft outer core that does a great job of absorbing impact. This outer material is made from a hardy vinyl material that is extremely durable. This is a renewed tougher skin than on previous versions of this ball.
The j/Fit ball has triple stitching along every one of its seams. This provides you with a superior level of protection against the stitching coming apart. The result is a leak-proof medicine ball that will maintain its integrity even after thousands of wall slams.
The textured outer core of the j/Fit Wall Ball is slip-resistant. This allows you to maintain your grip on the ball, regardless of how sweaty your palms are. You also get a good grip while wearing workout gloves with this texture.
The j/Fit Wall Ball is available from 4 through to 30-pound weight increments, the best in our review. Unlike many other balls, the diameter of the ball remains the same, regardless of how much it weighs. That standard diameter is 14 inches. The exception is the 4-pound ball, which is 9 inches in diameter.
The j/Fit Wall Ball stands out with its perfect weighting and balance. Each ball is put through a resistance tunnel to ensure that it rolls straight, rather than being lop-sided. Each ball is also individually hand-stuffed and weighted. This is the best wall ball we have found.
Valeo Medicine Ball
The Valeo Medicine Ball is made of sturdy rubber construction. This makes for a very strong, durable construction that can withstand the hard treatment that is par for the course with medicine balls.
The Valeo Medicine Ball has a textured rubber surface that allows you to get a firm grip on the ball when throwing and catching. The Valeo Medicine Ball provides an even balance and weighting so that it never arrives in your hands lop-sided.
The Valeo range of medicine balls is available between 4 and 12 pounds. That will cover the needs of beginner and intermediate trainers. However, trainers after a heavy ball workout will have to look elsewhere. Your purchase of the Valeo Ball also comes with a comprehensive training guide. This provides you with all the guidance needed to make the most of your medicine ball purchase.
SPRI Dual Grip Xerball
The SPRI Xerball has among the best range of medicine balls that we have come across. Your weight options run from 2 pounds, all the way up to 30 pounds. Weight increments increase by 2 pounds up to 20 pounds. From there, they jump up in 5-pound increments. That makes SPRI Grip Xerball your best bet if you’re after some heavy-duty med ball training. Each weight is color-coded, making it easy to grab the right ball at the right time.
Bounce & Durability
The SPRI Dual Grip Xerball has an 80% rubber and 20% PVC shell. This sturdy rubber construction makes it very functional in terms of bounce and rebound. Due to its high rubber construction, the SPRI Xerball impresses with its durability. You will get plenty of life out of this ball for many years, unlike lesser models that lose their bounce after a year or two.
The SPRI Xerball has a rubber textured dual grip and a dimpled surface, like a basketball. This improves the ergonomic feel of the ball, making it easier to hang onto. The dual grip allows you to insert your hands around the handles. This means that you can pound the ball onto a surface.
Your purchase of the SPRI Xerball Ball also comes with a free training instructional poster.
Titan Soft Medicine Wall Ball
The soft, synthetic outer of Titan Fitness Medicine Balls are made from a synthetic leather covering that provides a good deal of bounce. These medicine balls are filled with sand. The vinyl outer on the Titan Fitness medicine ball provides a good level of grip that is relatively sweat resistant. The Titan Fitness Ball features double stitching to keep everything tight and prevent any inner material from spilling out.
The Titan Fitness Ball comes in four weight options:
- 10 pounds
- 14 pounds
- 20 pounds
- 30 pounds
While this is limiting for people who want a light starting resistance, it is great for those looking for a heavy-duty training resistance. All four balls have a standard diameter of 14 inches.
j/fit Dead Weight Slam Ball
j/Fit Deadweight Slam Balls have gone through more than ten redesigns to arrive at the best slam ball configuration possible. The latest version of this slam ball has added 20% more skin to the outer of the ball for greater durability and slamming power.
The j/Fit Slam Ball ranges in weight from 10 pounds to 50 pounds. That allows anyone to select a j/Fit Slam Ball to match their strength level. j/Fit provide the greatest range of ball weights of any manufacturer that we have come across. It is especially difficult to find balls that go up to 50 pounds.
Heavy Duty Tread
The extra heavy-duty tread on the j/Fit Extra Duty Tread Slam Ball allows your fingers to slip between the treads in order to give you the most secure grip possible. That makes this ball easier to hold, throw and receive.
Day 1 Fitness Medicine Exercise Ball
Day 1 Fitness Balls are constructed with a thick rubber outer shell. This gives them a superior level of bounce ability, making this ball ideal for all applications. The textured surface of the Day 1 Fitness Medicine Ball gives it a good level of grip ability. The dimples on this ball are similar to what you find on a basketball, allowing you to hold and release it without any compromise.
The weight range of the easy-grip Day 1 Fitness Medicine Ball selection goes from 4 to 20 pounds in two-pound increments. Each ball is color-coded so that you can easily choose the one that you need. This ball is internally stabilized. This ensures that the ball will never be unevenly weighted, even after years of service!
Variations and Styles Of Medicine Ball
There are 3 different types of medicine ball:
- Traditional Medicine Ball
- Wall Ball
- Slam Ball
Medicine balls are designed to be used as a replacement for free weights in resistance exercise. They are also intended to be passed between partners and thrown back and forth. Of the three types of ball, this one has the greatest amount of bounce. However, medicine balls are not intended to be thrown against a wall. These balls are evenly weighted and smooth. They may be constructed from leather, plastic or rubber. They are generally the smallest of the three types of balls.
Wall balls are designed to be thrown against a wall. They are, therefore, designed to absorb a high amount of impact., having a padded outer later and being made of vinyl. They are softer than traditional medicine balls and easier to catch and handle. Wall balls are available in a range of weight and sizes, from 2-50 pounds and from the size of a softball to a beachball.
Slam balls are designed to be repeatedly thrown to the ground. They are the hardiest of the three types of medicine ball. The outer shell of the ball is made of thick rubber. They have minimal bounce. The most common slam ball exercise simply involves lifting the ball overhead and then slamming it to the ground, in a squat movement, for multiple repetitions.
Features To Consider When Choosing Your Medicine Ball
Size And Weight
Medicine balls are available in a range of weights and sizes, ranging from 2 pounds to more than 20 pounds. Choose a weight that you can pick up, without too much effort, with a view to performing multiple reps. You should start fatiguing after about 10 reps. As a general guide, beginner exercisers (male) should start with an 8-pound ball. More advanced trainers should consider a 12-pound ball.
The filler material inside a medicine ball usually consists of two parts:
- shape-retaining filler
- weight filler
Balls can be stuffed with several fillers including rags, polypropylene cotton and rubber. Rag has a poor elasticity, which makes the filling uneven and easily deformed. Cotton wool is slightly better than rags, but it also tends to deform after a period of use.
Polypropylene cotton is the most popular medicine and wall ball filler material on the market. The pure white polypropylene cotton provides better elasticity, plumpness, and durability. This type of material is known to transfer moisture instead of absorbing it, which makes it less susceptible to damp and augments its ability to withstand deformity. Interestingly, these qualities also make polypropylene a preferred material as the first layer of the filter element in water purifiers.
To increase the weight of a medicine ball, it is usually necessary to add extra filler material. Options include rubber particles, iron sand, yellow sand, and mineral sand. Yellow sand is the cheapest material, with inexpensive wall balls having an increased proportion of sand to reduce costs. If you are going to buy balls from a foreign country, it is essential to note that some countries will not allow the importation of wall balls filled with yellow sand to prevent parasites. Check the regulations in your country before ordering!
Most balls over 9kg will be filled with iron sand, while balls below 9kg will be filled with rubber particles. In order to reduce the cost, in addition to iron sand and rubber particles, manufacturers will mix some yellow sand and mineral sand with them.
The most popular cover materials are synthetic leather (PU & PVC), vinyl, and kevlar.
Synthetic leather is very durable, can withstand repeated impact, and provides excellent grip. The synthetic leather used in medicine balls is either PU or PVC.
PU looks closer to natural leather, providing you with a better touch and feel. However, it is not very wear-resistant, with an anti-beat ability of less than 500 times. As a result, you will probably experience some surface damage within a year of purchase. A PU surface will also get quite slippery as your hands get sweaty.
PVC synthetic leather is more wear-resistant, with a service life of 2-3 years. There are three grades of PVC used: 1000D, 600D, and 500D. The best medicine balls are graded at 1000D, providing the best wear resistance and anti-slip performance.
Be sure to check both the warranty period and the falling test results for the wall ball you have in mind. The longer the warranty period and the higher the number of acceptable falls, the better the wear resistance and quality will be. When checking the fall test figure, make sure to inquire about the number of falls used in the test, and the test height. The best medicine balls should be tested to 2000 repetitions from a fall height of 4 meters.
Med balls are meant to be thrown and caught repeatedly. Balls can also get quite heavy, so good grip is essential. The best medicine balls are made from relatively soft and flexible material, such as synthetic leather or vinyl, as these are easier to grip and throw.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Medicine Ball?
The benefits of using a medicine ball are many and unique. Medicine ball workouts allow you to combine strength, endurance, and cardiovascular training in one movement. Specifically, it will improve your:
- Explosive Power – When you throw a medicine ball against a wall or to your training partner, you develop explosive throwing power. This type of functional training will increase your punching, hitting and thrusting power in a range of sports and athletic activities.
- Strength – The weight of the medicine ball will build strength in your core, in all of the exercises that you perform. When you use the ball to replace a barbell or kettlebell in exercises like squats and lunges, you will also build strength in the lower body. You can also combine medicine ball workouts with other exercise. Check out our best rebounder article to find out more.
- Cardiovascular Fitness – There are a whole host of dynamic exercises that you can do with a medicine ball. These provide a great way to improve the fitness of your heart and lungs.
- Calories Burning – Dynamic medicine ball exercises are hard work. They churn through a ton of calories, which helps you to burn off stored body fat.
- Functional Fitness – when you train with a medicine ball, you are working your whole body, rather than isolating parts of it. Many of the actions performed in medicine ball exercises replicate everyday activities or sports movements.
- Core Exercises – Virtually everything you do with a medicine ball in your hands, directly stimulates the muscles of your core. Developing a strong core is the key to developing bodily stability, coordination and preventing lower back pain.
- Hand-eye coordination – After you’ve done a few hundred reps of throwing and catching a medicine ball, you will start to improve your hand-eye coordination.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best medicine balls to buy are the Amazon Basics range, which delivers the best overall, quality, performance, and price.
The muscles that the medicine ball works will depend on the specific exercise that you are doing. However, all medicine ball exercises will work the muscles of your core. These include the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis and erector spinae. Of these, the best worked are the external obliques (sides of the waist), which are involved in all twisting and throwing motions.
When you perform resistance type exercises, you will develop strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth) in the working muscle group.
The way you exercise with a medicine ball depends on your training goal. If you are wanting to develop functional fitness and/or cardio fitness, you will want to do dynamic core exercises that involve plyometric moves like jumping, lunging and throwing. If you are using the med ball as part of muscle-building program, do medicine balls exercises to simulate your barbell and dumbbell exercises in moves like squats and lunges.
Neither medicine balls nor kettlebells are better than the other. They should both be used in a complete, well-rounded fitness program. Kettlebells are best for developing strength and functional fitness. The unique weighting of the handle set-up provides benefits that you don’t get with barbells and dumbbells. Medicine balls are best for developing dynamic strength. They will also allow for more core exercises than kettlebells.
The medicine ball is an excellent and economical addition to your home gym. It will allow you to develop your core, build functional fitness, get stronger and strip off body fat. The best medicine ball on the market right now is the Amazon Basics model. The second best medicine ball is the CAP Barbell. The best wall ball is the j/Fit soft wall ball.