CrossFit’s wall ball exercise is an example high functionality and the marked carryover of cardiorespiratory benefit to sport and human performance in general, writes Coach Greg Glassman.
We see the bulk of human action as being composed of a limited number of irreducible fundamental movements. These fundamental movements we call functional. When you review the list of factors or exercises associated with significant neuroendocrine response, they largely or completely meet our requirements of being fundamental, elemental or irreducible, and universal to sport and life.
Currently we see each major functional movement carrying with it a cardiorespiratory capacity that can be developed independently and in conjunction with other functional movements to provide a superior cardiorespiratory response.
Our wall ball exercise uses a 20-pound Dynamax Medicine Ball and a flat vertical target located about 8-10 feet above the ground. The movement begins as a front squat and follows through to a push press/shove that sends the ball up and forward to the target from which it rebounds back to the throwers outstretched arms where it is “absorbed” back into the squat. When perfected, each shot looks identical to the one before, and the ball’s contact and departure are gentle and smooth. If the athlete endeavors to quiet the drill, the benefit to mechanics and breathing technique are immense.
The wall ball drill comprises two highly functional classical weightlifting movements brought together at light loads and extended duration to create a super- potent metabolic conditioning tool with an enormous potential for increasing athletic performance.