Jul 25, 2023

The Best Medicine Balls to Round Out Your Dynamic Fitness Routine

Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.

No matter your skill level, these effective training tools can be a great addition to your workout programming — if you know which one to choose.

Want to add some explosive exercises to your workout regimen that can target your strength and stamina? Getting tired of the normal barbell and weight plate modalities? Looking for an all-inclusive way to work your movement mechanics and develop some power?

If you've ever pondered over the above questions, then it might be time to consider adding a medicine ball to your daily fitness regimen. These convenient training tools can be used by everyone from the novice to the veteran and house a plethora of muscle-building, calorie-burning qualities in their spherical shape. There are plenty of diverse exercises you can perform with medicine balls, and thus, there are a multitude of medicine ball types to choose from.

Similar to how there's a clear difference between sporting goods balls — you wouldn't play baseball with a soccer ball — there are a number of medicine balls available to give you the best training experience possible. While you can perform plenty of exercises with one ball, here are a few factors to consider to ensure your equipment is up to your regimen's demands.

Naturally, one of the first items to think of when choosing a medicine ball is the weight you plan to use. If you're looking to train with medicine balls for strength and power, a heavier ball can provide enough resistance to suit your workouts. A lighter ball can also be effective in cardio or explosive workouts, allowing you to complete the movement with less strain. Think about your goals and abilities, then choose the weight you think will pose enough of a challenge without compromising your form.

Looking inward, medicine balls are typically filled with three materials, all designed to influence the performance.

Sand-filled medicine balls can provide a dense construction, allowing for heavier components in a slimmed-down profile. This style can be great for slams and carries, as well as other dynamic lifts.

Air-filled balls are naturally lighter than their sandy constituents, but they can still prove to be effective training tools. Because of the decreased resistance, air-filled medicine balls can be great for explosive movements like overhead throws.

Finally, soft medicine balls can typically feature a foam or synthetic interior, allowing for a wide variety of modalities including wall balls, carries, overhead tosses and others. Soft medicine balls are typically larger than sand-filled medicine balls because they need more space to provide the same mass.

To best control your medicine ball through any movement or exercise, you want an exterior with a little bit of grit. Additionally, your medicine ball's exterior should be durable enough to withstand multiple training sessions, especially if you're partaking in more aggressive modalities like slams. Most medicine balls are constructed from either rubber, leather or PVC.

Rubber medicine balls can be some of the most durable options out there, thanks to the resiliency of the material. Rubber balls can also be denser, which is why some of the heaviest medicine balls feature this construction. If you're hard on your equipment — or really want to practice slam workouts — this is the pick for you.

Leather medicine balls are another popular choice, providing enough grip and security while still remaining comfortable on the forearms and hands. Whether synthetic or natural, leather medicine balls can be a great option for general training purposes.

PVC balls are similar to leather, albeit at a lower price point. While these medicine balls can also be exceptional for general fitness needs, they aren't as durable to wear and tear. If you aren't putting a ton of strain on your gear or use medicine balls more in a free-weight fashion, these can still be a worthwhile option for your home gym.

Over the course of a few weeks, we integrated medicine ball training into our normal routine, getting hands-on with a number of picks. To get the full scope of each ball's abilities, we looked closely at the overall construction, highlighting how each option felt in a carry position as well as its effectiveness in dynamic movements. Bounce and shape retention were also considered, when appropriate, as well as how much space each medicine ball took up in our training corner.

With a leather construction and ergonomic 14-inch diameter, this soft medicine ball from Titan Fitness is a great tool for working multiple muscle groups in one fell swoop. The durable exterior sits comfortably on the forearms, while the tight, thick double stitching ensures a resilient build. We also admired the flat front stitching that didn't get in the way of varying grips or become abrasive across different modalities. The Titan Fitness Soft Medicine Ball also features two loops sewn in for easier grip and convenient storage capabilities. While we would appreciate a wider weight range — you have five options from 6–30 pounds — this can be a great fitness accessory at a very reasonable price point.

*Price shown is for a 14-pound medicine ball

If you want an intense medicine ball to match your intense training, look no further than the XD Kevlar lineup from TRX. Built with durable DuPont Kevlar, this training tool can take a proverbial beating and still come back for more. We found no issues gripping the medicine ball, even when the sweat began to pour, and appreciated the convenient 14-inch diameter. We do recommend, though, that you limit bouncing this ball, as the shape can become warped over time. At such a premium price, you’ll kind of want to baby this pick, even though the exterior demands a thrashing.

*Price shown is for a 14-pound medicine ball

Medicine balls don't need to break the bank, and slam balls in particular can be a great cost-effective option for their durable construction in a denser, smaller profile. This slam ball from RAGE Fitness offers plenty of calorie-burning potential in its rubber silhouette. An added air valve allows for the pressure to dissipate after every toss, and you can even customize the bounce rate with a handy air pump. The exterior is textured for some added grip security, too. If you’re on a budget and still want to reap the benefits of medicine ball training, this is a great entry-level pick.

*Price shown is for a 15-pound medicine ball

Living.Fit does an exceptional job at making workout equipment for the home gym space, and the brand's slam ball is no exception. We really liked how easy it was to grip the triangular exterior, and the rubber silhouette ensures this fitness tool is ready for the long haul. The sand fill does float within, which may dissuade some users, but we felt the medicine ball maintained a relatively balanced feel, regardless. And thanks to a wide weight range, you can find the perfect weight to really drive home those slam exercises for explosiveness and power.

*Price shown is for a 15-pound medicine ball

For wall tosses and other dynamic modalities, we really enjoyed the performance aspects of this impressive medicine ball from Ethos. The vinyl-coated nylon shell provides enough tackiness and grip to achieve the proper throwing traction and also holds the added benefit of being moisture resistant for improved durability. Plus, after countless wall tosses and drives, we feel this wall ball easily retains its shape, allowing for more efficient training as the sessions add up. While we’d appreciate a more robust weight range for those just wanting a rock-solid wall ball to add to their garage gym, this Ethos offering hits all the checkmarks.

*Price shown is for a 14-pound medicine ball

Medicine balls don't have to be these dense, gargantuan spheres for an effective training experience. Case in point, toning balls are a smaller, handheld option that typically weigh less than their larger counterparts. This pick from Tone Fitness boasts a soft synthetic exterior that's easy to grip and control with one hand — although it takes some getting used to with the larger 10-pound model. This medicine ball can be a good pick for senior athletes or those wanting to specifically target balance or core strength. Just don't expect to get a full routine of wall balls, slams and other dynamic exercises; the size and construction limit these balls to less intense activity.

*Price shown is for a 10-pound medicine ball

Be certain in your grip with this handled medicine ball from Zelus. Handled medicine balls can be a great option for lifts and carries, and this pick has been one of our favorites over the years. The durable rubber exterior is tacky enough yet skin-friendly, and the hermetic valve helps this option keep its shape set after set. This was a nice touch, especially when utilizing the handles for platform push-ups and kettlebell-inspired arm swings. Unfortunately, though, you’re locked into just two available weights, which can limit your training opportunities.

*Price shown is for a 10-pound medicine ball

For those looking to implement wall tosses primarily in their workouts, you should look for a medicine ball that can rebound easily for an easier training experience. The SPRI rubber medicine ball offers plenty of bounce and, from our opinion, should last a number of training seasons. The high-quality rubber construction allows for plenty of abuse, while the dimpled texture gives it that basketball-like aesthetic. Despite its positive performance when it comes to bounce, we’d recommend avoiding slam exercises with this medicine ball. Slamming this pick could result in overzealous wear and tear, and because of the springy rebound, you could wind up getting a taste of the exterior — which we can say from experience is by no means pleasant.

*Price shown is for a 12-pound medicine ball

PVC is typically a cheaper alternative to leather when it comes to medicine balls — our top pick from Titan Fitness is one of the lone exceptions. With that said, though, if you are looking for a PVC ball, this option from Synergee takes the cake. With eight weights to choose from for a variety of training opportunities, the tough PVC medicine ball is built to withstand plenty of hard work. Double-stitched seams and easy-to-read labeling make this an effective pick if you want the ergonomic diameter of a traditional medicine ball without the (normally) higher cost.

*Price shown is for a 14-pound medicine ball

If you want a rubber medicine ball that's versatile enough for wall throws, slams, partner tosses and more, look no further than the Immortal Wall Ball from Fringe Sport. The rubber shell sets this apart from other 14-inch medicine balls, as most at this diameter are composed of leather or synthetic materials. This change in construction can allow for better shape retention over extended use, improved grip when workouts get sweaty and less of a need for raised seams that can feel abrasive on the skin if held improperly.

Because of the boosted roundness of the Immortal Wall Ball, however, this medicine ball has a tendency to roll around a lot when not in use. Be sure to prop or store it securely when you’re not engaging in training, otherwise you may be chasing this impressive silhouette around your setup for a few minutes before each set.

*Price shown is for a 14-pound medicine ball

Sand-filled medicine balls Air-filled balls soft medicine balls Rubber medicine balls Leather medicine balls PVC balls