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Old 06-16-2011, 10:26 AM   #1
Trey Williams
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Usefulness of wall balls

Do you guys think wall balls are useful for sprint or sprint endurance athletes? Soccer players, for example, have to sprint at various intervals and change direction quickly. I believe that athlete will benefit from getting stronger by back squatting heavy loads. The wall ball doesn't seem like a bad compliment to that, as it is both explosive and front-loaded.

I back squat a lot on a slightly modified 70's Big program. Wall balls were a part of a metcon at my affiliate the other day, and my legs were absolutely murdered afterwards. I know muscle soreness is not a good indicator of the quality of a workout, but I was surprised by how sore I was.

So, (potentially hundreds of) wall balls: good for athletes or no? Maybe fewer, heavier wall balls? Or do you think it's best to stick with something like dynamic/speed squatting to compliment heavy back squats.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:05 AM   #2
Todd R Miller
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

For speed, in addition to heavy strength training, explosive triple-extension movements are important. Do the heavy squats and deadlifts to build maximal strength, but you also want to train the legs for fire quickly and powerfully.

Wall balls fit the bill. So do box jumps, broad jumps, and the Oly lifts.

For speed, add more load to the movement (but not so much that the movement slows down) and do fewer reps (3 to 8 reps is a good range). With wall balls, really explode out of the hole and hit full extension. Allow enough recovery between each set so that you can put out max effort in each set. Don't allow fatigue to slow you down.

For speed endurance and conditioning, use less load and higher reps, with less recovery.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

Just power clean.

Really.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:43 AM   #4
Chris Walls
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

Wallballs are a conditioning tool, not a strength/power development tool.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:17 PM   #5
Trey Williams
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

That's pretty much the way I feel, too. I've found oly lifts and sprinting to be the most useful compliments to squatting for developing outright speed. Box jumps are also good.

Do you guys think wall balls are a useful conditioning tool for developing speed (or strength) endurance? Interval sprints are proven to work. Oly lifts, in my experience, tend to be counterproductive in conditioning. Something like GVT might be useful.
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:20 PM   #6
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

This is coming from my perspective of having been a soccer player (since you used that example) and having figured out a little bit about what type of conditioning workouts allow me to recover to keep adding weight to the bar.

Two workout for a soccer player might look like this:

Warmup - Agility ladder
Strength - 3 x 5 squat, 5 x 3 power clean
Conditioning - Tabata prowler push

Warmup - 25 burpees
Strength - 1 x 5 deadlift, 3 x 5 press
Conditioning - 4 x 500m row with 2:00 rest between rounds

High rep wall balls for conditioning would wreck my legs for recovery for squats, deadlifts, and power cleans, as well as for my soccer games. Doing low rep wall balls at a higher weight doesn't serve a purpose, since you can just do power cleans to build both explosiveness and strength.

The prowler and the rower seem not to impact recovery as much as lots of other choices. If the soccer player is in season, then they are going to be doing a lot of sprinting anyway, so you don't need to have that then.

You could alter these to do just one lift for strength, you do not have to do conditioning every training session, and the workouts should change based on whether the athlete is in season or not.

You can also add skill work as a warm up or separately like spend 10 minutes finding a max height box jump.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:28 PM   #7
Trey Williams
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamara Cohen View Post

Warmup - Agility ladder
Strength - 3 x 5 squat, 5 x 3 power clean
Conditioning - Tabata prowler push

Warmup - 25 burpees
Strength - 1 x 5 deadlift, 3 x 5 press
Conditioning - 4 x 500m row with 2:00 rest between rounds
.
These are nearly identical to many of my workouts. Very reassuring. Thanks for you input.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:10 PM   #8
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

I don't know how much training value there actually is, but wall balls also cause you to toss the ball (relatively) accurately and then catch it. I've met people who are so uncoordinated that this feat is actually a challenge for them.
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:30 PM   #9
Geoff Archibald
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Walls View Post
Wallballs are a conditioning tool, not a strength/power development tool.
There is also a stability element to wall balls. There is a certain amount of randomness to the motion that isn't found in KB swings or thrusters which are relatively similar but more controlled motions.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:24 PM   #10
Jordan K Smith
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Re: Usefulness of wall balls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamara Cohen View Post
This is coming from my perspective of having been a soccer player (since you used that example) and having figured out a little bit about what type of conditioning workouts allow me to recover to keep adding weight to the bar.

Two workout for a soccer player might look like this:

Warmup - Agility ladder
Strength - 3 x 5 squat, 5 x 3 power clean
Conditioning - Tabata prowler push

Warmup - 25 burpees
Strength - 1 x 5 deadlift, 3 x 5 press
Conditioning - 4 x 500m row with 2:00 rest between rounds

High rep wall balls for conditioning would wreck my legs for recovery for squats, deadlifts, and power cleans, as well as for my soccer games. Doing low rep wall balls at a higher weight doesn't serve a purpose, since you can just do power cleans to build both explosiveness and strength.

The prowler and the rower seem not to impact recovery as much as lots of other choices. If the soccer player is in season, then they are going to be doing a lot of sprinting anyway, so you don't need to have that then.

You could alter these to do just one lift for strength, you do not have to do conditioning every training session, and the workouts should change based on whether the athlete is in season or not.

You can also add skill work as a warm up or separately like spend 10 minutes finding a max height box jump.
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