I thought I’d write a quick blog posts on how you can tweak the efficiency of your Wall Balls. Feel free to comment below and share your tips on what helps you as well.
Keep the Torso Vertical
The more upright our torso, the more we can translate power from our hips into the wallball. Here are a couple of things that will help you:
- Foot Placement
Play with the placement of your feet, the wider your feet the greater amount of space we have for our hips to go down. Bearing in mind we don’t want to be so wide that we are unable to gain depth (hips below knees) or so wide that we lose vertical drive. As a start, I would recommend going slightly wider then shoulder width apart, and more toed out then usual – like the catch position for your clean.
- Pull the bum down, not back
We spend a lot of time in CrossFit cuing athletes to send their bum backwards, while this cue is great way to activate the posterior chain (hamstring, glutes), athletes often forget their knees exist this invariable results in a chest forward / good morning position. This is an easy fix, send your bum down, not back and play with the sequencing of hip / knee flexion. They should occur simultaneously, or the knee slightly after the hip.
- Throw towards the wall, not just straight up and down
Without any horizontal force you risk not touching the wall. If you do touch the wall with just a purely vertical throw, the ball will probably slide down the wall and impact your ability to reload quickly as you will need to change body positions to catch it. There needs to be a subtle bounce at the apex of the throw. I have yet to see anyone who can wall ball with their face/torso pinned against a wall….
- Forearms vertical and under the ball – elbows down!
Imagine your forearms as arrows, they need to point where you want the ball to go – UP!
- Catch high, ride low
Catch the wall ball high, and let it ride/push you to the bottom – imagine your self like a human piston. When you get tired your instinct will be to catch high and hold the ball in your hands. This doesn’t put us in a good position to reload, as we will need to hoist the ball back to our shoulders, or do a weird under arm throw. So as much as you can, catch it high, and ride it low with the elbows under the ball.
- Make sure you wear shorts that give you full range of motion in your squat. While baggy shorts / board shorts may look cool with a low crotch, they will either inhibit your movement, or tear. If you’re serious about CrossFit, get a unitard, or latex hot paints, and enjoy the full range of motion that appropriate clothing will provide.
Hopefully these tips will help you, and make your ‘wallballing’ a more enjoyable experience. As we’ve said before, the Open is a test of fitness, so go hard, but don’t be too disappointed if you don’t finish the wall balls in 12 minutes – It’s just where you are at the moment!