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a man sits in a squat position holding a medicine ball

The wall ball toss is a powerhouse move, training coordination of your upper and lower body while improving your ability to generate power through your shoulders, core, and hips.

At first glance, the exercise seems simple enough: Hold a soft medicine ball at chest height, then squat down; as you stand, toss the ball toward a wall at a point over your head.

All it takes, though, is one rep to realize how deceptive this move is.

First, coordinating the squat with the ball toss can be difficult. A common pitfall is to separate the components of the exercise: Squat first, then throw the ball using just the arms. But ideally, your arms and legs are moving fluidly together.

The goal is to harness your hip power so your arms act as a guide for the ball as it ascends to a point high on the wall. In reversing the move, you bend and lower your arms as you catch the ball and simultaneously lower back into a squat.

Maintaining good form can be challenging. It’s important to perform a full squat, with your abs braced, chest upright, and thighs at least parallel to the floor — do not succumb to quarter-squats, hunching over, or dropping the ball below your chest as you become fatigued.

That said, fatigue is guaranteed.

The wall ball toss is a plyometric move that quickly elevates your heart rate, making it a great conditioning tool. Just remember to breathe through the exercise, perform it with purpose and speediness, and don’t be afraid to stop and reset to keep your form on point.

1. Stand an arm’s length from a wall. Hold a soft medicine ball at chest level. Inhale to squat down and exhale to quickly stand, driving your hips forward as you extend your legs.

Tip: Keep an upright posture with the ball at chest height.

2. Rise up, throwing the ball upward with a slight forward arc to hit the wall. Aim 4 to 5 feet above your head. Increase that height to 10 to 15 feet as your skill and power improve.

Tip: Direct your gaze up at the spot on the wall where you’re aiming the ball.

Tip: Extend your arms overhead to guide the ball while using the power from your hips to achieve height.

3. Begin immediately to squat and prepare to catch the ball as it deflects off the wall. Perform three rounds of 20 seconds of wall ball tosses, followed by 20 seconds of rest.

Tip: Lower into a full, great-form squat at the bottom of each rep.

Tip: Move your arms up and down fluidly to the pace of the squat.

Photography by: Kelly Loverud; Fitness Model: David Freeman

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