The Best Medicine Balls, According to a Personal Trainer

CAP's Barbell Medicine Ball is bouncy and has a textured surface for safer grip

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The Best Medicine Balls, According to a Personal Trainer

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

Medicine balls are the perfect addition to any exercise routine. They work as a strength and an explosive movement tool, helping to build your muscles—upper body, lower body, and core—and your stamina, all while crushing major calories. Not to mention they work for all fitness levels and ages. 

Reviewed & Approved

Made with a textured surface, CAP's Barbell Medicine Ball is easy to grip and bounce. We also recommend Yes4All's Soft Weighted Medicine Ball as an inexpensive option that fits in the palm of your hand.

“Medicine balls offer a great way to change up your workout routine,” says Carlos Davila, a trainer and Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Fhitting Room. “Since they are an 'odd object,' you are forced to engage stabilizer muscles differently than you would if you were using, say, a dumbbell or kettlebell.”

When looking for a medicine ball, look for a textured surface for enhanced grip and whether it is easy to clean. We researched dozens of medicine balls and evaluated them for material, grip, price, and weight.

Here are the best medicine balls on the market that'll take your workouts to the next level.

Best Overall: CAP Barbell Medicine Ball

4.9
CAP Barbell Medicine Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Tacky, textured surface to enhance grip

  • Multiple weights

  • It bounces

Cons
  • Not to be used for slamming exercises

We chose this easy-to-grip medicine ball as our top pick because it comes in six weights (and colors), progressing incrementally from 2 to 12 pounds. This pick stands out for three main reasons: its tacky, textured surface, the durable rubber shell, and the all-around ease of use of this training tool. Newbies and exercise aficionados alike can definitely put this medicine ball to good use.

Size: 9 x 9 x 9 inches | Material: Rubber | Weight: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 lbs

Best Budget: Yes4All Soft Weighted Medicine Ball

Yes4All Soft Weighted Medicine Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Comes in smaller weights than other balls

  • Fits in the palm of your hand

  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons
  • Not to be used for slamming exercises

This ball, which can be lifted using a single hand, offers the option to choose from various colors, tread patterns, and weights, ranging from 2 pounds up to 10 (they also come in sets). It’s filled with loose sand and has a softer exterior—the combo makes for added resistance and improves balance and coordination.

A handy bonus: the small size works well as you can hold it in one hand, squeeze it between your legs or toss it in a gym bag. Plus you have 60 days to return it—so buy it, try it, and if you don’t like it send it back.

Size: 6.3 x 6.2 x 6 inches | Material: PVC  | Weight: 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, 9-, and 10-pound options

Best Bounceable: SPRI Medicine Rubber Ball

SPRI Medicine Rubber Ball

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Dimpled surface offers better grip

  • High-quality rubber makes it durable and allows it to bounce

  • Includes a sheet with exercises and the ability to download an app for more

Cons
  • Not to be used for slamming exercises

If you want a true medicine ball, then you want to make sure you get one that bounces. (Remember: slam balls don’t bounce). This way when you throw it against a wall or at the ground it actually rebounds. And when you catch it—or are simply using it to increase your resistance during exercises like squats, overhead presses, or v-ups—the dimpled exterior will help solidify your grip.

Available in three weights, you can size up as you grow stronger.

Size: 9 x 9 x 8 inches | Material: Rubber | Weight: 8-, 10-, and 12-pound options available

Best With Handles: CanDo Dual Handle Medicine Ball

CanDo Dual Handle Medicine Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Handles proved a better grip

  • Comes in multiple weights

Cons
  • Not meant for slamming

If your palms are constantly sweating, you may want to consider this style of medicine ball.  The handles offer greater grip, making it less likely to slip out of your hands, which also makes this option a great stand-in for a kettlebell.

Plus, its handles make it much easier to use compared to other medicine balls, especially for core-targetting exercises like Russian twists.

There are multiple color options, but they all correspond with specific weights, so you’re better off choosing based on weight: the medicine balls come in 6-, 12-, 18-, 24-, and 30-pound options.

Dimension: 9 x 9 inches | Material: Rubber band | Weight: 6-, 12-, 18-, 24-, and 30-pound options available

Best for Beginners: Amazon Basics Medicine Ball

4.7
Amazon Basics Medicine Ball
Pros
  • Grippy dimpled texture

  • Bounceable

  • Rubber outer shell makes it durable

Cons
  • Not meant for slamming

Ever carry a gallon jug of milk or water or juice? This no-frills, basic ball is roughly the same size and less than two pounds heavier—which means hauling or throwing it is totally within your fitness reach, even if you're new to resistance training.

The colorful rubber exterior gives this ball just enough bounce. What’s more: You’ll be able to easily catch and, more importantly, hang on to this ball because of its grippy, dimpled covering. 

Dimensions: 9.2 x 9.2 x 9.3 inches | Material: Rubber | Weight: 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12-, 14-, and 20-pound options

Best Leather: Modest Vintage Player Retro Heritage Brown Leather Medicine Ball

Modest Vintage Player Retro Heritage Brown Leather Medicine Ball

Courtesy of Modest Vintage Player

Pros
  • Made of durable leather

  • Looks and feels luxurious

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not bounceable

This med ball, which is almost too pretty to use, invokes 1930s/1940s vintage vibes. Don’t let the retro look fool you, though, it’s still a super durable option that was built to last.

Hand-crafted from genuine cow leather, you’ll find this weighty orb in 4-, 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-pound options. Choose from the rugged brown hue or the always sleek black. Then throw your ball in the air—or at the ground, or just hold it.

Dimensions: 6.7- to 10.2- inch diameter, depending on the size you choose | Material: Leather  | Weight: Available in 4-, 8-, 12-, 16-, and  20-pound options available

Best Heavy: Day 1 Fitness Weighted Slam Ball

Day 1 Fitness Weighted Slam Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Comes in multiple colors

  • Great for slamming

  • Durable outer shell

Cons
  • Despite ridges, it's not as grippy as other options

  • Not bounceable

If you’ve outgrown your current weight situation, this sphere may be a welcome change and an upgrade. Boasting a sand-filled core surrounded by an extra-thick outer shell, this is a true dead-weight ball. Translation: This ball doesn’t bounce, making it perfect for slams (yep, it’s a slam ball), which are a total-body exercise that helps build power, strength and speed.

At 50 pounds, it’s really heavy, so good form and the incremental build-up to the use of this slam ball is key.

Size: 9-inch to 10-inch diameter, depending on size | Material: Plastic | Weight: 10- to 50-pound options available

Best for Slamming: TRX Training Slam Ball

TRX Training Slam Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Offers great grip

  • Comes in multiple weights

Cons
  • Sand moves inside, causing instability

The tire-like tread makes it easier to keep your hands on this bounce-free ball as you slam it into the ground, while the sturdy rubber shell absorbs the impact. And it’s filled with sand, so you may notice a bit of movement in the ball.

Having to control the repositioned center of gravity that shifting sand creates—even if just a little— will make you work a wee bit harder, upping your overall strength and stability skills.

Size: 10.4 x 9.8 x 9.5 inches (when packaged) | Material: Rubber | Weight: 6-, 8-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-, 40-, and 50-pound options available

Best for Grip: Yes4All Slam Ball

Yes4All Slam Ball

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Offers great grip

  • Great for slamming

  • Extremely durable

Cons
  • This pattern is only available in black

  • Not bounceable

This sand-stuffed ball comes in four different tread patterns (and five colors) to help you personalize your grip. Our fave: the one with the strategically-placed large triangles with deep grooves on the dynamic black hue. This pattern ensures that the sweat from your hands can just slither on through those slits instead of building up, keeping your clasp intact.

This soft, elastic PVC shell has a bit of give to it, so it can withstand the extreme pressure and force of repeatedly being thrown at the ground.

Size: 9.6- to 11.8-inch diameter, depending on the size you select | Material: PVC | Weight: 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-, and 40-pound options

Best for Seniors: Stott Pilates Toning Ball Two-Pack

Stott Pilates Toning Ball Two-Pack

Courtesy of Merrithew

Pros
  • Fits in the palm of your hand

  • Great for high-rep exercises

  • Allows you to train both sides of the body simultaneously

Cons
  • Not suited for those looking for a heavy medicine ball

  • Not meant for slamming

What’s better than one medicine ball? Two, of course. And these soft-sided ones fit right in the palm of your hand, which means you get double the toning benefits. The compact size is also a plus for older fitness enthusiasts who may find holding a larger ball too challenging. 

They’re an easy way to add weight to some of your favorite Pilates moves, be it the half roll down, spinal twists, or the hundred. You could also just carry them suitcase style to improve your grip and core strength.

Size: 4 x 4 x 4 inches | Material: PVC | Weight: 1-, 2-, and 3-pound options available

Final Verdict

If you want a medicine ball that is a reputable and solid choice, you can’t go wrong with the CAP Barbell Medicine Ball (view on Amazon). It’s sturdy, it’s versatile, and it rebounds.

If you’re looking for something with a little more flair, the Modest Vintage Player Retro Heritage Brown Leather Medicine Ball (view on ModestVintagePlayer.com) will definitely be your go-to. Not only is it functional, but its design is just beautiful. 

What to Look for in a Medicine Ball

Type

You want to pick your ball based on the exercises you’ll be performing with it. If your goal is to use them for slamming exercises, look for a slam ball instead of a bounceable medicine ball.  If you are doing Pilates moves, you’ll want a smaller, more malleable ball. Looking to throw at a surface and then catch? In this case, you want a ball that bounces.

Weight

Opt for a ball that's too heavy and you won’t be able to lift it at all, making it useless for exercising. Go for one that's too light and it won't provide the intensity you're looking for. You want to choose a medicine ball that challenges you, but also allows you to maintain good form so that you get the most out of your training and reduce your risk of injury.

Texture and Material

Handles, grooves, studs—you want a ball with a grippy surface that you can hold comfortably and that won’t slip out of your hands as you exercise. Also worth considering: Do you want a firm ball or something with some softeners to it?

Looking for longevity and durability is key.  Whether you are holding the ball, throwing it, or slamming it, you want a quality piece that will last—whether it's made of leather, PVC, or rubber.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best size for a medicine ball?

    Even though medicine balls vary in weight, the size of the ball will generally be the same. Slam balls tend to be a bit smaller in size, but again they are uniform regardless of weight. 

  • What is the best weight for a medicine ball?

    Similar to the weight of other resistance training equipment, you'll need to choose the appropriate weight of your ball based on your experience level and the type of movement you are doing. "Go heavier for strength and lighter for core- or plyometric-focused movements," says Davila. But be smart. If you’re a newbie, go lighter. You don’t want to hurt yourself!

  • What are the best medicine ball workouts for abs?

    If you have a medicine ball, Russian twist and V-Ups are hands down the best ab exercises, according to Davila. Here’s why: Not only are they extra challenging, but they “force you to stabilize your midline a lot more because of the added resistance,” he says.

Why Trust Verywell Fit? 

Rozalynn S. Frazier is an award-winning, multimedia journalist with more than 20 years of experience reporting on health and fitness. She is also a NASM-certified personal trainer and an avid exerciser, who routinely puts wellness tools and fitness gear through its paces to help readers figure out which products are worthy of praise. She has created content for SELF, Men’s Health, Real Simple, Health, Essence, Cosmopolitan, Livestrong.com, among others. 

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