Take a look around the TRX® “weights” category, and you’ll see a lot more than just kettlebells and dumbbells: there are wall balls, slam balls, discs, powerbags, and weighted vests to spice up your workouts. Certain TRX tools, like medicine balls, even come in a Kevlar® upgrade option. At first glance, it may seem like the only difference is the price tag—Kevlar gear is more expensive—but the durability and versatility of a Kevlar medicine ball more than justify the extra investment.
Why is Kevlar perfect for workout gear?
DuPoint scientist Stephanie Kwolek developed Kevlar in 1965, and the material hit the commercial market in the 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Kevlar was revolutionary because it was lightweight, flexible, heat-resistant. It’s five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis. The tight weave of Kevlar fibers is incredibly hard to penetrate, so it’s resistant to bullet and knife damage. That’s why military and police personnel often wear Kevlar vests and helmets.
Before you get any crazy ideas: Don’t run around trying to deflect bullets with a Kevlar Medicine Ball. But when it comes to finding the best possible material for workout tools like medicine balls, Kevlar is it.
What makes a Kevlar Medicine Ball special?
The Kevlar Medicine Ball’s very long, very official name is the TRX® XD™ Kevlar™ Medicine Ball. (How’s that for a bunch of symbols?) All those extra registrations and trademarks mean there was a lot of research and development that went into making this the best medicine ball on the market—something you can toss, throw, or slam.
TRX Wall Ball
There’s debate in the fitness community about appropriate ways to use a medicine ball, and that’s because most medicine balls are what TRX calls “wall balls,” meaning you can throw them overhead for a standard wall toss—you know, the kind CrossFitters love to do—or wind up laterally for throws or passes. But throwing a wall ball down to smash it into the ground? Not a good idea. Wall balls are usually made from leather or a leather-like material, and slamming them into the ground will destroy the exterior shell.
TRX Slam Ball
For slamming, you typically need a slam ball, which is squishier than a wall ball, and lands with a super-satisfying “thud.” (Seriously, the next you’re having a rough day, do a few slam ball throws. It’s a great stress reliever.)
Slam Ball Pros: The TRX Slam Ball has a grippy rubber surface, and it won’t roll away or ricochet.
Cons: As the name suggests, it’s meant for slamming. You could certainly use it as added weight for a squat or a Russian twist, but it’s not aerodynamically-optimized for overhead wall-ball-style throws or partner passes.
TRX’s Kevlar Medicine Ball, however, can do it all. The Kevlar shell is comfortable to grip and catch for overhead or lateral throws, and it can stand up to the pressure of repeated contact with your floor or driveway. Available in both 10” and 14” diameters, in weights ranging from 4 lbs to 20 lbs, you can choose the Kevlar Medicine Ball that feels best for your hands. It may be more expensive than the slam ball or wall ball individually, but it gives you more workout options with just a single piece of equipment.
What do you actually do with a Kevlar Medicine Ball?
Holding your Kevlar Medicine Ball at chest level, you can add weight to many of the strength exercises you probably do all the time—we’re talking squats, lunges, overhead presses, sit-ups with an overhead press, or Russian twists. You could also counterbalance and challenge your control in skaters, or add more burn to a run-of-the-mill push-up by offsetting one hand on top of the medicine ball. (For an extra treat, slide or roll the ball under your body and switch off-set hands after each rep.)
On the cardio side, you could use a Kevlar Medicine Ball for football-style toe taps, shoulder-burning wall balls, partner-friendly chest passes, or stress-burning ball slams.
Weights and kettlebells may last you a lifetime—assuming you avoid rust damage—but tools like medicine balls usually have a limited lifespan. When these types of equipment eventually fall apart, it’s because of the way they’re used. The impact of slams, the constant friction of sliding—it’s too much for most materials. The TRX® XD™ Kevlar™ Medicine Ball is the most durable option on the market, so you can slam, scoot, throw, and roll it longer than the standard tools.
There’s no way to gloss over it: weights are an investment. When you’re ready to add a medicine ball or two to your collection, buying durable equipment is the smartest way to stretch your dollars further. Kevlar may not be the material you automatically think of for creating gym equipment, but it should be. Stronger than steel is strong enough for your next workout.