This CrossFit Exercise Is Like Hurling Boulders Over Your Shoulder (Holy Body Burn!)

POPSUGAR Photography | Jenny Sugar
POPSUGAR Photography | Jenny Sugar

This basic CrossFit exercise is known lovingly as D-ball over the shoulder. Looks simple enough, right? You just pick up the heavy ball and stand up as you throw it over your shoulder. After a few reps of these, you'll understand why it's a full-body move that not only strengthens your muscles but also gets your heart rate up.

If you're new to this move, Jade Jenny, head CrossFit coach and owner of Champlain Valley CrossFit, recommends grabbing a lighter-weight D-ball (also called a slam ball), like a 10- or 20-pounder. Gradually work your way up to a 40- or 75-pound ball (or heavier!), depending on your strength and the number of reps you're doing.

Note that D-balls are the hard balls with the rubbery surface that makes them easier to grip, not the soft medicine balls that tend to bounce. Here's how to do the D-ball over the shoulder with correct form.

D-Ball Over the Shoulder

  • Stand over the ball.
  • Keeping the core strong and the chest slightly lifted to avoid rounding the spine, bend at the knees and squat down low enough so you can scoop up the ball with both hands.
  • Engage the legs and glutes to explosively stand up, rolling the ball up and over the right shoulder so it falls to the floor behind you.
  • Turn around and repeat, this time hurling the ball over your left shoulder.
  • Continue for as many reps as prescribed in the workout.

This video shows a 40-pound ball, which I was able to move from the ground to over my shoulder in a fluid motion. If you're using a very challenging weight, you'll need to pull the ball up over your bent knees, repositioning your hands so you can drive with the legs and roll the ball up the chest and over the shoulder.

If I ever need a quick workout at home (because I'm a CrossFit nerd and yes, own my own D-ball), I just do 50 reps and I feel so pumped!