Plyometric Drills with your Dog Update: Ball Slams

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slam3_smallWe received a lot of feedback on our article on beginner plyometric drills to do with your dog at home.  Several readers commented that they are unable to perform these exercises due to the winter weather.  While it is true that these drills are more fun outdoors, they can be done in a gym or home gym, or almost anywhere.


Jumping: you can jump anywhere, in your basement, on your porch, or in your gym or doggy gym.  Set up your start and end markers (cones) 10 or 20 yards apart, or as far apart as you can, given space limitations.  Now get hopping!


Medicine ball overhead toss: this one can be tricky.  Depending on the size of the ball and your strength, the ball should normally travel 20 yards or less.  I recommend choosing a ball that will only travel 10 yards each toss (including the roll) so that you can do it in most gyms and canine gyms.  That said, this exercise is not optimal for someone who is working out with their dog at home. Here is an alternative medicine ball drill that you can do anywhere with your dog and will build power and endurance while you wait for the winter to turn to spring.


Medicine ball slams with your dog

This drill is a full body plyometric type of drill. It is best performed with a non-bouncing medicine ball of a moderate to heavy weight.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and holding the ball at your waist.  Raise the ball overhead and bend your arms so that the ball is behind your head.  Forcefully slam the ball down into the ground about 6 inches in front and in the middle of your feet.   The ball should bounce just a little.  Quickly squat down to grab it as it rebounds off the ground and before it falls to the ground again.  You will need to squat down to do this: don’t simply hinge at the back.  As you grab it on the rebound, quickly lift it overhead and repeat the sequence.  Really try and slam the ball using all of your core and back.  Don’t just rely on the arms to slam the ball.  Do 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps each.  Your heart rate will be elevated after this.



Progression: use a heavier ball, speed up the cadence, or drop into a full squat during the rebound phase.


With your dog: teach your dog to sit as you slam the ball and rise when you rise for the next rep.  This will likely require some training but you can use your typical ‘sit’ and ‘stand’ commands to get your dog to move in proper cadence with your slams.  This can actually be a great training drill as you are teaching your dog to obey commands in a somewhat distracting environment.  Of course, some dogs might want to try and ‘get’ the ball as it is being slammed into the floor.  Use caution so that you don’t slam the ball at your dog!


Give the medicine ball slam exercise a try while you wait for the winter to pass and incorporate this drill into your regular, year round fitness routine.  It is an effective exercise that you and your dog can have fun with.

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  1. Hi Y’all!

    My Human does something similar with me. Because she’s had her leg crushed (when a horse fell on her and pinned her against a fence) she needs me anytime she has to stoop for anything. She does do toe touches while keepin’ her legs straight. She reaches to the ceiling and I stand, then she goes down to touch her toes and repeat. She alternates this exercise with sideways stretches and I move from one side of her to the other when she does this part…then back to the toe touches. I guess she could hold a ball and do this, but, if she’s waving the ball around, I think I might want to jump up and take the ball away!

    We play basketball together too. I’m the guard!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Here’s to Yummy Fun in My Beautiful Wonderland!My Profile

    • That’ great Hawk. Do you play basketball for the Atlanta “Hawks” by any chance?

      Good idea to add a medicine ball to this. Just make sure it is a light weight one. Your drill does not require a heavy weight.
      steve recently posted…Plyometric Drills with your Dog Update: Ball SlamsMy Profile

  2. Haha I think I was busted out. I guess I couldn’t get away with the excuse that I live in the south and don’t have a basement. If I go in my basement I think the dogs would get more of a workout than I as they jump on pool table
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…The Queen Of Hearts Dance~ Stanzie Is Gman’s QueenMy Profile

  3. I think we’ll start by jumping around the living room! Once our snow and ice thaws, we can go back outside! Happy FitDog Friday and Valentine’s Day!
    Your pals,
    Diane and Rocco
    Diane recently posted…Teach Your Dog “Hide Your Eyes”My Profile

  4. I love this stuff, and can’t wait till the snow is gone outside so I can utilize what you’ve taught me!
    I thank you! I always care so much about my kids and my dogs health but not nearly enough of my own, so in reading your posts has helped me get together some what of a plan of what I want to do!
    Happy Valentines DaY!
    ((husky hugz frum our pack))
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…♥Valentine snuggles♥My Profile

  5. Great tips on how to do this indoors. 🙂 I did have to laugh at “Use caution so that you don’t slam the ball at your dog!” because I can totally see Nailah trying to jump at the ball as it’s being slammed down. XD
    Nailah Bone recently posted…FitDog Friday – K9 Camp Challenge Part IMy Profile

  6. Another great SlimDoggy Blog!

  7. I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that Paw Plunger at! I’ve got to get one of those for the RV.

  8. Great tips on how to do this indoors. 🙂 Always great tips from Slimdoggy ! Happy Valentines Day to both of you!

  9. Us winter dwellers do need to modify things sometimes but we also find that walking in snow and on ice also works muscles that don’t normally get worked…shoveling is also a great work out!
    emma recently posted…Love Is Beautiful | GBGV | {This Moment} See BeautifulMy Profile

    • You are so right Emma – everything becomes a little more difficult in all that snow! Except for building snow forts…that’s much easier for you then me 😉
      mkob recently posted…Plyometric Drills with your Dog Update: Ball SlamsMy Profile

  10. Good for the people who are cooped up! Luckily not us anymore, our snow all melted.
    Tenacious Little Terrie recently posted…FitDog Friday #21 – Snow WorkoutMy Profile

  11. Those look like great exercises. We plan to go to training tomorrow (even though the high is supposed to be like 18). Hopefully the dawgs will get to do some hide and seek (or running some blinds). The people have done nothing. Unless you count seeking the driveway as we are shoveling snow….lol. We might actually get to 40 next week, but with rain.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…A Beautiful Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  12. Knowing Scooter he’d stand right under that ball…..Happy FitDogging
    Paws &Pedals recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #35My Profile

    • And try to catch it right? I was worried Jack was going to also.
      mkob recently posted…Wordless Wednesday 2-19-14My Profile

  13. What a great exercise! Definitely going to be trying this one out at home – and Kate can get involved too! Love it.

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