Medicine balls are one of the most diverse pieces of equipment anyone can have in their home gym.
They feature a simple design that’s easy to store and scale, and their boxy shape is more akin to real-life use than a dumbbell or weight.
You can use your medicine ball for a vast number of strength and conditioning exercises. They’re great for developing explosive power, exercises that target all the major muscle groups, individual workouts, and partner exercises.
Not all medicine balls are equal. If you intend to throw or drop your ball on a regular basis, you need a sturdy ball that retains its shape and doesn’t burst after a few uses.
If you want a medicine ball like that, we recommend heading over to the CrossFit conditioning space. CrossFit gear gets beat up all day, and both gyms and athletes look for equipment that stands up to the test to avoid injuries and the unnecessary expense of replacing new equipment time and again.
Vulcan Strength is one of the brands used by CrossFitters across the country. We created a full review of its medicine ball products and compared them to similar equipment to help you find a set you’ll love.
Vulcan Strength offers two different lines of medicine balls: Vulcan Strength and Vulcan Pro.
Vulcan Strength products commonly find use during wall ball exercises because they are firm enough to maintain their round shape even when thrown at a high velocity.
How to Use Vulcan Medicine Balls
Vulcan’s medicine balls are ideal for almost any use in the gym. They’re suitable for wall balls and acceleration and deceleration drills. They also make good depth perception aids for nervous squatters.
Vulcan is careful to note that the Vulcan Strength medicine balls aren’t for vertical slamming. However, you can use them for explosive rotational or overhead throws as long as there’s someone to catch them. The manufacturer won’t uphold the warranty if it becomes clear that you used them for slam balls.
According to Vulcan itself, you can use them in exercises that promote the following skills:
- Eye-hand coordination
Are you looking for a product you can slam without risking your warranty? Vulcan’s conditioning collection also includes slam balls designed for working on explosive strength. These range from 10 to 200 pounds and serve as “softer Atlas stones.”
Vulcan constructs its medicine balls from the same materials that other manufacturers use to put together boxing gloves and punching bags. The material braces for impact and makes the medicine balls more versatile compared to plastic materials.
The Pro line is an entirely different animal. Vulcan says these products are “locked and loaded,” and they’re not kidding.
Vulcan constructs its Pro Ballistic medicine balls from Arimex, a military-grade ballistic fabric. Arimex itself features the material known as Twaron, which armies around the world use in aviation and military products.
What’s the difference? Arimex offers five times the strength of steel. At the same time, it’s still pliable enough to brace for impact. The surface also provides more grip than the leather medicine balls traditionally used. There’s more of a tactile experience throughout the workout, which provides a higher degree of control.
Vulcan Strength medicine balsa re 14” in diameter with a 45” circumference.
The Vulcan Strength line comes in 10 sizes:
- 6 lb
- 8 lb
- 10 lb
- 12 lb
- 14 lb
- 16 lb
- 18 lb
- 20 lb
- 25 lb
- 30 lb
The Vulcan Pro line comes in far larger sizes:
- 5 lb
- 10 lb
- 15 lb
- 20 lb
- 25 lb
- 30 lb
- 35 lb
- 40 lb
- 60 lb
- 80 lb
- 100 lb
How They Hold Up
Vulcan Strength opened its doors in 2009, which means the oldest equipment produced came out nine years ago.
So far, reviews show that Vulcan products across the board tend to hold up well over time. You’ll get a minimum of several years of use out of them.
Our only word of warning is to commercial gym owners. Vulcan’s Strength medicine balls will last years, but like any other product they only put up with so much abuse. Running six classes a day and using medicine balls in each of them means you’ll replace them more frequently than a home-gym user.
The Vulcan Strength medicine balls come with a two-year warranty. The warranty cares for the seams and promises that they won’t rupture or split during that time.
Vulcan Pro medicine balls feature a lifetime guarantee. Vulcan promises the line will never burst or break and offers to replace it if it does.
Who Is Vulcan?
Vulcan Strength Training Systems is an American exercise equipment designer and manufacturer. Its focus lies in Olympic weightlifting equipment, but it also made a name for itself in CrossFit gyms. Recent expansions of the product line include systems for home gyms and commercial gyms.
Vulcan’s owners as all U.S. military veterans who focus on providing the best quality equipment in the United States. But it also recognizes incredible products designed abroad. The company combines both to make sure it remains on the cutting edge of new and innovative products.
The medicine balls fall within Vulcan’s range of conditioning equipment. It offers one of the most comprehensive lines of gear currently available including both the strength and Pro medicine balls as well as:
- Land mines
- Slam balls
- Climbing robes
- Battle ropes
- CrossFit Speed Ropes
- Concept Rowers and Concept 2 Ski
What Makes Vulcan Strength Training Medicine Balls Unique?
Vulcan strength training medicine balls become unique when you invest in the Pro line and get the Arimex fabric.
To understand why its unique compared to leather, you need to look at the structure of the base of the fabric: Twaron.
Aramid fibers are synthetic fibers known for their strength and heat-resistance. The material is standard-issue for military uses like creating ballistic-rated body armor fabrics or marine hull reinforcement.
The reason aramid stands up to the test is its structure. Aramid features chain molecules in its fibers that are highly oriented. Because of the fiber’s axis, it uses a higher proportion of the chemical bond, which makes the fibers stronger than most other synthetic fiber.
The Arimex fabric used in the medicine balls comes from Twaron, which is a brand of aramid fiber fabric. AKZO, a Dutch company, developed Twaron in the 1970s to be a strong and heat-resistant fiber, and it continues to be a market leader today.
So why do Vulcan Pro medicine balls come with a lifetime warranty? Their strength isn’t a gimmick. The chemicals in the fabric itself have mechanical properties that make them stronger than almost every other fabric available without adding weight.
Vulcan’s medicine balls range from $68.44 for a six-pound ball to $116.3- for a thirty-pound ball.
The Vulcan Pro ballistic medicine balls start higher at $92.99 for a five-pound ball to $252.99 for a 100-pound ball.
What Home Users Think
Home users love that Vulcan combines price and quality. These medicine balls are affordable for home users, but they don’t feel cheap at all.
Those who buy them for their home gyms also appreciate the scale of the design. You can buy a medicine ball in any size imaginable. Moreover, each size remains safe because its careful design matches the ball’s circumference with its weight, so you don’t end up off kilter.
How Vulcan Medicine Balls Compare
For years, you had the option of buying a cheap, poorly-constructed medicine ball or the Dynamax balls. Dynamax was the only big player in the game, and if you’ve watched the CrossFit games, you’ll know it’s still the preferred brand of the games and many of the sport’s top athletes.
Today, many major gym outfitters also design their own medicine balls. We’re going to compare some of these key players as well as some affordable, retail options to show you what you’re getting when you buy Vulcan medicine balls.
- All Dynamax medicine balls are 14" in diameter, impact-absorbing, moisture and scuff resistant
- Soft-shelled with a heavy duty durable vinyl construction to ensure longevity of product life
- Ergonomic design maintains neutral spine increasing stability and max power
Dynamax’s medicine balls compare best to Vulcan’s lighter range made from boxing glove material. Both are versatile gym tools for stamina, strength, agility, and accuracy, and both feature a two-year no-slam warranty.
Dynamax started making medicine balls before Vulcan, and their longevity gives you a look at the durability of their product. You can’t get that with Vulcan simply because Vulcan’s medicine balls are too new; you have to peer into the future to see what a decade-old medicine ball looks like. People who splurge on Dynamax products report that it holds up even after eight to ten years.
Still, when you by Dynamax you are limited. First, the size range is minimal: Dynamax only offers 5-30 lb medicine balls.
Second, and we think, more importantly, the price limits most buyers.
If you’re building a home gym and you want a full range of medicine balls for skill development, you could easily drop $500 on just a few of the Dynamax balls. The cheapest is the four-pound Stinger at $80, and by the time you reach a twelve-pound ball, you spend $100 per piece.
Vulcan’s thirty-pound ball costs only $116.30, and the 6-20-pound balls all fall under $100. You get a great product, but you also get more of it for less.
Vulcan vs. Rogue
Dynamax may be the original Crossfit medicine ball, but Rogue Fitness swooped in and became the face of CrossFit. Even if CrossFit HQ never asked, its best-known athletes did.
Not convinced? In case you missed the newsletter, there is medicine ball series known as the “Camille Series” co-developed with 2014 Game champion and sponsored Rogue athlete Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. There’s also a second branded series co-developed with Rich Froning Jr., who won the CrossFit Games four times (and is also a sponsored Rogue athlete).
Rogue also hawks Dynamax medicine balls in its own store because it acknowledges quality.
All Rogue medicine balls (and other conditioning equipment) come from the U.S. factory located in Columbus, Ohio. Each ball features a double-stitched paracord threading to close up its soft shell. Rogue also coats the vinyl shells to keep out moisture (read: sweat) and prevent scuffs (read: better workout pictures).
Paracord is incredibly durable, and it’s ideal for stitching anything. Survivalists and military-gear experts swear by it for everything from shoelaces to towing vehicles. What’s the only thing better than a paracord stitched seam? The answer is a double-stitched paracord seam.
Rogue’s prices are competitive with Vulcan’s, and both offer the same warranty. We think the choice between the two is a toss-up. It may come down to looks or shipping. Though, it’s worth noting the Rogue offers a 4-pound ball and Vulcan’s range starts at 6.
- j/fit offers soft, wall ball style, medicine balls between six and thirty pounds. Each one includes a triple-stitched soft shell for heavy duty use, and each medicine ball is 14-inches in diameter.
The most significant difference between j/fit and Vulcan is that j/fit manufactures products in China whereas Vulcan continues to be American made. Some customers say that the choice impacted the quality of the ball. There are photos of split seams online, but it is unclear whether the users went and used it as a slam ball. j/fit explicitly says its products aren’t suitable for slam ball exercises.
Otherwise, j/fit products are inexpensive compared to Vulcan and the other brands reviewed here. Warranty details were unavailable.
Customers say that the j/fit products were perfect for people who want a medicine ball collection at home but didn’t want to overspend to get it.
VULCAN VS. ROGUE
What We Think
In our opinion, Vulcan offers the benefits of expensive brands like Rogue or Dynamax but at a lower price. We particularly like the Pro series because there’s little else on the market like it, and Vulcan backs up their belief in their product with a lifetime warranty.
Vulcan is worth investing in if you’re starting a gym or building a quality home gym. Spending a bit extra on a medicine ball isn’t necessary to get a great workout, but it does seem to add value to both your collection and each individual exercise.