Last Updated on January 11, 2023

lexWwondering what exercise ball do I need?  You’re in the right place!  I’m going to break down what an exercise ball is, its benefits, the different kinds of exercise balls, and tips to choose the best ball for you.  So let’s dig in.

 

WHAT ARE EXERCISE BALLS?

 

An exercise ball, also known as a stability ball, balance ball, or Swiss ball, is a large inflatable ball used to exercise. Stability balls improve balance, flexibility, and core strength by challenging the user to maintain their balance while exercising.

There are two different ways to use an exercise ball in your workouts.  You can use the ball as a bench or chair or you can use it as a weight itself.

For example…

Here’s an example of using a stability ball as a bench.trainer Christina Carlyle doing a stability ball chest press

 

Here’s an example of using an exercise ball as a weight.

a stability ball exercise being done by trainer Christina Carlyle

 

Exercise balls are my ultimate “work smart, not hard” equipment because using them helps you engage more muscles & get better results compared to using dumbbells.

 

EXERCISE BALL BENEFITS

 

There are a few main benefits to using an exercise ball in your workouts.  The most important reasons are:

  • Improve balance and coordination: Using a stability ball requires you to engage your core muscles and maintain your balance, which can help improve your balance and coordination and flatten your abs in the process.
  • Increase flexibility: Performing exercises on a stability ball can help increase your flexibility, as you have to stretch and reach in order to maintain your balance.  This can prevent injuries and soreness.
  • Build core strength: Engaging your core muscles to maintain balance on a stability ball helps strengthen abdominal muscles and improves overall core strength… so using a ball helps you get abs even if you’re not doing an ab exercise with the ball.  WOO!
  • Increase muscle activation: Exercising on an unstable surface like a stability ball can increase muscle activation and engagement, which means better results and more strength for you – which is what we want!

Here’s an example of how you can use a stability ball to increase the benefits of a plank.

Plank on a Stability ball done by Christina Calyle

 

How to choose the right size exercise ball

 

Stability balls are available in different sizes and weights to accommodate people of different heights and fitness levels. It’s important to choose the right size stability ball for your height in order to get the most benefits from using them in your workouts.

The general rule is to choose an exercise ball that is about the same height as your knees when you are sitting on it.  Meaning that when you sit on it your knee cap is aligned with the top of the ball when your feet are flat on the floor.

Use this test to see if your exercise ball if the right size for you.  Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

  • If your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, the ball is the right size for you.
  • If your feet are not flat on the ground or your knees are not bent at a 90-degree angle, try a larger or smaller ball.

This is how to choose a stability ball that you’ll use as a chair or to sit on when you perform exercises.  A ball that suits your height is also ok to use as a weight.

 

What if my exercise ball is smaller?

 

But you can use a smaller ball, too.  Smaller balls are easier to control but will have you lower to the ground if you use it as a bench.  Smaller balls are better to use as a weight during exercises.  They’re also better to use as a bench instead of as a chair.

If you want one ball, I’d recommend getting one that you can use as both.  The flat foot, 90-degree angle test would let you know if the ball is the right size for you.

 

What about weighted exercise balls?

 

Weighted balls come pre-filled with sand.  The sand in weight balls also helps stabilize the ball, meaning they won’t roll around as much.  So they’re great for a beginner or someone with balance issues.

A weighted ball can minimize the benefits because the sand is stabilizing the ball instead of your core.  So you won’t get as many core benefits.

Weighted balls add more intensity if you use them as a weight.  So they’re more advanced

blue stability ball
 

What exercise ball is best?

 
I personally love these exercise balls.  They come in a variety of colors and sizes.  They’re thick, sturdy, and secure because they have a coating that isn’t slippery.  It’s very important that your ball isn’t smooth and slippery because you could slide off the ball and injure yourself.

 

I hope that helps you find the right-sized exercise ball for you.

Your Coach & Biggest Cheerleader,

 

If you need exercises to do with your ball, check out these stability ball exercises.

 

text that says how to choose the right size exercise ball and Christina Carlyle doing an exercise ball exercise

 

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