Exercise ball are excellent pieces of equipment for enhancing, assisting, and bringing varieties to your workouts. The functionality of an exercise ball includes helping with core strength and spine alignment. This is why investing in an exercise or stability ball is a great way to make your daily workouts more challenging. And they can even be used as alternatives to conventional office chairs in order to minimize the time you spend sedentarily.
Before you purchase this fantastic workout tool, however, you need to figure out the size you will need. This is highly essential if you want your workouts to be highly effective. However, you need to bear in mind that the right size depends significantly on the type of exercises you wish to undertake.
Nearly everyone interested in purchasing an exercise ball also wants to know the perfect size to buy. Therefore, take a look at these helpful tips in order to make informed decisions:
Base the size of the stability ball off your height
The simplest and basic way to quickly determine the exercise ball’s correct size is by checking your height, i.e., how tall you are. Factors like flexibility, body composition, as well as ball resistance, contribute significantly to the overall size of the exercise ball you want to end up with.
Nevertheless, if you order online and don’t get the chance to take a test drive, the table below should give you an excellent idea of where to start:
|Height||Size of exercise ball|
|4’6, and below||30cm|
|4’6 to 5’||45cm|
|5’ to 5’5||55cm|
|5’6 to 6’2||65cm|
|6’2 and above||75cm|
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Undergo a test sit
The second best way – though many fitness enthusiasts refer to it as the best – to determine the correct size for you is by visiting a fitness store that sells exercise balls and then trying them out.
You can start by sitting on the stability ball, but make sure both feet are flat on the floor. Your weight should be equally distributed between your feet. Ensure you are correctly aligned by bouncing up and down lightly on the exercise ball. For this to work, your core must be engaged.
As you test out the exercise ball, check out the following:
- Are your knees slightly lower than your pelvis or in line with it? Your hips and knees should be at precisely 90 degrees.
- What about your thighs? Are they parallel to the floor?
- What of your ears, shoulders, and pelvis? Are they in line?
As soon as you have completed the testing and gotten satisfactory answers, you have found the perfect exercise ball for you. If you need an exercise ball that requires you to stand or kneel on the ball, make sure you go for a larger ball.
Other determinants of exercise ball size
First of all, do not go by photos of male or female models sitting on exercise balls. In most cases, they usually sit on a stability ball that is much larger than they would typically train on. This is because large exercise balls photograph much better than small ones.
For exercises that require you to sit, keep the following in mind:
- Your head should be aligned correctly over your shoulders without leaning forward or backward.
- If you feel you are somewhat between sizes, deflate or inflate the ball accordingly.
- Make sure you can sit very comfortably, with both feet planted solidly on the floor, your knees at about 90 degrees, and your weight distributed evenly between both feet.
- Make use of different sizes of balls, especially if you are working out in a gym. This will allow you variation and flexibility as you progress with the stability ball exercises.
For exercises that require you to stand or remain on your feet, keep the following in mind:
- If you intend to use the exercise ball for upper extremity workouts, you need a get a much heavier or big ball.
- If you lack scapular stability or shoulder strength, you should only go for a smaller exercise ball for wall push-ups, dynamic exercises wax-on/wax-off, or isometric shoulder exercise.
The size of an exercise ball for exercises that need you to support your body against a wall – such as calf raises, squats, and side squats – does not really matter. This is because the ball’s function when you engage in these exercises is to help guide you into the proper body mechanics.
Do not be surprised if you find that an exercise ball of 65cm is somewhat bigger than a 65cm ball from another brand. This is why you must try or test a wide variety of exercise balls for different exercises.
If the ball fails to meet your needs, do not hesitate to return it for a replacement. It is much better to perform workouts on the right equipment than managing an ill-fitting one.
First-time users of exercise balls
If this is your first time with an exercise ball, make sure you start whatever workout program you have in mind with a softer, larger ball. This is because softer stability balls provider much greater contact with the floor.
More contact with the floor equals more stability or support while engaging in exercises. Your muscles will not work as hard as when the opposite is the case.
The firmer an exercise ball is, the more challenging it will be for you to stabilize yourself on it. And the more inflated the ball is, the less contact it has with the floor. If you are not skillful enough to maintain balance on the exercise ball, you may end up injuring yourself.
As a rule of thumb, a large exercise ball is perfect for you:
- If you have back problems
- If you have long legs for your height
- If you are using the ball only for yoga, stretching, or even as an office chair.
Using an exercise ball as an office chair
If you intend to use the exercise ball as an office chair, make sure your desk’s height is about 29-30 inches. You must also be of average weight and height.
The perfect size to opt for is the 65cm ball. But then, you need to consider the height of the office chair you want to replace. This is because exercise balls generally sink when you sit on them.
The degree of sinking depends primarily on your overall weight as well as how much – or less – you inflate it. Firmer exercise balls sink less when inflated very close to their maximum diameter.
A general guideline that most people follow is to get an exercise ball with a maximum diameter that is 4 inches greater than the height of your office chair. There is, however, no guarantee that the 65cm-sized ball will be perfect for you.
So, make sure you make your findings with other individuals who use exercise balls as office chairs.
On a final note, make sure you only purchase an exercise ball that comes with the anti-burst grade. If it mistakenly gets punctured, the air will only leak out slowly. But if a regular exercise ball gets punctured, it will burst noisily like a balloon and dump you unceremoniously on the floor.
Make sure the exercise ball you end up with is firm and round when fully inflated, not flimsy or lopsided. And the mold of the ball should be durable and thick.