So, you’re in the market for an exercise ball (AKA swiss ball, yoga ball, stability ball, fitness ball, gym ball, balance ball… plus a few other names, but I think this list is already getting too unwieldy, phew!). There are actually a number of different exercise ball sizes that you can get, and getting the right size is important in allowing you to use the ball correctly.
In this articles, you’ll find out why size matters, and how to choose the right size exercise ball for you. Hopefully, this will make the buying process much more simple and you won’t suffer the same purchasing woes as me!
My Experience Purchasing a Exercise Ball
I was up for purchasing a new exercise ball recently since my existing one suffered an untimely fate (more on that later). I thought it would be a simple process, but did you know that these things come in different sizes? I actually didn’t, until I went to buy one. My original exercise ball was a Christmas present, so all the hard work in choosing the right size had already been done for me.
After a quick cursory google search where I realized about the different sizes, I pretty much went into procrastination mode because I didn’t know which size to buy. My old ball was great and I wanted to essentially get the same size as that, but I wasn’t sure how to tell which size it was (as it may have not even been the recommended size for me originally). I think I was going to try and measure its deflated remains or something like that – of course, a ‘too hard’ job which was then left for a bit later!
Buying Online: You Can’t Try Before You Buy!
Especially when you are buying online it is difficult to know what you are getting. When you buy in person, some shops may even have a display product where you can see the ball, sit on it, get a feel of its actual size, and hand over your hard-earned cash with a bit more confidence. But when shopping online, it’s a lot harder to know what you’re getting. I know I’m always plagued with doubt when making online purchases and I spend hours researching each product in detail before I am ready to click that ‘buy’ button.
How Many Different Sizes Are There?
The size of an exercise ball is measured by the diameter of the inflated ball, which is equal to its height.
Though there are 3 standard sizes, I’ve seen 5 different sizes readily available for purchase:
- 18 inches or 45cm
- 22 inches or 55cm
- 26 inches or 65cm
- 30 inches or 75cm
- 34 inches of 85cm
Why does the size of my exercise ball matter?
The particular size of exercise ball that you need will depend mainly on your height, what type of exercises you intend to do with it, and to a lesser extent, your weight.
The wrong sized ball can make particular exercises uncomfortable or even unfeasible to complete with the correct form, as the size of the ball needs to work with your body anatomy.
For example, if you are performing exercises which require you to support your weight on the ball while assuming an all-fours position around it, a shorter person might find this almost impossible to do with a large size ball, while a tall person may not even be supported by a small ball.
If you are purchasing an exercise ball to use as a seat, selecting the wrong size ball could result in you sitting too high or too low – leading to discomfort and less than optimal ergonomics for a seated posture.
So How Do You Know What Size Exercise Ball You Need?
As a rough rule of thumb, the correct size ball for your height is one that allows your knees and hips to be at right angles when seated on the ball.
If you’re not in a position to work out which size ball you need from the sit test, your next best option is to use a sizing guide.
Your height, versus the size exercise ball you should get:
- <5′ = 55cm
- 5′ -5’7″ = 65cm
- 5′ 8″ – 6’2″ = 75cm
- >6’2″ = 85cm
These size recommendations are generally quite accurate, though if you are of a height which falls on the borderline of two categories, you may find the larger or smaller ball more comfortable.
Exercise balls are generally good up to a certain weight range (around 300lb for most), but it is worth noting that if you are a heavier person then you may want to get a larger ball to allow for some compression.
Inflation affects size
After you’ve purchased your exercise ball, you’ll need to inflate it the right amount to ensure that you are getting the full benefits of selecting the right size.
Once they get one, a lot of people are unsure about how much to inflate their exercise ball. The answer is to measure out the diameter of the ball and mark that as a height on a wall, then inflate the ball until it is as high as the mark you have made.
By inflating your ball to the correct size, you will ensure that you are using it correctly at the shape and firmness that it was designed for.
Care tips for your Exercise Ball
Don’t expose your exercise ball to areas where there might be sharp objects on the ground that may puncture the surface of the ball.
I mentioned earlier that my exercise ball suffered an untimely fate – I actually was inflating it in the driveway (using a small car-powered air compressor pump), and some small stones on the surface of the driveway must have put a tiny pin-prick in the ball.
I only noticed the hole later as my ball was smaller the following day. Placing my ear near the ball, I could hear an air leak. It was RIP exercise ball!
If Damaged, Replace the Ball
It is generally not recommended to repair a punctured exercise ball because the puncture can weaken the structure of the ball, and even with a repair patch the ball may be unsafe.
In my case, I was lying on top of my ball, trying to cover the hole with some tape for a temporary fix, when *BANG* the ball exploded, ripping itself it half in the process, and I came crashing down to the ground in surprise. It was quite sudden and unexpected, though in hindsight, I guess my fat ass putting pressure on a punctured ball was not one of my best ideas, heh!
Now that you know how to get the correct sized exercise ball for you, why not try out these exercise ball glute exercises?
P.S. If you’re wondering what ended up happening with my exercise ball purchase…. My awesome boyfriend ended up getting me one for my birthday, so I didn’t have to go through all the hassle of working out how to size one at the time after all!