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.

Photo Credit: ejmc via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: ejmc via Compfight cc

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?

Sit Test

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.

Size Guide

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.

Your weight

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!


Exercise Ball Sizes – Choosing the Right Size Ball for You!
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18 thoughts on “Exercise Ball Sizes – Choosing the Right Size Ball for You!

  • January 20, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Oh, I’ve got one of these exercise balls, will need to check and see if it’s the right size for me. Thanks for the useful information. :)

    • January 22, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Glad to have helped, and I hope you find out you’ve got the right size!

  • January 21, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Hehe, I couldn’t help but smile reading that last part. It’s just muscle weight that popped it 😉

    I wish I knew this before I got mine, although I think I have the right size for me, for some exercises I would prefer a smaller one, or I could deflate mine a little bit more, but it’s at a pretty good pressure now.

    And I don’t suggest trying to blow one up with your mouth. I did this with a small one before and felt rather light headed after (I did this at work to kill time/impress any girls looking)

    • January 22, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Ah Vince, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about you it’s that you’re all about impressing the ladies! 😉
      I can’t really poke fun though, here I am trying to impress the guys!

      It is a good point that you mentioned – you can make some adjustments to decrease the size with less inflation (I wouldn’t recommend over-inflating to try and get a ball bigger than it’s recommended size!) , but this does come at the price of a drop in pressure, which can make the ball a lot more wobbly even though it’s smaller. Definitely best to try and get the right size from the start!

  • July 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I tried getting into these balls about a year back but an old back injury of mine sort of put an end to it before it had even began!
    What similar type of exercise would you recommend for someone with a tight back?
    I run quite frequently without problem but certain routines cause me pain

    • July 24, 2015 at 2:50 am

      Hi Chris, I’m no medical professional, but if you have a tight back I would recommend treating that using massage release. This could potentially ease your pain before you try any other kinds of exercise.

      I’ve had similar issues before and used something like this self massager (link to Amazon) to give some great relief. I actually made my own out of 2 tennis balls in a sock and it works great – just sit it on the ground, lie on top of it with one ball either side of your spine, and you can work into any areas that are tight to release the muscles.

      As for similar exercises, you could try using a Bosu ball, which is kind of like the top of a stability ball which has been chopped off? It depends what kind of exercises you are intending to do and how they aggravate your back.. Try that muscular release first and see how you go!

  • August 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    hello Jolie,
    I just looked at your website betterbuttchallenge and i lurned many things on how to choose a right exercice ball :)
    However when i was riding your post on how to choose a exercie ball i got a bit confused since i didn’t see any pictures of all the exercice balls (like one next to each other) Since i’m a visual type of person i would have like to see that. Nevermind i went threw your other pages and was realy impressed of the quality content you put in to your site. I personaly just started shaping my site so i just have 2 post. I would like to know how you putted those scrolling images on your home page. It looks awsome ! I would like my site to look as good as yours soon enough !
    I tried to change my website theme, and i always have some default images on my home page which i don’t like, could you tell me how you change those ?
    Continue working on your site because it looks realy nice and im sure you can make it even nicer and gain more traffic.
    have a nice day,

    • August 3, 2015 at 5:37 am

      Hi Julien,

      Thanks very much for your kind words! I will try and update this post to have some more images to show the different types of products.

      To answer your questions about the scrolling images, it is an inbuilt feature of the theme I am using called ‘Spacious’ (by Theme Grill). It can be a bit tricky with themes and getting a site to look how you want (I’ve gone through a few myself and still have more changes I’d like to make!) – but as a start, try checking out the particular theme’s help files and you might be able to get some guidance there!

  • August 3, 2015 at 3:02 am


    I’m back again. What a great site. I’ve read and said the word butt so many times that it doesn’t even seem real. Ah. Many words, such life.

    At some point in time I would like to get an exercise ball. I like how you laid this article out. It is quite informative and easy to read. I also can’t stop looking at that headline “The Better But Challenge.”

    Anywho, keep up the great butt, I mean work. Keep up the great work. Lol


    • August 3, 2015 at 5:41 am

      Hahah, thanks Stu, I’d hate to do a wordcount on the word ‘butt’ over my entire site – it could be a little weird to know how many times I’ve typed the word (though you do kind of have me wondering now)..

      Exercise balls are pretty good and very versatile. I find that my one sometimes gets used more for sitting on than doing actual exercise, but it’s definitely more fun than a conventional chair. It also gets used for bouncing towards unsuspecting housemates and visitors as a weapon (which is pretty fun also). I do highly recommend it 😛

  • August 4, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Thanks for the thorough article! Lots of information about sometyhing I had really never thought much about.

    Lucky for you having a BF to get this stright for you, he must have had some work to get all the info to buy the correct one for you lol!

    This leads me to a question…If I were to sell this online or as an affilaite, do you think it would be a good idea to offer these tips in an infograph or an explainer video – and add this info next to the item?

    I think this may make the difference for the buyer, who is looking for guidance, just as you were…So complicated, or seemingly so…NOt with your tips and explaliner video!

    In any case this was a great read, and I learned something today! Not only how to get one of these that will work, but I also need to get a boyfriend lol!! Not really, I am married so no need for the boyfriend hehe…

    : )

    • August 4, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Hi Dave, I think that’s a great idea – I’ve been meaning to provide some product selections in this article with links as well to help out anyone who may actually be shopping. It can sometimes be a little frustrating when you are trying to buy something but then it turns out there are a million different types and you don’t know if there’s any difference between them all!

      The BF is great and also assists with other tasks in daily life such as cooking and general chivalry, would highly recommend to anyone else, lol!

  • August 9, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Hi Jolie,
    What a great website! I thoroughly enjoyed going through it, what really caught my attention was Create-A-Habit-Challenge! I think that’s an absolutely brilliant concept. Is your website for a specific age and gender? as I didn’t see any thing for our men or older women? You have great content through out your site using a lot of visual aids. A great focus on a specific area of fitness.

    • August 9, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Hey Keri, thank you so much! I originally started this site for everyone, but I guess it has sort of naturally graduated towards targeting my own age group and gender without my even noticing!

      However, I do hope that this information can be taken on board by everyone. It certainly is not age or gender biased in terms of application – anyone can apply all of these tips :). I will try and keep the other audiences in mind in future posts!

  • September 12, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Hello here, thank you for providing information about exercise balls. I never had one, but I think it would be great for increasing flexibility and overall well being. I was not sure about size, but now I see what kind of ball I can buy.
    Just I wonder how much space it needs? I live in apartment, not so much free area, where I can fit it.
    I watched some exercises on YouTube. It looks that people have fun and enjoy it.
    It is a great article providing knowledge, about this equipment or device. I wonder how to call it? Maybe tool would be better.
    Happy writing, Nemira.

    • September 15, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Hi Nemira, thanks for the feedback. The swiss ball is certainly a great piece of exercise equipment for overall general health and well-being.

      For storage, it can be a little bit of a hassle if you don’t have much free space. But, I like to use mine in place of a chair at my desk, so it takes up that space instead of having a chair. That might be an option for you!

      Deflating the ball between uses is not really an option, as it takes a good 10-15mins to fill it full of air!

  • November 18, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Great post! I was thinking about getting my first exercise ball and I didn’t really know what to start with. I didn’t know that you have to choose a size which is adapted to your height and weight (well, indeed, I didn’t know that they came in different sizes!). With your post now I have learned even more than I expected; I know how much I should inflate it and in what places is better to store it. Thank you very much!

    • November 19, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      You’re welcome Luz! It’s always better to buy right the first time, so I’m glad to hear you have all the information you need now!


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