To the untrained eye an exercise ball which is also referred to as a stability ball, balance ball or Swiss ball, can look more like an over-inflated beach ball than an invaluable piece of fitness equipment. But the reality is that exercise balls are today’s most popular and versatile fitness equipment. That is because these fitness balls are designed to strengthen your torso, tone your abs, improve your pasture and help minimize lower back pain.
But in order to enjoy an effective workout using a stability ball you must first choose the right size ball for your height and weight. This is important since if your ball is too small your core muscles will not be as active as they should be. This will cause your body to lean forward which in turn will put pressure on your lower back.
Likewise, if your ball is too big for your height you will be sitting in an extremely unstable position. This is dangerous, especially for those of you attempting to weight train while on the stability ball.
How To Choose The Right Exercise Ball
The good news, however, is that choosing the right stability ball, for your height and weight, is simple.
- Exercise balls come in four sizes: 42 cm, 55 cm, 65 cm, 75 cm
The following chart is a handy tool when trying to decide on which size fitness ball is right for you:
- 4’10” and under— 42cm
- 4’11 to 5’4” — 55 cm
- 5’5″ to 5’11” — 65 cm
- 6′ and taller — 75 cm
Note: Often overweight or obese clients shy away from stability balls due to weight concerns. However, as I have mentioned before in the article Easy Exercises For The Obese fitness balls are an extremely beneficial piece of fitness equipment for overweight or obese individuals looking to start an exercise regiment. Despite their look, the majority of stability balls are made of burst-resistant material and can support anywhere from 600 to 1000 pounds. This Natural Fitness 55 cm Professional Burst Resistant Exercise Ball is a great example of a stability ball often recommended by personal trainers to their overweight or obese clients.
So, just what kinds of exercises can you do on a stability ball?
The popularity of exercise balls stems from the fact that they enhance your workouts by decreasing your muscles’ stability, thus forcing them to contract more. For example, when you lean back on a stability ball your legs and abs are forced to contract in order to keep you from falling off of the ball. Now, if you attempt an upper body toning exercise such as the chest fly, while in this position, you will successfully work your pectoral as well as your core muscles.
As you’ve already guessed, exercise balls are versatile enough to use as an enhancement tool for just about any form of workout including:
- Weight Training
- Abdominal and Core Training
- Flexibility Training
- Pilates…And Much More
If you are new to the world of exercise balls and are looking for effective workout routines, using a stability ball, than I highly recommend you invest in the 10 Minute Solution Video Series. Each one of these videos is made up of five 10 minute workouts designed to be carried out one by one, on those days when you only have 10 minutes to spare or combined for a longer workout routine on those days when you find yourself with more time to devote to exercise.