Stability balls, also known as fitness balls, Swiss balls or exercise balls, are popular fitness tools that can help to improve all-around fitness. You can use a stability ball to perform cardiovascular, muscle building and balance exercises. Be sure to consider your fitness goals and other needs when purchasing a stability ball.
Only use burst-resistant stability balls, which may be labeled as burst-proof stability balls. This is especially important when exercising with dumbbells or any other kind of weights while you are on the ball. A damaged ball should slowly deflate rather than burst, as a ball that essentially explodes can cause a person to drop to the floor and become injured. Burst-resistant exercise balls are labeled with a weight limit to their effectiveness.
Stability balls are sold in sizes ranging from 45 to 85 cm. Your height determines which ball is right for you. When sitting on a stability ball, your thighs should be parallel to the floor at a 90-degree angle, and your hips should be in line with or slightly higher than your knees. If you are between 5 ft. 1 in. tall to 5 ft. 7 in. tall, for example, buy a ball that is 55 cm.
The round surface of a stability ball offers enough instability to challenge your muscles. A ball that is low in air reduces this benefit. If the ball flattens out when you sit or lie down on it, the surface is similar to a flat bench and less like a ball. Keep your stability ball fully inflated to reap the optimal fitness benefits.
Stability balls are available in a wide range of prices, depending on brand, quality and durability. Pick a ball that best fits your budget and fitness goals. If you plan to use the stability ball for body-weight exercise, use a basic ball. If you want to perform weight-training exercises on the stability ball, choose a durable ball.
Several manufacturers produce trusted brands of stability balls in many sizes and colors. Look for a stability ball that fits your needs at a local department store, a fitness equipment store or online. Also, notice if the ball is packaged with a pump; if not, use a bike pump or air compressor to pump up the stability ball.