Walk into any fitness room or gym and chances are you will find a vast assortment of exercise balls. Some meant for stability training, others built for strength training and those used for both. Whether searching online or a brick and mortar store, stick with proven brands that meet the demands of your training program. Choosing a reliable ball that is durable, safe and appropriate is critical to establishing a proactive routine.
Stability or Bust
A key quality to look for in an exercise ball brand is burst-resistance. This is non-negotiable. Balls with an anti-burst rating of 500kg or greater are best, especially if you plan on using additional weight. If the rating is not stated, it means it probably falls between 100 and 200kg which is low. The exercise ball must be able to withstand your body weight plus the additional weight. If the exercise ball becomes punctured, anti-burst technology allows it to slowly deflate as opposed to suddenly bursting. Duraball, Black Mountain and Theraband are top picks.
Medicine Ball Rx
Medicine balls are weighted and range in weight from 1 to 50 pounds. Whether squeezing, tossing, swinging or slamming the ball, keep in mind your hands are likely to become sweaty during the workout, so being able to grip the ball is extremely important. Hard shells with dimpled or textured surfaces, balls with handles and those with soft shells made of manufactured and natural material are available. Dynamax, Ultrafit and Power Systems offer a variety of reliable ball types with appropriate grip surfaces.
Brand Name Longevity
The materials and concept behind the stability ball were developed in Europe in 1963. The brand name for the original ball was Gymnic. It was popularized in America by physical therapist Joanne Posner-Mayer in 1989. Americans began referring to them as Swiss balls. Since then, many top-performing ball brands have made their way onto the wellness and fitness scene. A ball brand with longevity and history indicates experience and some form of proven success in the market. These include Gymnic, Dynamax, Ultrafit and Duraball.
Dynamax and Duraball Pro
Dynamax, one of the original medicine balls, ranks high among performance oriented professionals and is the best brand for strength and power training. Duraball Pro is top pick in the stability ball department. It meets the needs of the functional fitness workout and allows you to add weight to the workouts if needed. Additional brands that offer reliability and affordability include Perform Better, Nike, Everlast, Hammer Strength and Life Fitness. Testing the specific ball which meets your needs before purchasing is recommended.