How to Deflate an Exercise Ball

Woman stretching on exercise ball next to mirror
A woman is stretching on a partially deflated exercise ball. (Image: Rick Gomez/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Exercise balls, such as large Pilates balls, are a great piece of equipment for many people, but they are also sometimes hard to store in an out-of-the-way area. Some exercise balls are smaller, depending on how it (or they) are used. Some people like to use the Pilates or exercise balls for a while and then move on to something else. Deflating an exercise ball to either make it smaller or store it away can be done easily by following a few simple steps.

Step 1

Place the ball on the floor and look for the valve stem cover, which should be a small (about 1/2 inch diameter) disc somewhere on the ball. The valve stem is a tube inserted into the inflation hole of the exercise ball that locks air in. This valve stem needs to be removed before the ball can be deflated.

Step 2

Remove the valve stem carefully. In some cases, you may be able to easily situate a finger or fingernail under the lip of the stem and wiggle it upward until you can grasp it easily with your fingertips, but not always. If you can't get your fingernail under the edge, try using the dull edge of a butter knife (using caution not to dig into the ball itself) to gently lift an edge.

Step 3

Grasp the valve stem firmly with the tips of the fingers and pull out, using a twisting or back and forth motion if necessary. Pull the stem completely out of the ball.

Step 4

Apply pressure to the ball, either by squeezing or lying on it to encourage air to escape from the ball. If you wish, you may leave the ball alone with the valve stem out, and it will deflate about half its air. Then you may roll or fold it, forcefully expelling air that remains.

Step 5

Use the air pumps that often come with exercise balls. A pump tip may be inserted into the air intake valve, which will release air automatically.

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