How to Choose the Correct Size Exercise Ball


Exercise balls are used for yoga, Pilates, strength training and therapeutically for rehabilitation purposes. Some people even replace their office chair with an exercise ball to maintain optimum posture and balance. They come sized to accommodate the needs and body type of the user. So, no matter how you employ an exercise ball, you will need to find the correct size to obtain the maximum benefits and to prevent injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-stick tape
  • Office chair (optional)
  • Wall
  • Match your height to the correct size. The average heights for females and males are 5 feet, 3 inches and 5 feet, 8 inches respectively. Exercise balls come in sizes 45 centimeters to 85 centimeters. The smallest size is appropriate for those who are less than 5 feet tall. Increase 10 centimeters for every 5 to 6 inches in height above 5 feet tall. For those above 6 feet, 8 inches, you will need the maximum size ball of 85 centimeters.

  • Subtract 4 inches from your suggested ball size, and mark that height on a wall with a piece of tape. For instance, if you are 6 feet tall and need a 65 centimeter -- 26 inches -- ball, subtract 4 inches, and place a piece of tape on the wall 22 inches high from the floor.

  • Squat down to the mark on your wall to confirm the size you need. Find the mark on the wall, and squat down to the mark. If this is comfortable and adequate for you, then you have found the correct size exercise ball.

  • Buy the bigger ball if you are trying to choose between two difference sizes. You can always deflate the ball, little by little, until you reach the perfect height for you.

  • Find the right sized exercise ball for an office chair. Fix your office chair seat so you are sitting correctly and comfortably at the desk. Measure your office chair from the floor to the seat. Take that number and add 4 inches to determine the appropriate exercise ball for a seat at your desk and to allow for give when you sit on the ball.

  • Consult with your fitness trainer or rehabilitation counselor for the correct size ball. Your trainer can help you test different sized balls. And if you're involved with rehabilitative therapy, use the ball suggested by your therapist.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a long torso or long legs, you may want to buy a larger ball.
  • For those using an exercise ball for an office chair, you find more comfort with a bigger ball.
  • Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Follow all demonstrations by your physical therapist when using the exercise ball at home.

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  • Photo Credit Stockxpert/iofoto
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