How to Measure an Exercise Ball

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Selecting the proper exercise ball for your body type should not be an exercise in trial and error; outlined below are general guidelines to help prepare you for selecting the proper size.

Things You'll Need

  • Mirror Exercise ball

Sizing Guidelines

  • Exercise balls are generally sized according to the user's height. Although recommendations vary depending on equipment manufacturer, the general guidelines outlined by spine experts at www.spine-health.com are as follows:
    Exercise ball diameter/Person's height
    45 cm/5' and under
    55 cm/5'1"-- 5'8"
    65 cm/5'9"-- 6'2"
    75 cm/6'3"-- 6'7"
    85 cm/6'8" and taller

  • User weight also plays a role in proper ball selection. Individuals who are heavier than average for their height put more pressure on the ball and may feel that the ball is too small. Consider changing to a larger diameter ball.

  • Another important factor is user leg length. Individuals with longer than average legs for their height will likely prefer a larger ball. Users with a longer than average torso and shorter than average legs may opt for a smaller exercise ball.

  • Buy a ball and inflate the it per the manufacturer's instructions. The ball should be fully inflated to be effective. As the ball will lose air pressure over time, you'll need to re-inflate it occasionally. Check for tears, leaks and punctures. Do not use damaged exercise equipment.

  • Because of the variability in body types, the only way to fully ensure proper size selection is to test the ball. A mirror may be helpful. Sit on the ball with feet flat on the floor and body centered on top of the ball. Keep your knees even with your hips (or slightly lower), roughly forming a 90 degree angle. Pelvis and shoulders should be aligned and centered. You should not be leaning in any direction or be off-center. If the ball seems too big or too small, slight deflation or inflation may do the trick; otherwise buy another size ball to ensure proper positioning and safety.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Mayo Clinic has a collection of on-line videos that demonstrate equipment selection and exercise techniques. Many manufacturers also offer workout resources with a purchase or online.
  • Always consult a physician before beginning an exercise program. Follow manufacturers' recommendations. Make sure the exercise ball is fully inflated. Equipment may differ due to materials and methods of production. Watch for tears or punctures which can compromise the exercise ball's safety.

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