How to Fit the Right Size Exercise Ball for Core Exercises

Do you use an exercise ball?

Are you sure your exercise ball is the right size?

This short video shows you how to fit the correct exercise ball size for your body.

Knowing the correct exercise ball size helps you get the most benefit from your core exercises and minimize the strain on your lower back, pelvis and hips.

Video duration: 3 minutes

Suitability: General

Please scroll down below this video for written guidelines and a checklist for choosing the right exercise ball size.

Strength & Core Workout for Women (Download or Hard Copy)

Strength and Core DVD download

Strength & Core video is a pelvic floor friendly core exercise workout with Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway

This whole body workout that strengthens your core abdominal and pelvic floor muscles in addition to whole body strength and posture training.

Strength & Core Benefits

Strength & Core Workout includes exercises designed to:

  • Exercise safely and avoid injury
  • Train core abdominal muscles
  • Strengthen pelvic floor muscles
  • Strengthen and tone hips, butt and thighs
  • Improve posture
  • Strengthen back muscles
  • Body weight management

Benefits of using the Correct Exercise Ball Size

There are 2 main benefits from using the right size ball for your exercises:

1. Increased effectiveness of seated core abdominal exercises
2. Reduced strain on the lower back, hips and pelvis

Problems with Recommended Exercise Ball Size Height Guides

It’s common practice to use a height guide to choose the right size ball.

While this is OK as a general guide this doesn’t work for all women for all core exercises.

The size of the exercise ball is usually printed on the ball in centimetres. Most exercise balls have the ball size printed on them, usually 45 cm, 55 cm, 65 cm and 75 cm.

Problems using the recommended ball size height guides are created by:

  • Age of the ball
  • Level of inflation
  • Individual differences – body weight, leg length, coexisting back or pelvic pain conditions
  • Ball manufacturing differences- materials used, pressure within the ball, sizing differences one manufacturer to the next

Standard Recommended Ball Size Height Chart

Here are the standard ball size height recommendations. Use these as a general guide only – you really need to sit on the exercise ball to assess its suitability for your body.

Most exercise balls have the ball size printed on them, usually 45 cm, 55 cm, 65 cm, 75 cm

Height and ball size (general recommendations). Ideally sit on the ball to check the right fit before buying.

Height              Ball Circumference

Less than 4’8″ = 45 cm ball

4’8” to 5’3″ = 55 cm ball

5’4” to 5’1″ = 65 cm ball

5’10 to 6’4″ = 75 cm ball

Checklist to ensure Correct Exercise Ball Size

Sit on the ball side on to a mirror and check the following:

1. Is the ball manufactured from quality anti burst material?
2. Is the ball sufficiently inflated so that it feels reasonable firm to touch?
3. Can you rest both of your feet on the ground while sitting on top of the ball?
4. Are your hips positioned slightly higher than your knees when viewed from the side?

Troubleshooting Ball Some Common Ball Size Problems

Some of the most commonly experienced ball size problems stem from:

  • Leg length differences– women with long legs will require a larger ball than a woman of the same height with short legs
  • Body weight– heavier body weight tends to compress the ball more than lighter body weight
  • Lower back , hip and/or pelvic joint dysfunction– positioning the hips well above the knees can relieve pressure from these joints

Key Points for Fitting the Correct Size Exercise Ball

  • Getting the right size exercise ball promotes the activity of your deep core abdominal muscles and reduces pressure on the joints of the lower back, pelvis and hips.
  • Use the recommended ball size height guide as a general guide only. Differences in ball manufacture and individual body shapes and sizes mean that these size guides don’t necessarily apply for seated ball exercises.
  • The best way to know if your exercise ball size is right for your seated core exercises is to sit on your ball and view it from the side in a mirror.

Next: Exercise ball video demonstrating seated abdominal core exercises

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