Will You Benefit From Stability Ball Training?

An exercise ball provides an unstable surface and can be a useful tool to add challenge to your workouts, but is this the right tool for you?

Total body workouts using an exercise ball can challenge your core from every angle. Add a few upper-body moves, and BOOM-you’ve got a total-body workout in just a few minutes using only a ball.

Before you dive in, ask yourself a few questions.

Choosing the appropriate exercises for your fitness routine is the key to advancing your fitness level and getting the most from each and every workout.

Disadvantages Of Stability Ball Training

Exercise balls provide an unstable surface — useful when adding challenge to your workouts. But, using a ball during your workouts isn’t a good starting place.

If you’re a beginner or someone who isn’t quite ready for the challenge, you’ll put more energy and effort trying to balance your body on an unstable surface — which is a distraction and doesn’t allow your muscles to exert the same effort you could exert on a stable surface such as the floor or a bench.

Be sure to properly progress your workouts by mastering exercises on a stable surface before moving to unstable surfaces like the exercise ball, BOSU Trainer, or Foam Roller.

How To Progress Stability Ball Training

Perform the same exercises you would like to perform on the ball for 4 to 8 weeks before progressing to an unstable surface. Using an exercise ball too early will have diminishing returns. Your technique will suffer and you won’t get the benefits that come when a stability ball is used correctly

Example 1: Before progressing an abdominal crunch with your knees bent 90-degrees to a knee tuck on an exercise ball, ensure you have mastered the bent-leg crunch on a stable surface, before adding a dynamic component such as a knee tuck, to an unstable surface like an exercise ball.

Ok, so you’ve mastered whichever exercise you’re trying to progress and you’re ready for the next challenge…now what?

Choosing The Ball That Fits Your Body

The image at the top of this article is a great example that many people who are using an exercise ball might be using the wrong size. That’s understandable, it’s a bit confusing! It’s important to pick a ball that’s appropriately sized to fit your body. Here is a simple guide to help!

Exercise Ball Basics

The average rule of thumb is that the diameter or height of the ball should be 15 to 20 percent less than your inseam. The ball should be firm, not squishy. Exercise balls are available in a wide range of sizes, suitable for individuals under 4’6”, to those who are taller than 6’2”. Exercise balls are sized in centimeters; some companies may color code the balls to match the size.

Choose Based On Your Height

Choose the appropriate size ball based on your height. If you are close to the cutoff point between sizes, try testing out both sizes and see which works best for you.

  • Up to 4’10”: 35 cm ball (small)
  • 4’11” to 5’5: 45 cm ball (medium)
  • 5’5″ to 6’0″: 55 cm ball (large)
  • 6’0″ to 6’5″: 65 cm ball (extra large)
  • Over 6’5: 75 cm ball (extra, extra-large)

That’s it. Now, go for it!