Fitness

Choose the Right Exercise Stability Ball for Your Fitness Goals

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For individuals wanting to improve core stability, can using the right size exercise or stability ball help improve workouts and achieve goals?

Exercise Stability Ball

An exercise ball, stability ball, or Swiss ball is a piece of fitness equipment used in gyms, Pilates and yoga studios, and HIIT classes. (American Council on Exercise. 2014) It is inflated with air to supplement bodyweight workouts or improve posture and balance. It can also be used as a chair. They add a core stability challenge to almost any exercise (American Council on Exercise, N.D.) Getting the appropriate exercise ball size and firmness for your body and purpose will ensure an optimal workout.

Size

  • The exercise ball size should be proportional to individual height.
  • Individuals should be able to sit on the ball with their legs at a 90-degree angle or slightly more, but not less.
  • The thighs should be parallel to the ground or angled slightly down.
  • With the feet flat on the floor and the spine straight, not leaning forward, backward, or sideways, the knees should be even with or slightly lower than the hips.

Here is the American Council on Exercise guide when choosing. (American Council on Exercise. 2001)

Height – Ball Size

  • Under 4’6”/137 cm – 30 cm/12 inches
  • 4’6” – 5’0”/137-152 cm – 45 cm/18 inches
  • 5’1”-5’7”/155-170 cm –  55 cm/22 inches
  • 5’8”-6’2”/173-188 cm – 65 cm/26 inches
  • Over 6’2”/188 cm – 75 cm/30 inches

Getting the right exercise ball for weight is also important. Individuals who are heavy for their height may need a larger ball to keep the knees and legs at the correct angle. It is recommended to check the weight rating of the ball, its durability, and its high burst resistance before buying.

Inflation

Individuals want a little give on the ball’s surface for exercise. When sitting on the exercise stability ball, body weight should create a little seat and provide more stability. More importantly, it allows sitting evenly on the ball, which is essential for exercising with proper spinal alignment. (Rafael F. Escamilla et al., 2016) Inflation is a matter of preference, but the more inflated the ball is, the more difficult it will be to balance the body, whether sitting or in other positions. It is recommended not to over-inflate the ball at the risk of bursting. The ball may require reinflation occasionally, so many are sold with a small pump for this purpose.

Exercises and Stretches

Exercise balls are highly versatile, inexpensive, and easy-to-use workout tools. They are beneficial for improving core strength and stability. Ways to be used include:

  • Active sitting in place of a chair.
  • Stretching on the ball.
  • Balance and stability exercises.
  • Pilates or yoga.
  • Strength workout.
  • Target exercises for core activation and strengthening.

At Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic, we focus on what works for you and strive to create fitness and better the body through research methods and total wellness programs. These natural programs use the body’s ability to achieve improvement goals and athletes can condition themselves to excel in their sport through proper fitness and nutrition. Our providers use an integrated approach to create personalized programs, often including Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, Electro-Acupuncture, and Sports Medicine principles.


Home Exercises For Pain Relief


References

American Council on Exercise. Sabrena Jo. (2014). Core-strengthening Stability Ball Workout. ACE Fitness® & Healthy Lifestyle Blog. www.acefitness.org/resources/pros/expert-articles/5123/core-strengthening-stability-ball-workout/

American Council on Exercise. (N.D.). Exercise Database & Library. Featured Exercises from ACE. Stability Ball. Healthy Living Blog. www.acefitness.org/resources/everyone/exercise-library/equipment/stability-ball/

American Council on Exercise. (2001). Strengthen your abdominals with stability balls. Healthy Living Blog. acewebcontent.azureedge.net/assets/education-resources/lifestyle/fitfacts/pdfs/fitfacts/itemid_129.pdf

Escamilla, R. F., Lewis, C., Pecson, A., Imamura, R., & Andrews, J. R. (2016). Muscle Activation Among Supine, Prone, and Side Position Exercises With and Without a Swiss Ball. Sports health, 8(4), 372–379. doi.org/10.1177/1941738116653931

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The information herein on "Choose the Right Exercise Stability Ball for Your Fitness Goals" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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