Regardless if you call it a yoga ball, exercise ball, or a stability ball, you want a high-quality product that provides the necessary support for you as you practice yoga.
After hours after research by an RYT 200, with additional training in Yoga for post-traumatic stress disorder and special populations, we recommend the URBNFit Exercise Ball for most people.
Let’s Dive Into Our Yoga Ball Research
Whether you’re an avid exerciser or you’ve never stepped foot inside a gym before, you’ve likely seen an exercise ball or yoga ball at one point or another.
These oversized, inflatable balls are awesome tools to use while working out. They can be used during a yoga practice, Pilates, at the gym, or in your home.
Exercise balls have so many different uses, can target many different areas of the body and are a fantastic way to spice up your regular yoga practice or workout regime.
With so many different types and sizes, it can be confusing to find the ball that will work best for you. So what do you need to know before purchasing an exercise ball?
Are there weight limits or ways to repair them if they get damaged? What are some of the best exercises or yoga poses you can do with the exercise ball? What size exercise ball should you buy?
Keep reading to find out all you need to know about exercise, stability, and yoga balls before making your purchase!
What Is a Yoga Ball? How Can It Be Used?
A yoga ball, or what’s commonly known as an exercise ball, is a large inflatable ball used to help enhance your workout.
These balls are great for improving stability, strength, and flexibility and can be used in a multitude of ways. Exercise balls are a great way to enhance your yoga practice as well as your workouts at home or the gym.
During an abdominal workout is a perfect time to utilize the ball. The added need for stability while leaning back on the ball to do crunches—or another exercise targeting the abs—provides an even more challenging workout.
The ball is fantastic not only for making some exercises more challenging because of lack of stability but also for providing support during exercises that can require a bit more endurance.
Using the exercise ball during yoga, for instance, can make some poses much more challenging while it can also make other poses more accessible.
Exercise balls can be used to sit on during seated workouts, while lying across the ball, gripping the ball in between the feet or knees, or holding the ball with your hands.
Exercise balls have an incredible way of helping to strengthen the core no matter how you use it. They’re fantastic for improving posture through engagement of the abdominal muscles.
Many people actually use exercise balls in place of chairs at their desks. This causes you to engage the core even as you sit at your computer.
It leaves no room for slouching or laziness while seated, which means it can actually help prevent back problems in the future. While exercise balls are designed for you to be able to sit on like a chair, check the height of your desk compared to your height on the ball to make sure it will be an ergonomic alternative for you.
What Is the Difference Between a Yoga Ball, Stability Ball, Exercise Ball and Balance Ball?
While there are many different names floating around, yoga balls, stability balls, exercise balls and balance balls are technically all the same thing.
They can also be referred to as Swiss balls, fitness balls, and workout balls.
They are all typically about knee-high, but the size you choose may vary depending on how you’d like to use the ball.
What Are Exercise Balls Made Of?
There are several different materials that exercise balls may be made with, though most are either vinyl, PVC plastic or solid foam rubber. Be careful of the clothing or jewelry you wear while using your exercise ball.
Because of their material, they are subject to tear if something gets caught on them.
The material exercise balls are made with help them maintain just enough bounce, keep them sturdy and resilient, and allow them to expand with more air pressure. Some exercise balls do contain latex, so be aware if you have any latex allergies.
Additionally, some of the plastic options are sensitive to heat. Be mindful of where you leave the ball if you’re practicing yoga or exercising with it outside. It shouldn’t be left in direct sunlight or intense heat.
Are you thinking about bringing it with you to the office for a midday boost? Be careful not to leave it inside your car if it’s hot outside. You don’t want it to melt!
What Is the Weight Limit on a Yoga Ball or Exercise Ball?
All exercise balls have different weight limits. For many, a static weight of around 2000 lbs or slightly higher is typical.
This means the amount of weight or pressure that can be applied to the ball without it bursting, assuming there’s no movement from the person using the ball.
However, the body weight that most exercise balls support is much lower. This is the body weight the ball can handle assuming the user is moving around on the ball. This weight limit can range anywhere from 300 to 500 lbs, depending on the brand and type of ball.
It’s also important to keep in mind that there are different sizes of exercise balls, and typically the smaller the ball, the less weight it will be able to hold.
The better the quality of the exercise ball, the more extreme weight it will be able to handle. These stability balls are also designed not to burst, but to slowly deflate if damaged, helping to prevent injury.
Can You Repair a Damaged Exercise Ball?
Though you can technically patch any holes or tears in your exercise ball, it’s a much better idea to simply replace the damaged ball.
These exercise balls are designed to safely and fully support your weight. The idea is that you can completely rely on the exercise ball underneath you, and the best way to ensure your safety is to use one that hasn’t been damaged.
Most brands of exercise balls do not even supply a repair kit, as they don’t recommend repairing a damaged ball.
What Are the Best Workout Videos for Using an Exercise Ball?
You can find so many videos of fantastic workouts using the exercise ball simply by searching on Youtube.com. There are also fantastic stability ball exercise videos available by Beachbody.
If you’re looking for a video specific to yoga, Yoga By Candace on Youtube.com has a great video using the stability ball.
What Are Recommended Yoga Poses to Practice While Using the Exercise Ball?
Using your exercise ball to enhance your yoga practice can be a really fun way to spice things up and engage different muscle groups. The most important thing to keep in mind is safety.
As the exercise ball does have the tendency to roll around, it’s helpful to move slowly with control. This not only helps to strengthen even deeper muscle groups, but it will also help prevent falling or getting injured.
You might even find it helpful to move the ball against a wall to help keep it in place.
Check out these 6 yoga poses that can be fun and challenging when done using the exercise ball!
1. Seated Spinal Twist
Take a seat on the ball, maybe moving it to the wall for more support. Straight the legs out in front with a wide angle—wider than the shoulders—and flex the feet toward the sky. Straighten the arms out toward the sides at shoulder-height. Lean forward and reach the left hand toward the right foot, then come back up and switch sides. Repeat this 10 times on each side, finding a twist through the spine as well as a hamstring stretch.
2. Downward Dog with Leg Lift
Find downward facing dog with the ball supporting the torso and thighs. From there, sweep the right leg high and hold for a breath.
Lower the leg back down and switch to the left. Alternate for several cycles.
Keep in mind that your exercise ball may be too tall for the downward facing dog to be an option.
3. Upward Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog
Start in a plank position with your hands and toes planted. The ball can be just in front of your chest. Walk forward and let the ball roll underneath your torso.
Keep your toes planted and walk the hands up to the ball. Press the hands into the ball as you inhale and lift the chest into the upward facing dog.
From there, you can walk your hands slightly forward and let the ball rest between your torso and thighs. Lift your hips toward the sky and see if you can bring the ears between the biceps for the downward facing dog.
Take a few cycles of rolling back and forth between the upward facing and downward facing dog.
As a reminder, depending on the size of your exercise ball, the downward dog may not be accessible with the ball underneath you.
4. Warrior 1 to Warrior 2 to Extended Side Angle
Find a warrior 1 or lunge position on the ball—essentially sitting on top. The right leg will be out in front, with the left leg straight behind and the left foot rooted down at a 45-degree angle.
Arms can rise overhead with the core engaged. Keep squaring the hips toward the front leg. Hold for five breaths and open out to the side into warrior 2.
Hips and shoulders will be squared to the side with the right arm reaching out toward the front and the left hand reaching back. Keep the shoulders stacked above the hips.
Hold here for five breaths, then rest the right forearm on the right thigh or rest the right hand on the earth inside the right foot for extended side angle.
The left hand can reach straight up toward the sky, or it hand might reach over the left ear toward the front with the pinky finger spiraling down toward the earth. Hold here in extended side angle for five breaths.
Release the pose and switch sides. Repeat warrior 1 to warrior 2 to extended side angle on the left side.
Lie flat on your back with your feet planted on the ball. Start to engage the core and contract the abdominals to lift the hips toward the sky.
Keep rooting the feet into the ball for stability, and lower down slowly, bone by bone. Repeat this rolling bridge pose 10 times, feeling core and glute engagement.
6. Child’s Pose
Find child’s pose with the ball in front of you. The hips should sink back toward the heels with the big toes touching.
You might bring the knees together or open the knees out wider so that the torso can soften toward the earth—whatever is most comfortable for you here.
Hold the ball between the hands and let it roll forward. You’ll feel a lengthening through the spine and an opening through the shoulders.
What Size Exercise or Yoga Ball Should I Get?
The industry-standard sizes of exercise balls are 22 inches, 26 inches, and 30 inches in height or diameter when the ball is inflated.
The size you go with depends on your height, as well as if you prefer using a different sized ball for specific exercises. Typically, people 5’0” to 5’5” will use a 22” ball, anyone from 5’6” to 5’11” will use a 26” ball, and anyone over 6’0” can use a 30” ball.
A general rule of thumb is that you’ll want the ball to be roughly around the height of your knees, so when you’re sitting on it, your feet can comfortably rest on the earth.
However, some people do like to have a smaller ball for some exercises as well as one that fits with their height.
After deciding on a size and purchasing your ball, make a small pencil mark on your wall at the height of the ball you bought. When you fill up your ball, stop at that mark.
This will ensure that you don’t underinflate or overinflate your exercise ball! Be especially careful not to over-inflate your exercise ball as this could lead to it bursting.
The most important things to remember are to be safe and have fun! There are many different and creative things you can do with the exercise ball that will challenge you in new and exciting ways!