Choosing a Stability Ball

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The best piece of home gym equipment for improving core stability is the stability ball, also referred to as an exercise ball, physioball or Swiss ball. The stability ball can be adapted for many uses, including developing core strength, improving posture and facilitating stretching.

Stability balls are sized by the ballís diameter in centimeters according to a personís height. Typically one color pertains to a specific height range so itís important when choosing a ball you make your decision not on your favorite color but the correct size that accommodates your height. An example chart follows below:

Stability Ball Sizing Chart

You can pick the correct size ball by checking the angle of your knees while seated in the middle of the inflated ball. For example, while sitting on the ball, your hips and knees should be close to parallel with the floor (at a 90 degree angle). If you do not have access to an already inflated stability ball or you are ordering online, you can check your sitting position by squatting with your back against a wall and lowering down until your knees are at a 90 degree position. Mark the wall and measure the height that you need.

If your stability ball is too small, your core center is not as active as it should be and you will have the tendency to lean forward if lifting weights while sitting on the ball. If you are positioned too high, then you are working at a much more unstable position. This is fine for some that would like more of a challenge but is not recommended for beginners or those who are lifting heavy weights.

It is important to maintain proper air pressure. The firmer the ball, the more difficult the exercise will be. The softer the ball, the less difficult the exercise will be. If you are just beginning, overweight, an older adult, or you are generally deconditioned, you may want to consider using a larger, softer ball.