Complete Guide to Stability balls, everything you need to know, from how to buy, set up and use them.

Stability balls, exercise ball, fitness balls, balance balls, yoga ball, swiss balls or whatever else you want to call them, they are the big inflatable rubber balls that are cheap fitness tools.

These big inflatable bouncy balls are useful tools that can be used to improve many areas of fitness such as improving balance, making bodyweight exercises more challenging, stretching, improving mobility, and rehabilitation of injuries.

photo credit: ejmc Rissa via photopin (license)

I will teach you everything you need to know about them and how to use them in this guide, I have broken this guide down into the following parts

 

 

 

Part 1. General information and advice, types of stability balls, how to choose the best stability ball, methods of inflation stability ball,

Part 2. Stability Ball safety

Part 3. exercise ball balance training

Part 4. Fitness ball for stretches and mobility training, injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Part 5. Exercise ball for strength and conditioning

Part 6. Full length workouts

 

Part 1

Choosing the right size fitness balls is the most important decision you have to make,  choosing the right size is based mainly on your height. Below are the guidelines for choosing the right size fitness ball.

 

45 cm ball if you are 5 foot and under or 152 Cm or shorter.

55 cm ball if you are 5 foot 1in to 5 foot 8in or 153 Cm to 173 Cm

65 cm ballif you are 5 foot 9in to 6 foot 2in or 175 Cm to 188 Cm

75 cm ball if you are 6 foot 3in to 6 foot 7in or 190 Cm to 200 Cm

85 cm if you are 6 foot 8in and taller or 202 Cm or above.


If you are on the heavier side, you should use one size larger.

Keep in mind If you are going to use it as a chair than the height of the ball should higher enough to sit at your desk comfortably.

 

 

The next most important choice you have to make is if you are going to buy an anti-burst stability ball or a cheaper ball that can burst.

 

Anit- burst exercise balls cost a little more but are designed to slowly deflate when punctured instead of popping like a balloon like some of cheap stability balls do.

Check out the videoto see an example of what I just mentioned.                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing to consider, how much weight can it handle before it bursts?

Quality stability balls will have a burst rating; diligent companies are designing and testing the products they make so they can ensure quality and safety in their products.

 A burst rating of 1000 pounds or more is good.

 

How to inflate exercise ball.

 Another important thing to check for when buying fitness balls is if it comes with and air pump because I can be a real chore or impossible to properly inflate one with your mouth.

Most quality stability balls will come with a hand pump or foot pump to help fill it up.

If you are planning to be inflating and deflating your ball often for whatever reason, you may invest in an electric air pump will make your life easier because you cheap foot pumps and hand pumps and be tedious.

 

Proper air pressure

Fitness balls do not have a particular air pressure to fill them to it is done by feel or measuring the ball.

Methods for determining the proper pressure of the ball.

Measure the circumference of the ball with a cloth ruler and match it to the size of the ball you purchased.

An over inflated ball will be so tight it will be hard to push your thumb into the ball more than and 1 and a half inches.

An underinflated stability ball will not bounce at all if dropped onto the floor.

 

Stability ball maintenance and proper care.

 As the ball sits over time, it will slowly lose pressure so if that ball has been sitting unused for awhile add some more air to it to fill it back up to the proper pressure recommended by the manufacturer.

Changing space temperatures can affect the air pressure of the ball. With colder area temperatures the ball will lose pressure and shrink, and with warmer space temperatures the ball has more pressure and expands slightly.

Stability balls do have life spans most manufacturers say it is around 12 months, after that the ball should be discarded.  

Try to rotate the ball when using it so that one spot does not become more worn out than others.

Avoid storing the ball somewhere it in direct sunlight because your ball will be weakened by prolonged exposure to the UV radiation of the sun.


Part 2 stability ball safety

 

Stability balls are great tools for developing but can also be dangerous if used improperly.

When inflating the ball make sure not to over fill or under fill the ball, both conditions can make the ball less stable and more dangerous to use.


Avoid doing exercises while holding heavy weights on stability balls.

Weighted exercises can create such a tremendous amount force on a stability ball that they can burst.

People doing weighted exercises on balance balls have caused stability balls to burst which have led to some serious injuries.

Even if you have an anti-burst stability ball accidents can still happen. If a stability ball burst or you take a fall doing weighted exercises your hands are going to be occupied, this is going to make breaking your fall harder or even worse the weights may come crashing down on top of you.

 Many factors can help contribute to your balance ball busting, it could be past its life span; It could have some spots that are worn out, have a tiny pinhole or be weakened by being left in the sun too long.

Pets can damage the fitness balls.

Many animals such as cats and dogs will see your stability ball as a fun play toy, but they can destroy the ball with their claws or teeth. Using a stability ball right after letting an animal play with it is a bad idea because they could put a small puncture in it that will cause the ball to burst once you use it.

 

 

part 3 balance training with fitness balls

Fitness balls can be useful for practicing some sitting and kneeling balance skills, but i think it is needless dangerous to practice any standing balance moves on them.

For instance learning to stand on a stability ball may look impressive, and be challenging to do but the skills you developed learning this skill will not transfer well to any other activities because the posture used to stand and balanced on a stability ball is not used in many sports, activities or everyday life.

 Learning to develop a feel for that sense of being off balanced and then how to correct yourself is one of the most important things to learn as a beginner balance trainer.


Another thing about balance training is that it is a slow process. Sometimes it feels like you are making no progress then one day you have a breakthrough and are surprised how easily you can pull off a move that was once challenging

The video below is an excellent drill for developing your awareness of feeling off balanced and correcting it. I suggest you spend a lot of time on this exercise if you are new to balance training because being tuned into that sensation of being off balance is one of the most helpful ways to improve your balance. Although this is a fundamental balance drill,  it still has the potential to be dangerous so take it slow and be careful.

If you want to continue to challenge your balance after you have mastered the drill in the first video you can move onto this exercise. Picking one spot on the floor to focus on can help you improve your balance. Just concentrate on that one spot and try to get more in tune with the feelings or being off balanced and correcting it.

Additionally, as a beginner, it would be best to spend a lot of time on these exercises because they will strengthen your core. Having a strong core will help you progress in your balance training because it will help with maintaining and controlling your posture to stay balanced.

 

 

Part 4 Injury prevention, rehabilitation and mobility

 

Physical therapists have taken a liken to fitness balls so you can find all tons of P.t exercises for free on youtube.

 Having experienced shoulder and knee injuries myself and recovering from them through rehab exercises, stretching and soft tissues work under the supervision of a professional physical therapist I now like do injury prevention training to help prevent any additional damage from happening to me.  

Injury prevention work is a much more efficient way of keeping your joints and spine in good health than waiting for them to break down and then trying to figure out how to fix them.

Injury prevention training will not give you are a sexy beach body but using all the movements in these videos you can put together a simple injury prevention routine that can be done in under a half hour that will help keep your joints from your neck to your ankles healthy.

Although most of these exercises and stretches are used for rehabilitating injuries, they are also ideal for helping to prevent them.

 If you are experiencing any pain while doing these movements stop doing them, you could be making the problem worse. I would not recommend trying to self-diagnose your problems, if you don't know what is exactly causing you to be in pain have a professional check it out.

 

Stability ball drills for shoulder health

Stability Ball stretches for the upper back

The stretches in these videos are ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time on the computer and has developed tight shoulders.

Fitness ball exercises for lower back pain and health

Stability ball exercises for hip, knee and ankle health.

 

part 5 exercises balls for strength and conditioning

 

Stability balls are an excellent tool that will allow you to continue to increase the intensity of traditional bodyweight exercises.

Fitness balls are ideal for allowing you do a lot of variations of push-ups, arm balancing movements, and core workouts.

I recommend you avoid using heavy free weights as well as doing squats and standing balance exercises with a stability ball it is too easy to get hurt if the ball bursts or if you lose your balance.

 

part 6 Full length fitness ball workouts

Stability ball strength workouts

 

Stability ball cardio workouts

 

stability ball mobility and posture improvement workouts

 

I will continue to update and tweak this guild to keep it relevant so check back in every once and awhile.

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