If you’re on the hunt for the perfect stability ball, you’ve probably noticed that they’re available in a variety of sizes.
The right size stability ball for you depends on your height, weight, and how you plan to use the ball.
So how can you determine what size you need? What’s the best stability ball for a home workout or to replace your desk chair? How much weight can a stable ball hold?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is a stability ball?
Stability balls – also known as exercise balls, Swiss balls or balance balls – are large, inflatable balls usually made from a thick, anti-burst plastic.
Stability balls can be used for core training, strength training, physical therapy, Pilates, improving posture, and more.
“Stability balls are great for strengthening your core and activating different muscle groups to keep you balanced while doing other exercises,” says ACE-certified personal trainer Sabrina Correa.
Because a stability ball is more unstable than a flat surface, sitting or lying on a stability ball requires you to engage your abdominal and back muscles to maintain your balance.
This can make everything from sitting at your desk to performing strength exercises more challenging—because why not add another layer of pain to that fitness game?
Stability balls conform to the shape of your body when you lie on them, so they provide support to your spine and joints.
What size stability ball should I buy?
Your stability depends on the size of the ball you.
Most high-quality stability balls are designed to accommodate 250 to 300 pounds. Remember that the weight limit includes the weight you lift.
If you weigh 200 pounds and plan to use a set of 25-pound dumbbells, make sure your stability ball can support at least 250 pounds.
For most people, height will play the biggest role in choosing the right size stability ball.
Correa recommends this simple method to estimate what size stability ball you need:
- Wall sit with your back against the wall and knees bent 90 degrees.
- Measure the distance from your butt to the floor in centimeters.
That is the approximate size you should use.
You can go to the store (or the gym) and try sitting on different sized balls. If you can keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at 90 degrees, that’s about right, Correa adds.
Otherwise, refer to the size chart below.
Stability ball size chart
Stability forces are measured in centimeters.
Based on recommendations from stability ball manufacturer Gaiam and Swiss Ball, this chart can help you narrow down the best stability ball for your height — though the most important thing is whether you feel comfortable on the ball.
|height||The size of the stability ball|
|Under 5’0″||45 cm|
|5’0″ – 5’5″||55 cm|
|5’6″ – 5’11”||65 cm|
|6’0″ and above||75 cm|
The measurements above are directed towards exercises where you sit or lie on the ball.
For some moves — such as leg curls, hip extensions, or plank variations such as “stir the pot” — a smaller ball can provide a more challenging workout.
How do I know if my stability ball is inflated enough?
Your stability ball should come with instructions on how to properly inflate it, but a good rule of thumb is to base it on diameter size – a 65cm ball should be about 65cm across when fully inflated.
(If you’re struggling to measure the ball’s diameter, measure around the widest part — in centimeters — and divide by 3.14.)
When you put your weight on the ball, it should have a little give – not too firm or too squishy.
One exception: If you struggle with your balance, you may want to under-inflate the ball a bit at first.
“A slightly softer ball helps with balance, so if you’re just starting out, it may seem more helpful to start soft and work your way up,” says Correia.
6 stability balls to try
Here are six stability balls to use in your home, gym, or office.
Stability ball for office
If you want to improve your posture — or turn your eight-hour workday into a hard coreout — consider replacing your desk chair with a stability ball.
(Desk sets are usually a bit more expensive than your average stability ball, but include a base to keep the ball from rolling.)
When purchasing a stability ball for office use, choose a size that allows you to work comfortably without slouching or straining at your desk.
Vivora Luno Sitting Ball Chair (Amazon)
This stability ball comes with a patented self-standing base design, extra thick carrying handle so you can easily transport it to the office, and a stylish fabric cover that doesn’t scream “exercise ball.”
Game Classic Balance Ball Chair (Amazon)
This two-in-one set includes a wheeled base and a removable 52cm stability ball, so you can use the same ball for work and work.
The base features easy-glide casters, lockable back wheels, a metal support bar to keep your ball in place, and optional leg extenders to add extra height if needed.
Stability ball for house
These home-gym-friendly stability balls can be easily stored away and are sturdy enough to be used safely for weighted workouts.
URBNFit Anti-Burst Exercise Ball (Amazon)
This non-slip stability ball is designed to withstand up to 2000 pounds of pressure, so you can feel comfortable even during weighted exercises.
Need to deflate your stability ball for storage? The included dual-action pump makes it quick to re-inflate.
Smart Life Exercise Ball (Amazon)
If you’re nervous about the idea of popping an exercise ball, this ultra-durable model features anti-burst technology — so if you puncture the ball, it’s designed to slowly deflate instead of collapsing.
Stability balls for the gym
If stability is your top priority, these high-quality stability balls are built to withstand any workout.
Live Infinite Extra Thick Balance and Stability Ball (Amazon)
Made of professional-grade PVC, this stability ball is designed to support up to 2,200 pounds of pressure and withstand a puncture of up to 2 cm without bursting.
It’s latex-free, BPA-free, and phthalate-free — and comes with access to an online stability ball exercise guide if you need workout inspiration.
Tridar Extra Thick Heavy Duty Stability Ball (Amazon)
This stability ball supports up to 2,200 pounds of pressure, and its BPA-free PVC material can withstand even the toughest workouts.
With a quick-inflation foot pump, extra air stoppers and a 12-month warranty, this balance ball is built to last.