best exercise ball

Exercise Balls: Test & Reviews

Author: Manuel Heitmann

Coach & Fitness Expert

Welcome to our great exercise ball review. Here we present you all of the exercise balls that we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information for you.

We want to make the purchase decision easier for you and help you find the best exercise ball for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. You will find important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a exercise ball.

The exercise ball is used not only in gyms, but also in homes and offices for better sitting posture. For our best list, our team has viewed numerous tests on the Internet to include ratings on size, norm, resilience and other points.

Questions to Consider Before Buying An Exercise Balls

What is an exercise ball?

The typical exercise ball is a large ball made of elastic plastic or rubber that is inflated with a pump. Because it is filled with air, it has a relatively low weight. The ball is mainly used in physiotherapy and gymnastics training. In general, the exercise balls have a diameter of at least 45 and a maximum of 95 centimeters. So they can be tailored exactly to the individual body size. The smaller exercise balls are used by children, while the larger ones can also be used by tall people. The effect of the gymnastic exercises is enhanced by the support of the fully inflated ball. At the same time, the body is spared by the elasticity and the round shape, even with a strenuous full-body workout.

Many manufacturers supply an exercise ball with an anti-burst system together with a hand pump. It can be inflated within a short time and is then immediately ready for use. Whether it is used for temporary sitting or for sports, it is an effective device that supports a healthy sitting posture and is also suitable for numerous muscle and stretching exercises. The various colors in which the exercise balls are available can be adapted to the respective location and taste.

At home or in the fitness center: When choosing, quality should be at the top of the list of priorities. The color, however, plays a subordinate role.

How does an exercise ball work?

The way the exercise ball works is very simple: as full as it is inflated, as soon as it is put under pressure, it changes its shape a little. This flexibility makes it a pleasant device that is easy on the body during training and when sitting. The air suspension supports light, active sitting. Depending on the type of gymnastics training, the ball can be securely fixed on a shell so that it does not roll away, or it can be moved flexibly back and forth.

By resting on the ball with your hands or feet, it is much easier to bend or stretch widely. Some of the balls are also suitable for gymnastics or competitions, but usually they are used for occupational therapy purposes. They are also practical gymnastics equipment in school sports or for exercises at home. After use, they remain in the corner of a room or the air is let out: In this way they hardly take up space when they are put away.

The type of sporting exercise in which this large ball is used can change its name: There are fitness balls and yoga balls, which in principle do not differ from the exercise ball.

Only in comparison to the medicine ball and the peanut ball can clear differences be seen. The other exercise balls are basically not variants, just a different form of use.

Advantages & areas of application

Typical applications for exercise balls are not only occupational therapy and fitness, but also popular sports, and sometimes even competitive sports. This is, for example, rhythmic sports gymnastics. However, this typically relies on the small balls with a diameter of 25 to 35 cm, which are easy to hold in the hand.

Exercise balls are used, among other things, to train skill and coordination. In addition to physical fitness, good balance also plays an important role. In addition, many missions are about relieving back pain and strengthening muscles. In this context, the exercise balls gently support therapeutic treatment and muscle building.

A popular application for the exercise ball is to use it as an alternative to the office chair. Due to their good resilience, they can also carry people with a slightly higher weight without bursting. The soft, rounded surface gives the pool a lot of leeway and encourages you to bob gently. In the long run this can become uncomfortable, but for phases of up to an hour, active sitting relaxes the spine and the surrounding muscles.

The Pezziball in pregnancy

It has been shown that pregnant women really like to sit comfortably. This is why the exercise ball is used very often during pregnancy. It cushions the increased weight well and thus prevents back pain.

This effect can be optimized with additional exercises with the ball. In the meantime, repeated analyzes have shown that the exercise ball can even prevent pregnancy-related diabetes.

Just like Pilates and yoga exercises, which are normally performed on a mat, the exercise ball also offers many advantages for pregnant women. Just a few minutes of sitting and a few gymnastic units strengthen the entire musculature. This mainly trains the lower back and pelvis. The abdominal muscles also benefit from the exercises, which in turn improves the posture of the pregnant woman.

Another positive effect is shown when labor begins: the effective muscle training of the pelvis makes it easy for the woman to relax, so that the birth is less painful than without previous gymnastics. The exercise ball continues to be used after the birth: targeted training of the pelvic floor ensures that the muscles and therefore the skin become firmer again. This is possible without difficult exercises:

The young mother just sits down on the exercise ball and makes circular movements with the pelvis. With a secure seat and a soft exercise mat, the baby can also be integrated into the therapeutic exercises in a gentle and playful way.

A completely different way of using the ball is the drum’s Alive exercise. For this purpose, the exercise ball comes in a holder so that it does not roll away. With rhythmic music, the ball is hit with two sticks in time. The further the arms stretch out, the stronger the training effect. This mix of fitness training and musical accompaniment is particularly fun with several people. The muscles of the shoulders, back and arms in particular are significantly strengthened by the regular Drum’s Alive lessons.

What types of exercise balls are available?

The seating ball as an alternative to the office chair is an important variant. Especially people who work a lot while sitting can soon suffer from back pain due to the wrong chair or armchair. This is due to the often wrong posture or to the fact that the sitting posture is not changed for several hours. A sitting ball can help here. At least as a temporary replacement for a chair, it is a good solution. It encourages active sitting, because the sitter unconsciously moves his pelvis and back. Therefore, one sits much healthier than on a chair, which offers far fewer possibilities to change the sitting position.

However, it is important to choose the ideal size for the sitting ball, because only then will it fulfill its purpose. Ultimately, it is supposed to get the seated person to stand upright and relax their shoulders. In the beginning, many people have to get used to sitting on the ball, but after several days the body has got used to the gentle, almost unconscious sitting gymnastics. As healthy as active sitting is, the ball should not be used as seating for too long so that the muscles are not stressed too much and there is a risk of cramps. In addition, the sitting ball should definitely be burst-proof, which is ensured by the designation anti-burst. In this way, the necessary stability is guaranteed. In the exercise ball test, we also examined exercise balls for private use at home. These are suitable for gentle training and can support very different exercises in this context. Depending on the type of training planned, a shell may be required to attach the ball, otherwise no additional accessories apart from the pump are required. There are specially marked balls for back exercises, yoga and Pilates, but these hardly differ so that they can also be used for other types of gymnastics if necessary.

The practical thing about the exercise ball is that it is easy to use in your own home. It practically replaces going to the gym and is an inexpensive alternative. However, there should be enough space to carry out the appropriate training units without any problems. Immediately after inflating, the ball is ready for use so that gymnastics can begin. Stretching and muscle exercises are particularly easy in comfortable training clothing.

During training, you can not only improve the strength of your back and pelvis. It also strengthens smaller muscle areas next to the spine. These are always used when they are doing their job of balancing, even if it is hardly noticeable. When exercising with the stability ball, these muscles are particularly well supported, which helps overall physical fitness and a good sense of balance.

What do I have to look out for when buying an exercise ball?

When deciding on a gymnastics ball, the primary focus is on the intended use. After all, everyone has their own quality requirements. Anyone who uses their ball daily and builds on ultimate practicality should buy a suitably high-quality exercise ball. Others may be satisfied with a simple ball that has the necessary stability. So it is important to first find out what expectations the exercise ball should meet. Our exercise ball test shows what is important and which criteria should definitely be taken into account when choosing.

Before a purchase decision can be made, it is important to determine the required size. In principle, this is based on body size, regardless of whether the ball is used for gymnastics or for sitting. For effective use of the stability ball, whoever is using it should have both feet touching the ground while sitting on it.

To simplify this picture, it helps to orientate yourself on the usual chair height. The sizes are usually between 45 and 95 cm in diameter. Only the balls that are used in yoga are sometimes smaller.

The material of the exercise ball plays another essential role in the selection. Many people are reluctant to use PVC and other plastics with plasticizers. They are on the one hand elastic and very stable, on the other hand the ingredients can be harmful to health. A rubber exercise ball is generally a little heavier, but is otherwise good quality and grip. In any case, when deciding on a model, you should check whether the GS seal of approval is present. This says a lot about the safety of the exercise ball and ensures that it does not burst, even under heavy use.

Where is the best place to buy my exercise ball?

The exercise ball comparison winner and also the other versions can be bought in specialist shops, among other things. A professional range is available in sports stores as well as stores selling rehab products. However, since the balls are not unpacked, they cannot be tried out on site. Shopping on the internet is therefore an excellent alternative. The online comparison makes it easy to find out which ball is the right one and where it is offered at a particularly affordable price.

Another advantage of buying on the internet is that the ball is delivered. So you don’t need to transport it home. Many online shops offer the exercise ball as a set including an air pump and, if necessary, other accessories. In addition, the selection is extremely large, so that color, size and other details can be individually selected.

It is easy to determine at home which size is suitable for individual use: you do not have to go to the store for this. In addition to the balls themselves, tips on what is necessary for determining the size can be found on the Internet. With the help of a ball size calculator, which is also available online, you can quickly find out how big the exercise ball should be. If you have any questions, you can get an answer via the Internet almost as quickly as in a specialist shop.

Personal advice, which is seen as an advantage when buying directly in-store, is also possible online. There is also nothing left to be desired when it comes to the speed of ordering:

The right size or the right color is not always available in the store, so you may have to go back. If the favorite is currently not available when ordering online, you will generally find a small note telling when it will be available again.


Useful accessories

If you order the gymnastics ball or sitting ball online, you often get the hand pump with it. A stopper ball or ball cup can also be part of a complete set. Instructions should also be included in the delivery, because here you will find tips for use and maybe even a few exercise instructions for gymnastics. Special brochures for training are also available individually. Various hints can be found here as to which exercise is suitable for which muscle group and what else the ball is suitable for.

As part of the exercise ball test, we also got a picture of the ball chairs and ball supports. The ball can be safely stabilized with these additional parts. The simplest variant is the ball cup, which is given enough stability by the weight of the ball and the person sitting on it. It is completely sufficient for the sitting ball. Slightly larger ball rests influence the height, which is important when it comes to ergonomic equipment in the workplace. As a special variant, the ball chair shows how you can sit actively on the one hand and benefit from individual adaptation on the other. Here, the ball often lies on an enlarged support and may even be equipped with a backrest. Regardless of the type of support structure, it prevents the ball from rolling away and thus minimizes the risk of a fall. A vibration-free sitting ball would be another way of protecting yourself from accidents.

Accessories are available for the fitness studio or a sports club that help store the equipment and prepare for ball gymnastics. A stacking aid usually offers space for three balls and thus quickly ensures order. A double-stroke pump is worthwhile for those who work or train frequently with the exercise balls.

Exercise ball alternatives

The exercise ball, which is available in numerous colors, is difficult to completely replace. Its versatile use in particular makes it a sitting and exercise device that cannot simply be exchanged. However, depending on the main use, there are ways to find an alternative seat or a training device with a similarly good effect.

If you feel insecure on a sitting ball, you can use the alternative ball cushions. These are also suitable for people who are relatively small or very large. Such a ball cushion is also useful for people who are under 1.60 m tall or over 1.90 m tall. This is simply placed on the chair itself and has a similar effect to the large sitting ball: its flexibility promotes the muscles and is considered very comfortable. The practical wedge cushion is also suitable for promoting dynamic and active sitting at the desk.

There is no comparable substitute for the exercise ball for full-body training. However, similar exercises can be performed with other utensils, but they are often not quite as effective. An exercise mat offers a soft, yet firm surface on which fitness and stretching exercises can be carried out. It is non-slip and is easy on the joints. The thicker the mat, the more comfortable the exercises are, regardless of whether you are doing yoga or Pilates on it.

A balance pad, like the exercise ball, trains balance. The trainees balance the fluctuations, which is a great strain on the muscles. It also gives them a better body feeling. The same goes for the balance board. This also shows certain progress with regular training. The Bosu Ball is a third alternative in this area. It is non-slip and is not only suitable for training balance, but also for other gymnastic exercises. However, these devices cannot compete with the effectiveness of the exercise ball.

Balls of different sizes are suitable for training coordination. In general, however, they are significantly smaller than the exercise ball. A medicine ball is characterized by its particularly heavy weight and is almost only used in school sports. In terms of size, inflatable balls for splashing around in the water can be compared with exercise balls, but the necessary quality is not given here. The light plastic balls are extremely light and not very stable: they are more suitable for throwing and playing than for gymnastic training.

Frequently Asked Questions: Exercise Balls

Who can use the exercise ball? Is there a minimum or maximum age?

The ball adapts to its user, so it is suitable for people of all ages. This gives children a more intense body feeling and adults and seniors have numerous exercise options. The training can be expanded by varying the exercises and, if necessary, adding additional equipment. The easy gymnastics exercises are suitable for beginners, while advanced and competitive athletes can also use them to design a complex workout.

How much should the ball be inflated?

In order for the exercise ball to actually be of the right size, it needs enough air. With the air pump, which is often included, it is inflated until it is round and tight. By sitting on it, you can check how firmly he is ready. If the legs are bent by 90 degrees when sitting, the correct height is ensured. If the outer skin is slightly damaged, the ball can be repaired with a bicycle repair kit.

For certain gymnastic exercises and to avoid accidents, it makes sense not to completely inflate the ball. With a little less air, the ball has a better grip on the floor and does not roll away as quickly. Anyone who fully inflates the exercise ball and wants better positional security can use a ball cup. This is a kind of ball rest that fixes the ball in place.

What is the maximum time you should sit on the ball?

In principle, there is nothing wrong with sitting on the exercise ball for several hours as long as there are no symptoms or it is too strenuous. Most manufacturers therefore recommend using it as a seat for more than an hour, or a maximum of two hours. Anyone who has problems with their intervertebral discs should only sit on the ball for a few minutes a day.

Exercise therapy and exercise experts have found that sitting on an exercise ball increases blood flow. On the other hand, it is still healthier to work standing up in between or to get up more often. This has a positive effect on the entire musculoskeletal system and also promotes energy combustion. That is why the ball is recommended by experts primarily for gymnastic exercises.

Why is the exercise ball so popular for training at home?

The ball has a certain instability that in a sense forces the body to balance its movements. This in turn increases the effect of the various exercises. With abs and other workouts, fewer repetitions are needed to get the same effect. Another good argument is whole body stimulation. Regardless of the type of exercise, the combination of flexibility and counter pressure, supportive strength and flexibility ensures excellent training results.

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