When you first get into yoga, it seems like a whole world opens up to you (it does). Suddenly, all you can think about are all the gadgets, mantras, songs, poses, and styles of yoga that you want to explore.
And my favorite thing is to explore them with you 🙂
One fun yoga product that you’ll see come up throughout your practice is the yoga ball. Though it may sound like something as simple as a block or a strap, it can actually be used in MANY ways…
…and not just for yoga.
That’s why I love them and love using them on the daily, even when I’m not doing my asana practice (or especially when I’m not doing my asana practice). So I wanted to do a breakdown of what the heck a yoga ball even is, how it can be used, and some of the top brands in the industry. And if you have any questions or if you think I missed one, drop it in the comments!
What Is the Difference Between a Yoga Ball, Stability Ball, Exercise Ball, and Balance Ball?
There really is no difference between a yoga ball, stability ball, exercise ball, or a balance ball. In fact, the name of the product tells you a lot more about the person naming it than it does about the product itself. A yogi will call it a yoga ball, but a pilates practitioner might call it a balance ball while a fitness trainer might call it a stability ball. They’re just different names for the same thing — a large inflatable ball that’s big enough to sit on.
As if that wasn’t confusing enough, you might also hear them called “Swiss balls”, “fitness balls”, “gym balls”, “therapy balls”, or “physio balls”. These different names simply reflect how many different uses this versatile tool can have, which is why they’re so great!
How Do You Use A Yoga Ball?
You can use yoga balls in lots of different ways to build strength, flexibility, and stability (just like the name variations imply). You can do a full-body ball workout that hits every major muscle group or you might use a ball in your pilates class or physical therapy session.
Adding some ball moves to your yoga routine is a fabulous way to create a killer yoga workout (just wait until you feel your thighs and legs after doing bridge pose with your feet on a ball!)
There are even “birthing balls” for use in child-bearing — woah!
Balls are also, hands-down, one of the most fun ways to stretch. It’s like a full-body massage as you drape across the ball for a supported chest-opener, side-lengthener, or back-releasing forward bend.
One of the best things about yoga balls is that they can strengthen your core and abdominal muscles as well as improve your balance. Because they’re unstable, you engage your deep core muscles every time you use them. Core strength is helpful not just for sports but for daily life, like having good posture, reducing back pain, and increasing balance.
You can even sit and get fit. While it sounds like a fitness fad from the 1980s, it’s a bona fide ball benefit. Using a ball as a chair helps you sit with a straight spine, strengthening your core and back, and can help mobilize your hips.
What Sizes Do Yoga Balls Come In?
For adults, there are 5 sizes that might be offered in your ball of choice:
- 45 cm (17.5 in)
- 55 cm (21.5 in)
- 65 cm (25.5 in)
- 75 cm (29.5 in)
- and 85 cm (33.5 in)
- sometimes you can find balls in 30 and 95 cm sizes
To choose the right size for you, the general rule of thumb is to buy a ball that’s about as high as your knees. You should be able to sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor and a 90 degree or greater bend in your knees.
If you can’t try your ball in person, check the manufacturer’s recommendation on size based on your height. Here’s the general recommendation of ball size by height:
- 45 cm for 4’6 – 5’0
- 55 cm for 5’1 – 5’7
- 65 cm for 5’8 – 6’2
- 75 cm for 6’3 – 6’7
- and 85 cm for 6’8 and taller
7 Best Yoga Balls On The Market
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market to get you rolling (dad jokes are free of charge) into a more able-bodied version of you!
The Trideer Yoga Ball Chair is one of the highest density balls on the market, able to hold up to 2200 lbs of weight. It’s made from a non-toxic, anti-slip, PVC that’s BPA and heavy-metal free. It’s offered in 5 sizes (45 – 85 cm) and a variety of colors. Included are a quick-inflate foot pump, 2 additional air-stoppers, a 12-month warranty, and 30-day no hassle returns.
Made from a heavy-duty phthalate-free PVC, this ball is rated up to 750 lbs and is anti-burst with a non-slip surface. Choose from the 65 and 75 cm sizes and a handful of colors. A unique feature of this ball is its removable stability base for when you want to store the ball or to have more stability while you use it as a chair. It comes with 15 lb latex resistance bands so you can get some reps in for your arms and shoulders while sitting at your desk. Additionally included are an instructional video, a quick-reference poster with all-levels workouts, a quick-inflation foot pump, a tape measure to ensure you inflate the ball to the best height, and a 100% lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
The Dynapro Exercise Ball is anti-burst up to 2,000 lbs, is made from non-toxic PVC, and has a non-slip surface. This ball is offered in a variety of colors and in 4 sizes (45 – 75 cm). Included with your purchase are a hand-pump and access to a free workout resource, blog, and private community.
This ball is able to support up to 2200 lbs and is anti-burst tested. It’s made from non-toxic professional grade PVC that’s latex, phthalate, BPA, and heavy-metal free. It comes in a variety of colors and 5 different sizes (55 – 95 cm). You also receive a hand-pump, 2 air-plugs, a valve remover tool, access to online, mobile-friendly workout guides, and a 1-year unlimited warranty.
URBNFit’s exercise ball is made from professional quality PVC that’s anti-burst rated up to 2,000 lbs and has a non-slip surface. Choose from a variety of colors and 5 different sizes (45 – 85 cm). It includes a quick, dual-action inflation pump, 2 air-plugs, paper and digital workout guides, and a 100% money-back guarantee.
This ball is made with “slow deflate technology” to help it outlast any puncture and is available in 4 different colors and size options (45 – 75 cm). It comes with an exercise guide demonstrating 24 exercises, 2 air-plugs, and an inflation valve adapter.
The Smarter Life Products ball is made with a PVC that is rated to support up to 2,000 lbs, is anti-slip, and anti-burst. It’s offered in a variety of colors and 4 sizes (45 – 75 cm). Your purchase includes a hand pump, a measuring tape to ensure proper inflation, 2 air-plugs, a plug removal tool, and the “7 Secrets to Your Ideal Body” e-book.
To sum it up, most of us could benefit from a yoga ball in our lives as they’re an accessible tool for all fitness levels that can help us in our physical activities and daily lives.
And the best part about yoga balls…they’re just FUN! I’m all for a workout that feels less like work and more like play. I mean, who doesn’t want to get fit and have a ball doing it? (One last dad joke, couldn’t resist!)