The Stability Ball Why You Should Try It

Editor's Note: When you see these three dots surrounded by a gray rectangle — 1 — you can click on it to get further information about the topic. Click a second time, and the message goes away.

This article was edited and updated on December 16, 2021.

NOTE: During the coronavirus pandemic, most equipment used in fitness classes was abandoned except for weights and resistance bands. The stability ball is an excellent tool for fitness classes, but we may not see them used again in classes for several more months, even years. With the hope that they will be used again, I will maintain this article.

How it started

The stability ball was introduced in 1909 by Dr. Susanne Klein-Vogelbach; exercises were first used with children afflicted with cerebral palsy to develop balance and maintain reflex response; it was then extended to assist patients with spinal injuries and orthopedic problems. In 1992, Mike and Stephanie Morris, the developers of the Resist-A-Ball exercise ball, developed a total body conditioning program. 2

Its Advantages

Here is a short list of the stability ball’s greatest advantages:

Choosing the size

To choose the right size ball, first sit on one. If your knees are bent at a 90°angle and your feet are flat on the floor, you have the right size. The following guidelines give you a general idea of what size ball to use but keep in mind that it’s your comfort that matters most:

At the West End Community Centre, we have 55, 65, and 75 cm balls. How much air the ball has in it will make a difference. Soft, mushy balls are easier to handle, while balls that have been blown up very full are harder to sit on.

Using the Ball

A stability ball is a tool that can be used by all ages and fitness levels. You should, however, combine its use with other types of training and, if you have never used it, begin slowly.

While in class, do not assume you must try all exercises — do what you feel comfortable with. In time, you may be willing to try everything. Do not use a stability ball if you have an injury. Let your fitness instructor know if you have any health issues such as osteoporosis, low back pain, or arthritis of the spine, as there may be some exercises you should not do.

See also:

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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  1. These three dots behave exactly like a footnote. Click on them and you will get more information about the topic. ↩︎

  2. Ball classes are fairly common now. I used to teach one, but switched to a different class after a few years. ↩︎