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The yoga ball - like yoga itself - is not a new invention. If anything, it’s age-old.
Hippocrates - who is renowned as the father of modern medicine - is thought to have had his students create large balls of animal skin stuffed with sand. These early "medicine balls" would be used as an aid to help patients stretch and exercise.
Yoga balls are also used frequently in gyms and training sessions and may be called other names such as stability balls, swiss balls, fitness balls, and exercise balls. These giant balls are constructed of soft elastic, have a diameter of approximately 35 to 85 centimeters (14 to 34 inches) and are filled with air.
They’re used to make your core work harder by compensating for your lack of balance - which in turn builds up your muscles, increases your strength and flexibility, and improves your balance.
So, how different can yoga balls get?
We’ve put together a list of our top picks online, along with a handy buyer’s guide containing everything you need to know before you buy. This way, you’ll spend less time browsing for a ball, and more time practicing with it!
Top 5 Best Yoga Balls
OUR TOP PICK
One of the most popular and well-reviewed aerial yoga swings on the market, the UpCircleSeven Aerial Yoga Swing Set is a fantastic choice for all ages and abilities.
The swing is made from strong parachute material and complete with padded foam handles and extra-spacious swing seat for added comfort.
Featuring 2 climber-strength, multi-loop daisy chains suitable for weights up to 200 lbs each, plus triple-stitching on the seat for extra security, this swing set ensures both comfort and safety with its professional design.
The swing as a whole has a load capacity of 550 lbs.
Included with the swing is a 23-page PDF Yoga Swing Guide, featuring step-by-step instructions to aerial poses and inversions, plus tips and tricks to help you master them.
Additionally, this swing set is available in a range of colors, from black or gray to turquoise or pink, so whatever your yoga aesthetic, UpCircleSeven has something for you.
Ceiling accessories are not included with the swing, however, so you will need to purchase ceiling hooks separately for hanging.
- Strong material and stitching
- Features 2 climber-strength daisy chains
- Available in a variety of colors
- Includes PDF Yoga Swing Guide
- Ceiling accessories not included
If you’re looking for something that’s less amateur and more ‘pro’ - the Pro Body Professional Grade exercise ball could be for you. This ball can be used to improve core strength, balance, back rehabilitation and for toning and sculpting the upper body. It also makes a great aid for pregnant women.
If you’re worried about that all too familiar rubbery smell that comes with many exercise balls, this Pro Body one promises a superior low-odor material which is free of the six common harmful phthalates: DEHP DBP BBP DINP DIDP and DNOP, and is made of non-rubber PVC.
While this ball has a lower anti-burst rating than others we’ve included on our list, Pro Body promises to refund you and provide you with a new ball in the unlikely instance that the ball bursts.
- Low-odor material - no rubber smell
- Free from harmful phthalates and made of non-rubber PVC
- Includes access to stability ball exercises
- Available in a range of sizes with or without a pump
- Refund policy if your ball bursts
- Lower anti-burst rating than others - 600lbs
- More expensive than some others
This ball can be used not only for yoga but for a range of exercises, from pilates to labor support during pregnancy and birthing. You can even use it as an alternative seat at your desk. This ball promises not to pop thanks to its ultra-high anti-burst rating of 2000 lbs.
While low-end exercise balls can burst like a balloon when punctured by sharp objects, the SmarterLife exercise ball slowly deflates to protect you from injury.
The ball has a smooth, anti-slip matte surface which provides you with a secure grip regardless of what you’re using it for. This provides a hypoallergenic surface which feels comfortable on your skin, without that sticky, rubbery feeling.
With sturdy, 0.2cm PVC casing this ball is strong and takes a lot to puncture, plus its durability means it’ll withstand frequent and heavy use without losing its shape. It’s available in a range of sizes to suit your height, from 45cm to 75cm, so there’s an ideal size for everyone, meaning you’re more likely to get the most out of your ball.
- High anti-burst rating of 2000 lbs
- Slowly deflates to prevent injury in the case of puncture
- Smooth, anti-slip surface
- Hypoallergenic - no sticky touch
- Durable 0.2cm PVC casing
- Multiple sizes available
- Some people had issues pumping their ball to the specified size
Gaiam is a well-trusted and highly renowned name in the yoga industry and their total body balance ball does not disappoint. This ball is great for beginners who want to build strength and flexibility, as it comes with a handy 105-minute digital workout to get you started.
With Gaiam you can always guarantee that their products look great; this ball comes in a range of tranquil colors, with different colors indicating different sizes, so you get a ball that’s the ideal diameter for your weight and build.
This ball is available in 3 sizes and will withstand up to 300 lbs in weight, it’s also designed for all skill levels making it accessible and user-friendly for first-time users.
This ball comes with an easy-inflate pump and it’s recommended that inflate the ball with air and let it stand overnight, deflate 50% and then fill again to its 65cm height.
- 3 different sizes and colors
- Free 105 minute workout by leading fitness instructor Tanja Djelevic
- Respected Yoga brand
- Can withstand up to 300lbs in weight
- Easy-inflate pump included
- A great choice for beginners
- Good customer service
- Some people didn’t receive the fitness DVD
This stability ball from Yogu is sturdy and durable, able to handle up to 2,000lbs making it perfect for tough, frequent workouts.
Promising anti-burst technology, you can use this ball to improve your core strength, increase your flexibility, or even use it as a chair, while resting assured that it won’t burst on you out of the blue.
It’s available in a range of colours and has a non-slip surface for added traction. It comes with a fun, colorful pump too, and has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
- Sturdy and durable: can hold up to 2000lbs
- Anti-burst technology to put your mind at ease
- Available in a range of colors and sizes
- Non-slip surface
- 100% guarantee
- More expensive than others
- No choice in sizes
Best Yoga Balls Buying Guide
Like we said before, there’s a wide range of yoga balls out there, and each claim to offer something different.
To make your choice easier, we’ve picked out the most important things you should consider:
The material of your ball should be durable and strong.
Many use anti-burst PVC material which is favored for its pliability; this gives the ball that soft, bouncy feel while the non-slip surface grips onto your skin for added traction.
In the past PVC has been controversial because of its high chlorine content, which often means you are also exposed to phthalates, which can have knock-on health effects.
However, you can also get non-toxic PVC which is free from the six common harmful phthalates: DEHP DBP BBP DINP DIDP and DNOP, as seen in the Pro body- Professional Grade Exercise Ball.
Most yoga balls on the market claim to be anti-burst. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will never burst, but rather means that if something sharp punctures the surface of the ball, it will deflate slowly, rather than suddenly, which can result in injury.
Some balls will have a specific figure as their anti-burst rating, most of these can withstand up to 2200 lbs in weight. Anti-burst is important for most exercises you’ll be using the ball for, but especially if you’re using it as an alternative chair, or if you’re pregnant.
As we said, it is mostly the norm for manufacturers to feature this in their design, but if you intend to use the ball a lot, or for frequent, heavy exercise, the higher the anti-burst rating the better.
Most yoga balls come in different sizes, and it’s important you purchase the right one for your height, otherwise, you could end up with a ball that is too small or too large - and both will make it difficult to balance upon and work with. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines before you buy, as a ‘small’ ball in one brand could be a ‘medium’ in another, and so forth.
Here are some rough guidelines for diameter size, but still check the measurements specific to your chosen company before clicking buy...
If you’re 5’ tall, you need a 45cm diameter ball.
If you’re 5’ 1" - 5’4" tall, you need a 55cm diameter ball.
If you’re 5’ 5" - 5’ 11" tall, you need a 65cm diameter ball.
It can be difficult to know how much to spend on a yoga ball, as they mainly claim to offer the same features, and sometimes the cheaper ones can be just as good - if not better - than the more expensive ones.
We recommend spending between $10 and $30. While the cheaper ones may offer the same anti-burst qualities as the more expensive alternatives, the more expensive ones may offer a better warranty, which could save you money in the long run if you do have to replace your ball earlier than you’d like. It all comes down to how much you’re willing to spend, and how often you plan on using the ball.
How to Inflate your Ball
Most balls come with a pump included which is specially designed to inflate your specific ball, while others don’t include the pump - so make sure you read the product description carefully. It’s best to consult the instructions that come with your yoga ball, but most are inflated in the same way.
Here are some steps for getting your ball inflated to its optimal size:
Check Before Inflating
Give the ball a once-over before inflating it. Check the surface for any tears or damage.
Your ball will come deflated and folded, so folds on the surface are pretty normal.
Let The Ball Get to Room Temperature
It can be tempting to get stuck in and inflate your ball straight away, but the best thing you can do is leave the ball overnight or for a few hours, so it can reach room temperature.
Otherwise, the flexibility of rubber can be affected by both hot and cold temperatures.
Lookup Its Final Diameter
Before you start pumping your ball up, check the manufacturer guidelines so you know the final diameter your ball should reach.
You can put a mark on the wall or use a measuring tape to gauge the size.
You can now start inflating your ball with the hand-held pump it comes with - or your own if you just ordered a ball by itself.
Don’t over pump the ball - only inflate it to 80% at first, you can then insert the plug once you’ve pumped it to the desired size.
The 24-Hour Rule
You might read posts online where people complain about their yoga balls being smaller than stated. Actually, this may be down to how they inflated the ball:
At first, only inflate it to 80% - this allows the rubber material to respond correctly and will help your ball maintain its size and shape. Let your ball rest for 24 hours before inflating it to 100%. It might also be beneficial to let the ball rest before you use it.
Measure your ball and check it is fully inflated. You can then adjust according to your findings until you reach the desired size.
You don’t want the ball underinflated - as it’ll be too soft - nor overinflated - as it runs the risk of bursting.
Using your ball
Once you’ve inflated your ball and you’ve let it rest, you can then start using it.
There is a range of activities you can use the ball for, and not all of them are yoga-related. Here are a few of our favorites:
Building Better Balance
The round nature of the ball makes your body stabilize itself so it doesn’t fall.
This makes it great for balance exercises that engage your core muscles to prevent the ball from rolling out from underneath you.
Practice your poses
A yoga ball can help you improve your yoga poses, as it can act as an aid which enhances your flexibility and makes certain poses easier.
Not only will the ball support your body, but it will tone it too!
An alternative chair
Whether you’re watching TV or working at your desk, a yoga ball can make a great alternative chair, and can also improve your posture.
It forces your body to adjust itself so it can balance better, and will strengthen your core simply by sitting down, as well as reduce your risk of back injuries.
Keep fit while you’re pregnant
A yoga ball is a great aid for women who are pregnant and want to strengthen their abdominal muscles before labor.
Just sitting on the ball will strengthen your core muscles!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you exercise with a ball?
There are tonnes of exercises out there to choose from, ranging from those that are as simple as just sitting on the ball, to harder exercises such as the plank.
Ball marches, back lift, and butt extension are all great for engaging the core and toning muscles.
What is the best exercise ball?
This is a difficult question to answer, mainly because a lot of yoga balls fit into the same category and differ only slightly.
It also depends on your budget: we love the Trideer Exercise Ball for its quality, durability, and affordability.
What if my exercise ball bursts?
Most balls feature an anti-burst technology, so even if they do get punctured, they should deflate slowly rather than all at once.
The best thing to do is to take precautions: inspect your ball after every use and put it in a safe place where it won’t get damaged.
Exercise balls are a great way to improve your posture, sculpt your muscles, and engage your core. They can be used as an aid in Yoga or pilates, but can also be used by pregnant women or those with injuries, to help them keep active and strong.
They’re relatively cheap too and are a good way of making yoga accessible to all ages and abilities. The key thing to look out for when buying a yoga ball is a durable material that is free from harmful phthalates and has a high anti-burst rating.
It’s also important that you get the right size - and correctly inflate your ball - while also using it in a safe environment.