A simple yoga ball can provide amazing results if you’re willing to put in the work. Designed to help you fine tune your core and stability muscles, a yoga ball can also strengthen your lower back muscles, tone legs and open the chest. This blog post will cover the right size of ball for your height, how to use it, how to inflate it, and also provide 3 amazing workouts that will get you started no matter what your current fitness level is.
What is a yoga ball?
There are many different balls you can incorporate into workouts, but a yoga ball is very different from something like a core ball or a medicine ball. It’s not designed to throw and it’s almost weightless, so not intended for adding intensity to your squats like a weighted ball is.
A yoga ball is often referred to as a stability ball, but it can also be called an exercise ball. I don’t like that term because any ball can be an exercise ball as long as you exercise with it.
What Size Yoga Ball Do You Need?
Another reason why you want to be careful when choosing a yoga ball is that they come in different sizes to accommodate different heights:
- If you’re 5’3” or shorter, aim for a ball size of 22 inches/55 cm in diameter (medium size)
- If you’re 5’4” to 5’10”, you will want a ball size of 26 inches/65 cm in diameter (large size)
- If you’re 5’11” to 6’4”, go for a ball that’s 30 inches/75 cm in diameter (XL size)
- If you’re 6’4” and up, a 34 inch/ 85 cm ball is optimal (XXL size)
These sizes will support the best possible range of motion. However, if you’re super tall but you only have a 26 inch ball at your disposal, it’s fine. Just keep in mind, the smaller the ball, the bigger the challenge in some cases.
How to use a yoga ball
There’s a number of ways to use a yoga ball, but I think it’s always most helpful to see a full workout that incorporates the ball (keep scrolling to access the videos). That way, you can follow along if you want, or just adopt the actions and movements you want to target your specific needs.
Having said that, the best way to use a yoga ball in my opinion, is for core work! I love this particular movement below and I use it frequently while watching TV.
As I mentioned above, it's also a great tool for opening the upper back. We spend so much time hunched over computers these days - doing some supported back bends will help with posture and mood.
It's also a fantastic alternative to having a workout bench in your house! I love doing chest press, scull crushers and chest flies on a stability ball.
3 Yoga Ball Workouts you can do Anywhere
This first workout is for a more advanced fitness level. It’s a full body workout that includes core work, lower body (including glutes) and upper body. I think it’s the best example of how to use a yoga ball, but also how to get a great workout from it.
The workout is 30 minutes long and you don’t need anything other than your yoga ball and a mat (carpet is fine, too).
Strength-Focused 20 Minute Yoga Ball Workout
This next workout is also a full-body strength workout, designed to target core, lower and upper body. It’s fast, efficient, and you’ll get a good solid sweat it. It’s ideal for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
Beginner-Intermediate Pilates-inspired workout
In this 30-minute workout you’ll see a lot of similar moves from the other two workouts, but it’s geared toward a more entry-level fitness enthusiast. You’ll find the moves to be more accessible and basic, and the video has a fun, travel vibe that I love.
How to inflate a yoga ball
When you purchase your ball, don't expect it to come ready to use. In most cases, you will have to inflate it, first. Depending on the ball you purchase, it may come with an inflation device, or you can use a bicycle pump as well. Here's a quick instructional video on inflating a yoga ball.
Want to deflate it? Just unplug and apply pressure by sitting on it. Note, it will take much longer to deflate than a typical inflatable device (like a pool floatie) as it's not designed to be inflated and deflated regularly.
Hope this inspires you to get your sweat on today in a new way! Personally, I love having a yoga ball nearby even when I’m not working out as it’s great for stretching the spine, or stabilizing the core by sitting on it when doing computer work. It’s also mad fun to bounce around on 🙂
Want more home workout ideas that require minimal equipment?
- Barre Blend
- Xtend Barre
- Focus T25 (Cardio and strength)
- Transform 20 (step workout)
- Insanity Max 30 (cardio - hard, but holy smokes, it's good!)
- 3 Week Yoga Retreat
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, low carb recipes, quick home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.