Fitness balls are excellent exercise tools that can be used for core training, yoga, Pilates, stretching, and other purposes. However, in order to achieve the proper leverage for each exercise or stretch, the ball must be the appropriate size for your body. Knowing the size of your fitness ball and checking its inflation level on a regular basis will help you stay safe while getting the most out of your workout.
Method 1 Measuring With Your Body
1. Place your feet on the fitness ball. Maintain an even weight distribution and flat feet on the floor. If the ball is the right size for you, your hips and knees should be 90 degrees bent, and your thighs should be horizontal.
The top of your body should be vertical, with your ears, shoulders, and pelvis all aligned. To avoid creating a counterbalance, don’t lean in any direction.
2. Verify that the compression is correct. It is not enough that the ball fits your body; it must also be properly inflated. When you sit on a properly inflated fitness ball, it should compress about 6 inches.
If the ball fits your body but compresses more than 6 inches beneath you, it’s not the correct size; it’s a larger ball that’s been under-inflated. You can exercise on such a ball, but the extra-soft ball may feel awkward and make balancing too easy.
Don’t over-inflate a smaller ball to make it fit your body; the extra pressure increases the likelihood of it bursting.
When fully inflated, your finger should be able to press 2″ into the fitness ball.
With use and age, fitness balls lose pressure. You may need to inflate your ball more frequently as it ages.
3. Examine a sizing chart. Fitness ball manufacturers provide sizing charts that correlate ball diameter with body height. These are only estimates, and they vary greatly between ball manufacturers. Prioritize how the ball actually fits your body over the sizing charts.
As you gain experience, you may be able to use a smaller or larger size fitness ball.
Method 2 Using Measuring Tape
1. Wrap the inflated fitness ball in a flexible measuring tape all the way around. Some fitness balls have concentric rings marked around the ball; use the widest of these rings around the “equator” of the ball to help you align the tape correctly.
2. The fitness ball’s circumference should be measured. The diameter of a fitness ball (the distance straight from one side of the sphere to the opposite side, passing through the centre) is listed, not the circumference. To calculate the diameter, multiply the circumference by pi, or 3.14.
- For example, if your ball has a circumference of 172 centimeters, its diameter is 172 / 3.14 = 55cm.
- Your exercise ball may stretch up to 24 hours after you inflate it. Measure your fitness ball when it’s fully inflated to ensure it’s the right size for your body.
3. Convert your unit of measurement. Even in countries that use Imperial measurements, fitness ball sizes are always measured in centimetres. If you measured in inches, you’ll need to convert your measurements.
- The most common ball sizes, translated to centimeters and rounded up to the nearest inch, are: 45cm = 18 inches, 55cm = 22 inches, 65cm = 26 inches, and 76cm = 30 inches.
Method 3 Measuring With a Wall
1. The intended diameter of the ball can be found on the ball’s packaging. If you don’t have the ball’s packaging, look at the ball itself; the intended size is frequently printed near the air valve or on the ball’s “equator.”
2. Place a large box away from the wall at a distance equal to the diameter of the ball. Make sure this distance is exact by using a yardstick or tape measure. The box should be at least as tall as your fitness ball.
3. The ball must be rolled between the box and the wall. It’s underinflated if it passes through without brushing. When properly inflated, the ball’s edges should just graze the box and the wall.
If you don’t know the intended diameter of the ball but need to know its actual size, place it against a wall. Place the box so that it only touches the opposite side of the ball. Then, remove the ball and measure from the box to the wall to determine the diameter of the ball.
4. Measure your fitness ball’s height against a wall. Alternatively, you can check the height of your ball to see if it’s properly inflated. Make a mark on your wall with painter’s tape at the same height as the diameter of the fitness ball. Then, inflate your fitness ball to the same level as this mark.
Your fitness ball’s diameter is the same as its height.
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