Skip Nav
Beginner Fitness Tips
A Trainer Gets Brutally Honest About Why You Aren't Seeing Results
Funny Fitness
10 Things to Never Say to a Healthy Eater
Beginner Fitness Tips
After Years of Struggling, Here's How I Finally Learned to Do Push-Ups

What Size Exercise Ball to Buy For Your Height

Get More Out of Your Workouts With an Exercise Ball

Physio ball, exercise ball, stability ball, fitness ball — whatever you call it, we think a ball is must have for just about everyone. A stability ball can be used in the office and the gym — with a ball, basic exercises like sit-ups or push-ups become much more challenging and effective. If you're new to this piece of fitness equipment, here are some details you should know.

Sizing and Sitting

You need to buy the correct size ball for your height. The diameter of the ball makes all the difference — size does matter. If you are close to the cut off point between sizes, try testing out both sizes and see which works best for you. Here are basic guidelines to follow:

4'11" to 5'4" height: 55 cm ball
5'4" to 5'11" height: 65 cm ball
5'11" to 6' 7" height: 75 cm ball

An exercise ball, when size properly, makes for an active chair when sitting at a desk. You should be able to sit with your knees at a right angle and your thighs parallel to the ground. Aside from keeping your core engaged, replacing your seat with a ball will help your posture. Celeb trainer David Kirsch endorses the switch! If you still need convincing, here are more reasons to swap your chair for a ball.

Strength Training

You can also use the ball, to replace a weight bench for exercises like pec flies or some triceps-toning skull crushers. Simply lie with the ball supporting your upper back and head, and work your arms while stabilizing your unsupported core with your abs, glutes, and legs. Using the ball as a bench replacement, transforms these upper-body moves into full-body exercises. Here's step-by-step instructions to work the back of your arms lying on the ball.

The exercises you can do with one of these stability balls is practically endless. We have created a full-body ball workout. So grab your stability ball and try moves like hamstring curls to tone your backside and planks on the ball, which will tone just about everything. You can also use the ball as a tool to focus on a certain muscle groups, like the abs. Watch this video of five ab exercises you can do using a ball, including tips on how to take sit-ups on the ball to the next level.

Yoga and Stretching

An exercise ball can work as a yoga prop to deepen stretches or support your body in difficult poses. A ball is the perfect prop to help you master tricky yoga poses like the advanced arm balance Scorpion. If you are working on this variation of forearm stand learn how to use the ball with this video. If stretching is more your scene, lengthen the front of your body by reclining with your back on the ball. This stretch is great after a long bike ride or a long day hunched over your computer.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios
JenniferDeMent16762 JenniferDeMent16762 3 years

calling someone an idiot is being an a-hole. Isn't it obvious that even if you're 5'4 you might be A. Heavier (and weigh the ball down more)
B. Long legged
C. Short legged
Your whole life, you haven't noticed that people's bodies differ... but you're calling someone else an idiot?... goodness...

JenniferDeMent16762 JenniferDeMent16762 3 years

having trouble finding information for sizing them to children. My daughter is three and a half, but very small. I'm looking for one for her to play around with and use as a chair. She mimics me when I exercise.

susimay susimay 3 years

Since body dimensions vary so much from person to person (leg length vs. torso length) someone who is 5'4" might find the smaller or larger size fits better. There is also the line in the post to help readers with this issue: "If you are close to the cut off point between sizes, try testing out both sizes and see which works best for you."

MoJo66 MoJo66 6 years
I also find that the burst resistant ones even though a little more pricey are best and they hold over 300 pounds worth of weight as with my better half he uses it in conjunction with weightlifting so with his 250 lbs and the additional 100-200 pounds it holds up just fine.
MoJo66 MoJo66 6 years
I am 5'6'' and got the 65cm as was suggested, however fully inflated it is way to small fortunately there was a short girl in the office that bought it off me so I didn't have to hassle witht he return of it, now have my 75cm and it is perfect as we use them as office chairs and I have found that I don't have the lower back pain that I use to sitting in a regular office chair. Plus it helps to tone leg muscles and stomache muscles as you keep your balance on the ball!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
If you're having issues with your ball being too small, check it to make sure you have it inflated all the way. If it's not inflated enough, you'll sit too low on it and it won't give you as tough of a workout. I personally LOVE my exercise ball...I use it as a chair sometimes and I do crunches on it too. I also sometimes lay on my back and hold the ball between my legs and lift it toward my's really tough!
new new 8 years
i love doing workouts with the exercise ball. it's really intense.
kia kia 8 years
I'm 5'2", my husband is 6'2"... we went with a 65 cm so we would only have one in the house.
chameleon7 chameleon7 8 years
My dad just mention to me earlier that balls are being recalled because they have been bursting. I am not sure which ones are being recalled, but anyone here that has one, you may want to look it up to make sure it is not yours. Elizabeth 1981, I use the same one, when I got it I thought my height was about 5' 3 (turns out I am taller), so I got the 55 cm ball. I ended up returning it and get the 65cm. On storing, I tend to put my ball in an area of my room where it is not going to be in the way or too much in the way and have it placed on a pilates ring - keeps it from rolling. I think I remember earlier (but after my previous post) reading somewhere that you shouldn't to follow the height for the size of ball you should use, but you should follow the way your legs are when you sit on it.
LindsayLou LindsayLou 8 years
I always thought the size of the ball had to do with the intensity of the workout! I'm 5'6" and I always choose the smallest ball because it seems more challenging than the medium sized one. Maybe it's just more challenging because I'm not using the right one for my body!
Elizabeth1981 Elizabeth1981 8 years
I agree with the previous posters. I'm 5'3", but I use a 65 cm ball because a 55 is just not quite right. My legs are totally angled down, and it feels uncomfortable to my back.
telane telane 8 years
I wish that I had room to store one of these without deflating it every time I had to put it away. I would love to exercise with one.
misskacie misskacie 8 years
Ohmygosh, this is REALLY important. I tore some ligaments in my back working with a ball that was too small for me. On that note, a whine: why is it so freakin' hard to find 75cm balls at any gym or class I go to? I don't like having to do my ab work at home!
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Good to know!
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
This is my favorite piece of workout equipment.
brownsuga928 brownsuga928 8 years
I like to do ab work on the ball!
chameleon7 chameleon7 8 years
I would suggestion for anyone that wants to get a ball to try it out first to make sure the size is right for you. When I got my ball, I went by what they say I should have for my height and it turned out to be too small. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor and not angled down.
How Do I Know If I'm Using the Right Weights?
How to Save Money on Workout Clothes
Will Lifting Heavy Weights Make Me Bulky?
How to Run Fast in a Race
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds