Fitness balls, also known as Swiss Balls, are large, heavy-duty inflatable balls, between 18 to 30 inches in diameter. They’re popular in Pilates classes as they’re fun to work out on, and they challenge your core in a different way to other Pilates props.
As well as core strengthening, Fitness Balls are also used in Pilates as stretching aids. They can also help you maintain good posture during the exercises.
Things to consider before buying one:
Swiss Balls come in different sizes. The aim is to have your legs at a 90-degree angle.
All four of the balls recommended below are from Core Balance. I have used their products and can vouch for the quality. Their prices are also very competitive.
As a very rough guide:
If you’re under 5′, or are buying for a child, choose a small ball (diameter of 55cm).
If you’re 5’1” – 5’8”, choose a small ball (diameter of 65cm).
If you’re 5’9” – 6’2” grab a large ball (diameter of 75cm).
Opt for a large ball if you are 6’3” – 6’7” (diameter of 85cm).
Core Balance sell all four sizes. Grab one here.
Choose a ball made of anti-burst material. This will ensure that if your ball is punctured it will deflate slowly, rather than popping like a balloon.
Swiss Balls come in a variety of textures. Some are smooth and some are ribbed. It’s a matter of personal taste so test out a few to see which you prefer. Bear in mind, a smooth Swiss Ball combined with sweaty hands is a recipe for disaster. If you suffer from sweaty hands, go for a textured Ball.