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Exercise Balls

Saturday, 1 December 2007 | Tags: ,

Exercise balls are the best way to increase your core strength and overall stability. Your abs and back especially must do all the work to keep you stable. Our question is: does one brand prevail?

The Basics

  • Exercise balls come different sizes to suit your height:

    • 55 cm (4’11” – 5’4”)

    • 65 cm (5’5” – 5’11”)

    • 75 cm (6’0” – 6’7”)

  • To find the right height, sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor, and look for the size that allows your knees to bend at a 90-degree angle.

  • Balls are made from an elastic rubber material. The thicker the material, the more durable and expensive the exercise ball.

Other Considerations

  • Some balls have ridges that claim to provide extra grip.

  • Exercise balls are widely available at department stores, sporting good stores and big-box retailers.

TEST CRITERIA

Some professional football players helped us test these different exercise balls:

  • Zensation (holds up to 265 lbs): $20
  • FitBall (holds up to 600 lbs): $50
  • DuraBall Pro (holds up to 1100 lbs): $75

Our tests and results include:

Pressure Test

We overfilled each ball and recorded how many minutes of constant air it took before each ball burst:

  • DuraBall Pro: 20 minutes
  • Zensation: 26 minutes
  • FitBall: 29 minutes

At first we were surprised that the expensive DuraBall ruptured first, until we discovered it was made from the thickest rubber, which made it stiffer and more able to withstand the extra pressure without expanding as much as the other two balls. This makes the DuraBall Pro the most puncture resistant, according to our expert.

Exercise Test

  • Our professional athletes selected the DuraBall Pro as their top pick. Its thicker construction made for a firmer base on which to exercise.

  • For the casual fitness go-getters, the Zensation was a great workout tool.

OUR TOP PICK

Using a substantially-constructed ball like the DuraBall Pro is important if it’ll be undergoing rigorous use at a gym or other training facility. For personal, casual use at home, a more economic ball like the Zensation works well.

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