How to Air up an Exercise Ball

Stability balls make an excellent addition to any home gym. You can use a stability ball as a makeshift weight bench, for doing body weight exercises, or even as a substitute office chair. You'll get the best results if you use a stability ball that's the right size for your body--but even that only works if the ball is properly inflated.


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    Note the ball's intended final diameter. This is usually listed prominently on the ball's packaging, and may be printed on the ball itself. Sizes of 55 centimeter (21.7 in) and 65 centimeter (25.6 in) are the most common. (Exercise ball sizes are always measured in centimeters.)
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    Place a large box the same distance away from a bare wall as the ball's intended diameter.
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    Lay the deflated exercise ball out flat between the box and the wall, and locate the obvious air valve. You'll also need a ball pump or a bicycle pump with a cone adapter (in a very few cases, your ball will have a needle valve), and a stopper for the ball's air valve.
    • If you're just re-inflating a partially inflated ball, you'll need a spoon or dull knife to pry the valve stopper out. Insert the edge of the spoon or the flat edge of the knife underneath the valve and gently pry it up out of the ball, just before you insert the pump.
    • Some exercise balls come with a thin plastic strap; this is used as a visual aid for when the ball has reached the appropriate size. Place the grommet at each end of the strap over the cone adapter on your air pump, then let the strap hang loosely around the deflated ball.
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    Insert the pump into the ball's air valve and work the pump, airing up the ball.
    • When the strap around the ball comes taut, or the ball brushes against both the wall and the box you positioned near it, you know it's properly inflated.
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    Remove the pump from the ball's valve and quickly insert the valve stopper.
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  • Once the ball is inflated, double-check that it's the right size for you by sitting down on it and checking your body position in a mirror. Both knees and hips should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • If you're not sure whether your stability ball needs inflating, sit down on it. According to the American Council on Exercise, a properly inflated stability ball should compress about six inches beneath you. If it compresses more, it needs more air.
  • You can partially deflate a too-large ball to make it fit you, but the result would be a soft, squishy ball that makes some balancing exercises easier than they should be.


  • Do not fill up ball past its maximum diameter, it will either pop or not be soft enough to exercise with.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Large box
  • Exercise ball
  • Ball pump or bicycle pump
  • Cone adapter or needle adapter
  • Valve stopper
  • Spoon or dull knife

Article Info

Categories: Sports and Fitness