• +1 (424) 277-0928
  • Contact

    Let's Keep In Touch!X

    232 California St.
    El Segundo, CA 90245


    Sending your message. Please wait...

    Thanks for sending your message! We'll get back to you shortly.

    There was a problem sending your message. Please try again.

    Please complete all the fields in the form before sending.


Balance Ball for a Chair

By Holley | In Health & Lifestyle, Posture | on February 7, 2013


While I don’t spend my entire day at work in a chair, I still spend a lot of time in a chair. I found that no matter how hard I tried to sit up straight, I always ended up slouching and was downright hunched over by the end of the day. Converting my desk to a stand up desk is not an option, but I had heard and read good things about sitting on an exercise ball and decided to try it out. First I had to select a size. There are charts out there suggesting what size to get based on your height, but in general those aren’t guidelines for using the exercise ball as a chair. I had read that it was a good idea to go up 1 size from the recommended size, and my desk is fairly tall, so I went with a 75 cm diameter ball. I was definitely happy with my choice to go up a size because any shorter and I would have to reach up for my keyboard and I’d be looking up at my screen all day. Having a neutral head and being able to keep your shoulders back and down are important parts of your desk posture.

My exercise ball came with a hand pump and let me tell you, it was a workout just to pump it up, and I annoyed all of my neighbors. I recommend coming in early or staying late to avoid bothering your neighbors. The first day I used the ball for about half a day and my mid back was already pretty tired. The first week was pretty rough, by the end of the day all I wanted to do was lean back in my chair and give my back a rest. I couldn’t believe how weak my back was! My mid back (thoracic region) was definitely bothered me the most, which made since because that’s where my back always collapsed when I was slouching. What I did enjoy was that when I was spending a lot of time at my desk or found myself getting drowsy after lunch, I would just bounce a little on the ball. This severed the purpose of keeping me wide away and as a bonus would get my hips moving and work all of my stabilizing muscles. After week 2 my back would still get pretty tired around 3p, but I found that instead of slouching, I would find a reason to get up and walk around when my back got tired.

Now I’m about a month in and I can last a whole day without feeling sore and I’ve noticed a difference in my posture while standing. My thoracic region feels much more stable and I really noticed that when working on deadlifts today. I find myself bouncing and moving around more which has really helped to prevent tightness in my hips, glutes and lower back. After this month I’ve decided that the exercise ball will become my permanent chair and hopefully I will continue to see improvements in my posture.

If you’re interested in getting your own, I ordered mine from yogaaccessories.com and I purchased the anti-burst yoga balance ball with pump. It was $30 with tax and shipping included. Just make sure you’ve taken a good look at your desk and your current desk chair height to make sure that you’re ordering the right ball. Also consider the fact that when you sit on the ball it will collapse a little, so you may not end up sitting as high as you think you will.

What methods have you tried to make your desk more posture friendly? Anything that you’ve kept up with or given up? Please share your thoughts to comments.

WOD 02.07.2013

Skills Day
-Snatch Balance
-Handstand Pushup

8 Comments to "Balance Ball for a Chair"

  • Mathew says:

    February 7, 2013 at 6:44 AM -

    Funny you’d mention about this, this week. I just ‘up’graded to a standing desk and love it. I find that when I have to leave my desk I don’t have to fight the urge or figuring out how to postpone it because I’m sitting comfortably. I also move around more, and don’t have to sit in the cross legged positions to alleviate pain from the back problems I have.

    I look straight at the screen and my shoulders are in a relaxed position now too.

    Next Step: Treadmill walking desk. :)

  • Holley says:

    February 7, 2013 at 7:56 AM -

    @ Mathew – That’s great that you’re able to have a stand up desk, it’s ideal for those of us with desk jobs and there are a lot of studies saying it makes people more productive. I have read about CEOs using mini-treadmills in their office and have found that people are more focused and productive when they walk and talk. I will be truly impressed if you’re able to pull that one off!

  • Kevin E says:

    February 7, 2013 at 8:49 AM -

    The last job I had, I ended up getting one of these to sit on. Co-workers ribbing aside, I really liked it. I have an extra ball. Can’t remember what size it is, but I think it’s in the 70-75 cm range. If anyone wants it to give it a shot, drop me a message, email or holler at me in class and you’re welcome to it. It’s a nice alternative to a chair.

  • Michael H says:

    February 7, 2013 at 11:37 AM -

    Our office swears by the balance ball, half of our company uses them now. I used it but found it got dirty a lot because it rolled all over the place. I ended up getting a Swopper chair and has been great.

  • Sean says:

    February 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM -

    We just installed the ninja standing desk in our office and it’s working out really well so far.

  • Mike S. says:

    February 7, 2013 at 1:22 PM -

    Funny this post came up. Just today I was talking to a co-worker who has a specialized balance ball chair which is basically a balance ball with a hard plastic frame and backing:

    While these things look like a great option, I don’t see them doing anything to stretch the hips. Are there any seating options to help with hip flexibility/mobility? As much as I’d love to get the ninja desk it’s not an option for me.

    1. Marcus says:

      February 7, 2013 at 4:38 PM -

      @Mike S. — “seating options to help with hip mobility” is an oxymoron. The act of prolonged sitting only serves to shorten the hip flexors and reduce your flexibility. Holley’s post is an option that can encourage thoracic engagement and activate the trunk stabilizers. This is great to avoid slumping at your desk, but make no mistake — your hips will still be locked in a flexed position the entire time. Take a look at my post “Death by Chair” for other suggestions to mitigate the damage.

  • Mike S. says:

    February 8, 2013 at 9:04 AM -

    Thanks for the link Marcus, great post. Fortunately my dedication to proper hydration forces me to get up and take a short walk every 30 minutes.

Copyright @ Intrepid Athletics 2009-2016. All rights reserved.