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Stability balls: A first responder’s top picks

From durability to design, learn which stability balls are the best fit for our dynamic needs

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Editor’s note: Before beginning any new exercise program, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it is appropriate for your individual health needs and conditions. If you are a first responder or have any pre-existing medical concerns, seeking advice from a qualified medical practitioner is particularly important to prevent any health risks or injuries.

Amongst the barbells, free weights, cable machines and cardio equipment, the stability ball lays covert in the corner of a gym, with its potential uses often unrecognized.

The stability ball is a staple for core stability (hence the name) balance, posture and body awareness. For those of us in public safety, lower lumbar and back issues are crippling our members – take it from someone who’s experienced it first-hand!

Stability balls can go a long way toward practicing proper body posture and strengthening the core muscles, which, when activated, can alleviate some stress off of the lower back.

Stability balls for different uses

Here are my top picks for stability balls.

URBNFit stability ball

My first choice is the URBNFit stability ball, available in multiple sizes and coming in under $30, it’s a great first choice for beginners learning to incorporate stability balls into their workout. This ball is rated for up to 600 pounds and features an anti-slip glaze to provide extra stability while using it. It is easy to install (quick dual action ball pump) and super easy to use!

Trideer Pregnancy ball

Next, is the Trideer Pregnancy ball. Although designed with pregnancy in mind and added grip to ensure maximum stability, this ball is a great choice for anyone with a history of injuries and pain in their lower back (if authorized by a physician to exercise) due to the fact that it provides extra support and stability. This ball is designed to provide relief for back, pelvic and ligament pain, and can be a great choice for many.

Theraband stability ball

Sizing is important with stability balls. That’s why, for taller individuals, the Theraband stability ball is a great choice. Made specifically for individuals up to 6’8” (depending on the size you select), this ball has the same slow deflate technology and comes fully equipped with 24 exercises to perform with it.

Zeatley mini stability ball

While there are large options, there are also small choices. The Zeatley 9-inch mini stability ball often used in Pilates is still a great choice for first responders, as you can perform many core strengthening exercises with this ball. If you go with this option, I suggest getting at least two, so you can do dual balancing exercises, such as planks on the balls. There are really endless exercises you can do with these, most of which will focus on your abdominal muscles.

Lifepro half trainer ball

Finally, though you can get a whole ball, you can also get a half ball. Lifepro makes an excellent half trainer ball that is easily portable with two handles. Though less focused on posture, these half balls have many of the same benefits as a regular stability ball, making them a great platform for core strengthening and plyometric exercises. For advanced users, these could also be used in conjunction with free weights to perform some really intense core-building exercises.

Budget-friendly stability balls

As you can see, there are many great options for stability balls and you can expect to pay anywhere from $25-$90 on a decent one that will get the job done. You don’t have to break the bank to get a great stability that will serve you well. Always make sure you are using them correctly and if you are unsure, seek help from a professional.

Ahmad Taha is a Nationally Registered Paramedic and Certified Athletic Trainer. He started his career at Boston EMS in 2016, transitioning to the Sharon Fire Department in 2021. At both agencies, Ahmad has been heavily involved in creating and maintaining a Health and Wellness program that is second to none and inclusive to all. His experience in training bodybuilding and weight loss clients has translated smoothly to first responders, helping them implement proper body mechanics and strategies for injury prevention and longevity in their careers.