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When you attend an exercise class at a gym that’s well-stocked with equipment, it can feel like there are endless possibilities to switch up your sets. At home with a mat and a couple of dumbbells, maybe not so much. A few simple exercise balls can make working out in your living room or yard a lot more fun, whether you prefer yoga, high-intensity interval training, cross-training, or are rebuilding your strength in physical therapy. Here are our favorites.
For less than the price of a drop-in pilates class, grab a small phthalate-free ball to help you continue your practice at home. It’s 9 inches in diameter, weighs just a few ounces and can assist you with core strength and stability. You’ll need to inflate it yourself by blowing into a tube and then replacing the plug, which is designed to ensure the ball can withstand high pressure without bursting. The ball is available in three bright colors, can be washed with soap and water, and comes with a few tips to use it in exercises including wall squats and pushups.
Slam balls have minimal bounce, which means you can smack them down as hard as possible without sending them back into your face. This also means you have to work hard to move them around. This textured-surface ball is available in weights from 10 to 50 pounds to grow with you as you develop your strength slamming or throwing the ball as part of a hardcore fitness routine. The rubber surface is made to be grippy even if your hands are sweaty, and while it comes inflated, it also has an air valve you can use with a pump to adjust firmness.
If you are gradually working your way through physical therapy or starting a strength training routine to complement your cardio, these soft weighted balls are a unique alternative to dumbbells. People who find grasping things a challenge may find these easier to grip, and they can be used across a variety of movement including plyometrics and isometrics. You can lift as little as 1.1 pounds and as much as 6.6 pounds in this colorful set of six, yet each ball is exactly the same 4.5 inches in diameter.
If you’re going to rest your back on an exercise ball when you’re in bridge pose or lean on it to do burpees, you want something durable. This strong ball is available in a range of sizes and colors and can withstand up to 2,200 pounds of pressure. Sit on it in your home office to work on your core and balance while typing away, or deploy it as a tool that takes simple exercises like planks to a whole new level. It also comes with a pump for convenient inflation.