What is an Exercise Ball Chair?

Lainie Petersen

An exercise ball chair is composed of a large exercise ball, also known as a balance ball or stability ball, and a chair frame. The frame holds the ball in place and typically includes a back rest for the comfort of its user. Many people opt for an exercise ball chair in order to reap the health and fitness benefits of sitting on an exercise ball while enjoying the stability of a chair. According to exercise ball advocates, sitting on a ball can work the core abdominal muscles and reduce back pain. An exercise ball chair holds the ball in place, which prevents the ball from escaping and provides stability for users.

Exercise balls work the core abdominal muscles.
Exercise balls work the core abdominal muscles.

Exercise balls are large, inflatable balls made of thick PVC material, come in several sizes, and are used in a variety of exercises. Some are large and strong enough to support a normal-sized adult, who can lie or sit on them while exercising. By supporting oneself on an exercise ball, one works several muscle groups while trying to remain stable. It should be noted, however, that some doctors and ergonomics experts are suspicious of the benefits of sitting on an exercise ball for long periods of time. Individuals with back and joint problems should consult with their doctor or physical therapist about whether using an exercise ball chair is right for them.

Exercise balls are large, inflatable balls made of thick PVC material.
Exercise balls are large, inflatable balls made of thick PVC material.

In addition to providing stability, an exercise ball chair typically looks much more professional than sitting on a stand-alone exercise ball. As such, offices may be more likely to permit workers to use such a chair in the office. Exercise ball chairs are available in several styles, some with adjustable back rests and caster wheels. When selecting an exercise chair, buyers should pay special attention to its height. If an exercise ball chair seats its user too close to the ground, it may not be suitable for use with a desk or table.

Buyers should also make sure that the exercise ball itself is able to support the weight of those who will be sitting on it. While there are many exercise balls that can support up to 600 pounds, it is important to make sure that the ball that is included with a particular exercise ball chair is strong enough to meet the user's needs. Exercise ball retailers frequently sell replacement parts, such as extra ball plugs, pumps, and even spare exercise balls, in case the original is damaged. Having replacement parts on hand can be extremely useful if the exercise ball chair is the primary or only chair one uses at home or at work.

An office may allow someone to sit on an exercise ball while they work.
An office may allow someone to sit on an exercise ball while they work.

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Discussion Comments


When I first began using an exercise ball for workouts, I was concerned that I might injure myself because when you are on top of one of them it can be a little unpredictable. I'm guessing here, but seems to me you would need to use the exercise ball chair for shorter periods in the beginning until you were able to attain a level of balance, and until your muscles had a chance to adjust to the new routine.

Still, I can't imagine they would be very comfortable. I love them for workouts (the balls that is), but I would not want one of them as part of a chair that I had to sit on all day at work.


I think anyone thinking of using an exercise ball chair should do more research. This article says that some people think the chairs can cause more harm than good. If you are having back problems then you might want to get rid of those old swivel chairs that so many offices have, assuming you have one.

When you sit behind a desk for five plus hours a day you need to be sure you have a comfortable chair that supports good posture. It does not have to be anything special like an exercise ball chair. Many offices have already switched to ergonomic furniture.


My lower back has been giving me problems lately. Sometimes the muscles there are stiff and at other times I have pain when I bend over or when I extend my arms. I have been told that strengthening my stomach muscle will take some of the pressure off of my back, and maybe clear up the problems I have been experiencing.

Has anyone out there tried using an exercise ball chair for this reason, and did it help or not?

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