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What is the Best Size Exercise Ball for Sitting at a Desk?

What is the Best Size Exercise Ball for Sitting at a Desk?

If you don’t want to end your workday with a sore neck, shoulders, or back, then it is important to get the best size exercise ball for sitting at your desk.

The correct size of an exercise ball for your desk depends on two things: your height and the height of your current chair.

Online, you may find that most people follow a generic rule. In general, people will often buy an exercise ball that sits four inches (10 cm) taller than the office chair they are replacing it with. Although this general rule is simple, it may not be the best ergonomic practice to use based on your body’s position to the computer screen.

How Do You Measure an Exercise Ball for Your Desk?

Exercise Ball Chair, Yoga Ball Chair With Resistance Bands

You can measure an exercise ball for your desk in a few ways. Below we give you the steps to one of the ways to get an accurate measurement.

Step 1 – Grab a tape measure. A pencil, eraser, and piece of paper are optional.

Step 2 – Sit down on your current office chair. If you don’t have an office chair, then use any chair that keeps your upper thigh parallel to the floor.

And if none of your chairs work, then lean against a wall and do a wall squat. Depending on your leg strength, you may not hold this position for long, so you will want to make this quick. In the wall squat position with your legs parallel to the floor, make a small pencil mark on the wall just below your bottom.

wall squat

Step 3 – Measure the distance from the floor to the top of the chair seat.

If you used the wall squat method, then measure from the floor to the pencil mark on the wall.

Step 4 – Add four inches or 10 centimeters to that number, with the number in mind.

This new number will be the best size of an exercise ball for sitting at your desk.

For example, a 5’7” person sits down on an exercise ball with their legs parallel to the floor. They measure from the floor to the top of their seat. The measurement they get is 19 inches (50 cm). From there, they add five inches (10 cm) and get a new number of 24 inches (60 cm).

Exercise balls are measured in centimeters. So this 5’7” person is in between exercise ball sizes 55 cm and 65 cm. They will need to go with the larger-sized exercise ball and fill it with less air. The 5’7” person will buy the 65 cm diameter exercise ball.

What is the Best Exercise Ball Size for Sitting at Your Desk?

URBNFIT Exercise Ball - Yoga Ball in Multiple Sizes

The general rule of buying an exercise ball that sits four centimeters taller than the current office chair shouldn’t be thrown out the window. It still provides a good measurement to follow. However, there are a few other factors also to consider.

When you sit on an exercise ball it decompresses a few centimeters, which is why the four-centimeter rule is still a beneficial guiding principle to keep in mind.

To find the correct exercise ball size, you should be asking these two questions:

  • How tall are you?
  • How tall is your current chair?

The best exercise ball size for sitting at your desk should keep your thighs parallel to the ground with your feet resting flat on the ground in front of you. Your shoulders should be relaxed with your hands lower than your elbows.

If you have worked in an office, you are probably familiar with those monthly or annual training on proper ergonomics. Visualize proper ergonomic seating as if you were sitting on a chair at your desk. That is the proper body position to aim for.

We have included an exercise ball chart below to help you choose the proper exercise ball size according to your height.

Exercise Ball Diameter Your Height
85 cm 6’6″ and taller
75 cm 6’– 6’5″
65 cm 5’5″– 6′
55 cm 5’– 5’5″
45 cm 5′ and shorter

For example, if you are 5’7”, then a 65 cm exercise ball will be the best exercise ball height for your desk. The correct exercise ball size will keep your upper thighs parallel to the floor.

How Much Should You Inflate Your Exercise Ball?

Over Inflation Ball

An exercise ball should be inflated to a point that when you sit on it, it decompresses a few inches. You don’t want to overfill your exercise ball and make it feel as hard as a rock.

You should fill the exercise ball up to 80 percent capacity, on your initial fill. Below is a chart to give you an idea of how tall your exercise ball will sit during the initial air fill stage.

Exercise Ball Diameter Recommended Initial Fill
85 cm 68 cm (27 in)
75 cm 60 cm (24 in)
65 cm 52 cm (21 in)
55 cm 44 cm (18 in)

After 24 hours pass, you will then fill your exercise ball to a fuller capacity, leaving a bit of wiggle room. When we say wiggle room, we mean when you place your hand on the ball, it decompresses by a few inches.

Watch this YouTube Video to get a visual idea of how much air you can fill your exercise ball.

How to Properly Inflate Your Exercise Ball


How to Sit on an Exercise Ball at Your Desk?

Similarly, you should sit on an exercise ball as you would a desk chair. Keep your hips, legs, and knees in alignment by placing both of your legs in front of you with your feet flat on the floor.

Try to avoid crossing your legs or scouting your legs out to the sides, as this will put your spine out of alignment, which can cause back and hip pain.

Sit nice and tall on the ball to engage the correct muscles in your core. Your shoulders should feel relaxed and your arms in front of you.

How Long Should I Sit on an Exercise Ball at Work?

Trideer Extra Thick Yoga Ball Exercise Ball

The average length of sitting on an exercise ball at work changes from person to person. Time on an exercise ball depends on the strength in your core and your comfort level.

People sit on their exercise balls for 20 minutes to two hours. You should not exceed a two-hour time frame.

Shorter time frames are more realistic and better for your body because your core muscles can only stay engaged for so long. Once your core muscles relax, your spine becomes misaligned and can cause damage to your back.

Can I Lose Weight Sitting on an Exercise Ball?

No, you cannot lose weight sitting on an exercise ball. Although sitting on an exercise ball engages and strengthens core muscles compared to relaxing back in an office chair, it will not burn calories.

If you were to bounce on an exercise ball for an hour straight, you could burn up to 50 calories. Even this amount may not be substantial enough to help you lose weight.


The best size exercise ball for sitting at a desk depends on your height and the height of your current office chair. You can easily find the right-sized exercise ball to go with your desk from the four steps we’ve given you above.

With our helpful measurement charts, you are on the right path to finding the best exercise ball size that fits you and your desk!