When it comes to balance ball chairs, Gaiam is the No. 1 company that makes these stability seats with a yoga ball. Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair is the golden standard of all stability chairs or stools.
It’s also usually the first balance chair most people get. In this review of Gaiam ball chair, we’ll see why this is but for a quick summary here are few reasons:
- Classic chair height – for ideal for people between 5-feet and 5-feet 11-inches.
- Standard 300-pound capacity.
- Basic 4-wheel design, with 2 wheels being lockable.
As you see, this is the classic Gaiam balance ball chair. All other stability chairs took this basic design and perfected it.
Perfected it? Yeah, Gaiam’s chair is standard but it’s not cutting-edge technology anymore. Newer balance ball chair models are more reliable and actually look really good, even in the office.
Why We Use Balance Ball Chairs Anyway?
Sitting is as basic activity in modern times as sleeping.
We sleep 8 hours, right? If we’re lucky.
What most of us do in the office for at least 8 hours a day is sit at the desk. Do stuff on the computer. Send emails, make telephone calls, we even stretch from now and then at the table. Do that for 10 or more years, and you’ll feel the consequences. Well, not with one of Gaiam classic ball chairs, of course.
Have you ever experienced back pain or shoulder pain just because of sitting? Of course you have. It is inevitable when we sit still for so long and this is exactly where Gaiam balance ball chair comes in play.
There is a difference between just sitting and sitting actively. The stability chairs are the ones that transform sitting into an activity.
Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair Review
We always base out stability chair reviews on few factors such as how good the chair is for your posture and so on. It is important to understand the intensity parameter; we’ll go a bit into that later on but just, for now, keep in mind that lower intensity might be better for 1st-time users.
You don’t want to upgrade from doing anything with your core muscles during sitting to very intensive active sitting.
Relax a bit with Gaiam classic chair and go for middle intensity. Here is a quick Gaiam classic balance ball chair review (be sure to read in detail about the pros and cons to pick the balance ball chair that best suits you):
- 'Golden Standard' balance ball chair
- Strengthens core and back muscles
- Improves posture in as little as a week
- Protects against back, neck and shoulder pain
- Perfect for a 1st-time balance ball user
- Basic design (not for advanced users)
- Not for elderly (they should start with lower intensity chair)
- Some reviews say the ball is not properly inflated when you buy it
Features of Original Gaiam’s Balance Ball Chair
Here are some numbers for the original Gaiam’s. I am aware that these numbers don’t mean much to a first time user but I’ll try my best to explain them in a sentence or two.
- Ball size: 52 cm (this is a regular yoga ball size you will find in majority of exercise chairs, with an exception of children’s balance ball chairs)
- For 5’0″ to 5’11” height (this is from 150 cm to 180 cm to Europeans. If you fit this range, the balance ball will fit your posture perfectly – I will recommend a balance ball chair for taller people as well, asap)
- Back support bar – adjustable (back support is important in first balance ball chair. The best thing about it being adjustable? You can adjust the intensity by adjusting the back support bar and it is really simple)
- 300 lbs weight capacity (this is about 140 kg for Europeans. Yoga balls have a limit of how much weight they can handle without much stress. 300 lbs is a standard weight capacity and most people are way under that limit)
- Builds healthy back and gets you on your feet again (I always tell that the most important thing about balance balls is how they make you feel. Yes, they do correct your spine and posture, but the effect of having that in place is a new life without the pain every step of the way. Kind of a quick fix for life)
- BONUS air pump (yoga balls have to be refilled from time to time. This is why I really like the Amazon offer where they give you an air pump for the ball for free – you can check out what else they offer for original Gaiam’s balance ball chair here)
- Created by health and fitness experts (This just tells you that original Gaiam’s can be used for spine-correcting and pain elevation as well as for building that core muscles that look great on the beach. Two birds with one stone thing)
Pros Of Gaiam Stability Chairs
There are quite a lot of good things to say about the classic Gaiam’s yoga ball chair.
Moving from office chair to the Gaiam balance ball chair, or even from yoga ball, is a natural choice. Why?
Well, first off, nobody can say anything bad about this chair (except for the lower-quality materials; we’ll talk about the problems with Gaiam’s classic chair in the cons section of the review).
Best Selling Balance Ball Chair (That Alone Says Something)
The fact that it is the most reviewed balance ball chair and the best selling seat by Gaiam for a better posture is helping out a lot. But the main reason, in my opinion, is that Gaiam has created a chair that appeals to pretty much everybody.
Stability Ball Chair For 1st Timers
Of course, in time you will start to get preferences for a bigger or smaller backside, or want to increase the intensity the chair exerts on your core a bit, but for a first-timer, this is a chair that will make you fall in love with balance ball chairs.
Out of all the balance chairs, original Gaiam is a favorite for one reason – it is easy to handle and has an immediate effect on the spine.
Usually when you buy your first balance ball chair, you don’t want an average office chair which does more damage to the spine than doing physical labor (in the long run) and you don’t want a yoga ball because god knows nobody can sit on that for 8 hours straight.
Here is a 1st-time buyer of stability chair review from Amazon:
Being easy to handle and comfortable is the most important when buying your first Gaiam balance ball chair. Of course, eventually you’ll see the need to increase the intensity the exercise ball chair gives you or even remove the support bar (quick note: Original Gaiam balance chair has a removable support bar which is a big advantage when you want to train your back and spine harder).
Intensity Of Original Gaiam’s Exercise Ball Chair
What matters most when thinking about what balance ball chair to buy is intensity. What do I mean by that?
These yoga ball chairs were designed specifically to elevate back pain and create an upstanding posture. However, if you use a balance ball chair that applies less pressure than necessary, the ligaments in your lower spine will not align perfectly and the back pain will not be as efficiently overcomes as with a perfect intensity chair.
On the other hand, if you choose a chair for balance and stability that is too intensive, your back pain will go away but just for as long as you can sit on that chair and tighten the muscles.
Usually people can’t do more than 2h with a yoga ball (correct posture, not cheating by repositioning and such) and if you can’t sit on a chair for 8h office shift, then what’s the point?
To better illustrate what I mean by intensity, I’ve created this intensity chart you see on your right. The most intensive stand-alone yoga ball is at +1 while the least intensive office chair is at -1.
At the right of the chart, you see why Gaiam’s classic (or original) balance ball chair is everybody’s first choice when buying a balance ball chair.
It is right there at the center – not too intensive, not too soft on your backbone. For an active person working in an office, Gaiam seat is a perfect chair to start with.
This level of intensity is most effective for most people.
Cons Of Balance Ball Chair (Gaiam)
Even with a very good stability chair like Gaiam’s classic, it’s not all peaches and cream.
When doing a Gaiam ball chair review, it’s very important to look at the negative aspects as well.
Here is one: this kind of yoga ball chair can be used by most people, but not by all. Elderly people will have a problem because it’s too intensive and very athletic people (sports professionals) because they’ll find it not intensive at all:
Balance Ball Chair For Elderly People
If you are an elderly person, the intensity of original Gaiam’s balance ball may be too much for your spine to handle. With years, our spines become more fragile and we don’t want to put much intensity on it at first.
However, there are some exercises an elderly person can do. You can check out chair exercises for elderly people, but yoga balls specially designed for older people who can do these sort of exercises. It’s called a peanut ball and here is how it looks like:
Nonetheless, if you feel active and young enough, original Gaiam’s chair can be a right choice for you. You just have to sit on it once to find out.
Balance Ball Chair (Gaiam) For Very Active People
I personally run a 10k every other day and consider myself pretty active. I have to admit that the original Gaiam’s yoga ball chair was a perfect solution for me at first. I can’t go over the memory of sitting on it the first time. It’s like waking up from a bad dream. Ligaments just realign naturally and you don’t want to move at all.
However, if you are a very active person, you might find the original Gaiam’s not intensive enough. Your core will be tightened but if you already have an iron core tightening will not give you additional results – as far as six-pack is concerned.
A very intensive chair that was specifically designed to not only strengthen the core (because every balance ball chair does that) but to really bring out the core muscles is not Gaiam classic but their backless chair. Doing sit-ups few times a week is nothing in comparison with 8h sitting on an intensive balance ball chair. Your abs will be aching after first few days, I can guarantee that!
It Can Break Down – Just The Nature Of A Chair
Yes, even balance ball chair can break down. Gaiam’s ball chair is made out of tough plastic and has very little screws but sometimes they can break. Here is a negative review of the chair:
A screw of a balance ball chair breaking in half is a bother, even though you can buy another one for $2.
Some other balance ball chairs are made out of tougher materials, but they can be more expensive because of it.
Gaiam Balance Ball Chair Price
Prices of these chairs are very affordable, given that you sit on them for 8 hours a day.
You probably sleep for 8 hours a day and you know how much a bed and linen can cost. 1000s of dollars.
For a Gaiam’s ball chair you shouldn’t spend more than $100. In fact, if you’re lucky, you’ll see some offers for as low as $80. The cost of not buying a balance ball chair on your spine might be much higher. Imagine the painkiller costs alone.
Here is a price comparison of 4 different balance ball chairs:
Conclusion On Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
If you’re serious about fixing problems with your spine and starting with active sitting, you should start with the classic.
Yes, a screw might break half a year from now, but you’ll already see the benefits to your posture before that.
Gaiam classic should be the beginners 1st buy. Period.
After that you can test out some more modern stability chairs but, as always, conquer the basics first.