Available in nine colors. Pump and exercise book included. Made of a durable material that won't pop or puncture. Doubles as an ergonomic seat cushion. Reasonably priced.
Some users have had trouble getting the cushion to inflate with the provided pump.
Durable rubber cushion that won't crack or puncture. Affordably priced. Pump included. Suitable for use as a seat cushion. Won't deflate under a lot of weight.
The product doesn't come with any instructions on how much air to put into the cushion.
Supports up to 300 lb. and is versatile enough for physical therapy as well as fitness routines. Water-resistant to repel sweat and water bottle spills. Antimicrobial, so ideal considering sneaker soles retain dirt. Surface is textured for traction and better grip. 2 color choices.
Occasional reports that foam completely crushes, even when below weight limit. Very small for two feet unless placed side by side.
Comes in four different densities for different degrees of difficulty. Oval-shaped design comfortably fits your foot. Made of durable PVC. Anti-slip surface. Excellent for physical therapy.
These cushions are a little on the expensive side. No air pump included.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We spend much of our lives striving for balance. As children, we learn to acquire coordination; as adults, we aim to maintain and refine it. A stability cushion is an all-age fitness and rehabilitation accessory that helps with balance training.
Whether you’re using an inflatable or foam stability cushion, you can build up your strength and balance while trying to find your center of gravity. The air and foam shift until you find the perfect balanced position. It can be a challenge, to say the least, but it’s fun and necessary for a variety of fitness, educational, and rehabilitation programs.
For children, a stability cushion is the perfect tool for sensory and focus training that doubles as a floor seat. Competitive athletes use stability cushions to challenge themselves to reach new fitness goals and become peak performers. Adults in physical therapy programs can attest to the importance of stability cushions in their routines, as they systematically progress in difficulty to restore optimal levels of strength and balance.
Get ready to align yourself with the right stability cushion for your lifestyle. We’re sharing this buying guide so you can jumpstart your balance training program.
Training: Stability cushions can be used in exercise routines, particularly those that focus on balance and core stability. They’re popular in yoga, Pilates, and individual training. Including them in a static exercise poses a new challenge and shock to your body— even simple exercises become harder and more engaging. Injured and recovering athletes often use stability cushions to rebuild muscle and strength in affected areas.
Physical therapy/rehabilitation: For those who have suffered lower extremity injuries, particularly to the foot and ankle area, a stability cushion can play a major role in rehabilitation. Not only can a stability cushion help retrain your body for balance and a return to activities of daily life, but it does so in a systematic way. Physical therapy offices have cushions with increasing levels of difficulty to help you progress.
Stability cushions are either inflatable or filled with foam. Inflatable models aren’t always filled when you buy them; you may have to pump the air yourself. Some come with their own pumps, so to save time and money, you could opt for a value pack that includes a pump. Foam stability cushions require less maintenance, since they don’t require inflation at all — though regular wipe cleaning is recommended.
Choosing between an inflatable stability cushion and a foam stability cushion boils down to personal preference. Some people favor inflatable models because their nubs are comfortable to sit on and feel somewhat like a massage. Others prefer foam models, as they tend to be slightly larger and require less maintenance.
Stability cushions of the same shape tend to be about the same size. Round cushions are generally 13 to 15 inches in diameter. Square or rectangular stability cushions have some variation, including models that are 16 x 13.5 inches and 19 x 15 inches. Stability cushions of all shapes and sizes are between one and three inches thick, with foam models slightly thicker than their inflatable counterparts.
Keep the stability cushion pump and pin together at all times. While they’re fairly inexpensive to replace, you don’t want to miss a day of working out or therapy because you can’t inflate your stability cushion.
Stability cushions can be round, square, or oval. Round stability cushions are the most common; these typically have nubs or grooves. Square or rectangular cushions are relatively smooth on both sides. Oval cushions, whether smooth or textured, are mostly found in physical therapy offices.
Inflatable stability cushions are generally made of plastic, vinyl, or rubber. The thickness of the material is important for durability and puncture resistance. The spongy materials of foam models are made of plastics and other synthetic materials, sometimes including latex.
Both inflatable and foam stability cushions incorporate traction elements. Especially since most cushions are made of smooth materials, these traction nubs, teeth, or grooves reduce cushion slippage. This is helpful, particularly when using a stability cushion while standing on hardwood or linoleum, which can be slippery. Traction elements are also beneficial when you’re sitting on a stability cushion, as the nubs help distribute your weight evenly while also limiting slippage.
Stability cushions generally cost between $15 and $75. At the low end of the scale, between $15 and $20, you’ll find mostly inflatable stability cushions that occasionally come with their own pumps.
Mid-range cushions cost between $20 and $45, which is where you’ll see some foam models as well.
At the high end, between $45 and $75, are where the majority of therapeutic stability cushions are found. These are designed largely to aid in post-operative rehabilitation exercises and are manufactured to be more durable than lower-end models. Many cushions in this range are also useful for advanced core and stability training.
After you complete physical therapy, you may wish to continue doing your rehabilitation exercises at home. Purchase a stability cushion for home use so you can keep up with your exercises and don’t regress.
Change your planking routine to challenge yourself or to make modifications due to injury. Place a stability cushion under your hand or elbow for side planks, or place it beneath your tiptoes in push-up plank position. If you’ve already completed a plank challenge, try it again with a stability cushion.
Wipe down after use. It’s important to keep your stability cushion clean, especially after it comes in contact with bare feet, shoes, or hands.
Purchase two cushions. If you want to train symmetrically and simultaneously, purchase two identical stability cushions. Put them under your elbows, knees, or feet to take your training to the next level.
Keep away from pets. Stability cushions can look a lot like chew toys to pets, so store your stability cushions out of the reach of your four-legged friends.
Check for latex. If you have a latex allergy, be mindful of the cushion’s materials. While many are latex-free, check the packaging or contact the manufacturer to be sure.
If you’d like to focus on core stability, the Gaiam Balance Disc Wobble Cushion is ideal for sitting in your home or office. This 16-inch air cushion takes the best of a balance ball and makes it small and portable enough to go anywhere. Simply place the cushion on any chair to turn it into an active seat where you can strengthen your core and improve your posture. It’s also considered a stress reliever if you’re anxious and shift in your seat often, as you can refocus your energy to center your gravity.
For a textured stability cushion that you can use barefoot, the Airex Balance Pad Stability Cushion is an excellent choice. This stability cushion features tear-resistant foam and a surface with a series of small nodules that improve grip, especially when standing barefoot. It’s also waterproof, so if you want to practice balance in the safety of a swimming pool, go ahead. Since you’ll be using this cushion outdoors, in the pool, and barefoot, you’ll be thrilled to know it’s easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth after use.
Q. Will my stability cushion come with its own pump?
A. It varies. Some cushions are packaged with a matching pump, although the pump could be cheaply made so as not to drive up the price of the cushion. If you have a collection of inflatable fitness or physical therapy equipment in addition to your stability cushion, it may be a good idea to buy a quality pump separately.
Q. Why are stability cushions so small?
A. Stability cushions are small because their function is to pose a balance challenge. It would be easy to catch yourself and move to another spot on a larger cushion, but it removes the challenge of trying not to fall. Having a larger cushion also causes a wider distribution of weight — so again, it’s less challenging than a smaller one. If you want to get a stability cushion where both your feet fit at the same time, opt for a foam model, as they tend to have a bit more space than round or oval ones.
Q. How much weight can I put on my stability cushion?
A. Because of the nature of a stability cushion, the manufacturer usually advertises the weight limit, which is typically between 200 and 500 pounds. Another thing to keep in mind is how much you inflate the cushion. If it’s overinflated, the weight threshold is lower, as the pressure buildup inside could cause it to burst.
Q. My stability cushion is a plastic/vinyl/rubber model with a series of little stubs on one side. It’s gotten really dusty, so how do clean it?
A. It’s hard to reach all the nooks and crannies of these models. Think of it as trying to floss a whole mouth of tiny teeth. Because it’s plastic/vinyl/rubber, you could hose it down with water to dislodge the dust. It should get rid of most of it. If it’s still not coming out, you might need to immerse it in water and go over it with detergent and a clean bristle brush.
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