Seated computer work results in prolonged static loading, which has been associated with the development of musculoskeletal disorders. A popular alternative to sitting on an office chair while performing computer work is to sit on an exercise ball. Sitting on an exercise ball might affect static and dynamic aspects of working posture. We monitored posture, muscle activation and spinal shrinkage in 10 females performing a 1-h typing task, while sitting on an office chair with armrests and while sitting on an exercise ball. Sitting on an exercise ball resulted in 33% more trunk motion and in 66% more variation in lumbar EMG. Both of these findings can be considered to be an advantage for the exercise ball. However, the fifth percentile and average lumbar EMG were also higher when sitting on an exercise ball, with 38% and 78%, respectively. In addition, more spinal shrinkage occurred when sitting on an exercise ball than when sitting on an office chair. Arm flexion was reduced, but trapezius activation was unaffected when sitting on an exercise ball. It is concluded that the advantages with respect to physical loading of sitting on an exercise ball may not outweigh the disadvantages. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.