When you’re thinking about exercising, a balance board might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the balance board is more than just for balance training and contains a multitude of utilities that allows it to be one of the most diverse equipment sets that can be used for numerous exercises.
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What is a balance board?
A balance board is a circular board with a partially rounded base, causing the board to rock if you put too much weight on it. As a result of this, you have to constantly readjust your weight to balance the board and stand up straight.
There is an assortment of balance boards to choose from, and will ultimately come down to what works for you as an individual (we’ll get to this later!).
How to use a balance board
If you’re new to balance board training, using a balance board is relatively simple and easy to do. The challenge comes from mastering the techniques and exercises associated with balance boards. The main exercise commonly used in balance boards is balancing yourself on the actual board, but as discussed, balance boards provide more than just balance training.
What are balance boards used for?
Balance boards are used for exercising, balance training, rehabilitation and various training methods that consist of standing and weight-bearing exercises completed on an unstable surface. The main aim is to train the muscles around the ankle and improve balance, posture, increase core strength and other benefits that allow us to improve our physicality in distinctive ways.
Physical therapists often use balance boards in the form of rehabilitation for lower leg injuries such as ankle sprains. Balance boards also provide valuable training aids for preventing sports-related injuries and protecting against the risk of falling in people of all ages.
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How can balance boards help you exercise?
Using a balance board can help you exercise in a variety of ways.
While the initial thought of using balance boards are its features to help your body balance, the range of purpose for this particular exercise can vary between muscle and strength building, as well as weight loss when used correctly.
Balance board training requires a series of standing and weight-bearing exercises that are completed on an unstable surface, which aims to train the muscles around the ankle and improve balance. However, there are different exercises and positions you can use to target different muscle groups.
Exercises using your balance board
Strength building, weight loss, rehabilitation and balance training. The results you can achieve through the use of balance boards are wide in range, but how do you acquire strength or an optimised balance? At Physiosupplies, we found different exercises using a balance board that targets distinct results.
A balance board squat can help you build muscle and strength on your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and core muscles.
Start in a balanced position with your feet hip-width apart, and extend your arms in front of you for better balance. Slowly bend your knees into a squat position, and get as low as you can go while staying steady. Push through your heels, then stand back up.
Front-to-back exercises are designed to improve your balancing, by working your lower body muscles!
Begin by stepping on your balancing board with your feet hip-width apart. From this position, slowly and carefully tilt the board forward until it touches the floor. Once done, slowly tilt the board backwards until it reaches the floor as well.
This can also be done from side to side with a rocker board or wobble board.
Squat to extension
Performing a squat to extension on a balance board not only increases your balancing capabilities but also build and tone your leg muscles.
Begin by standing on the balance board with feet shoulder-width apart and your arms straight in front of you. Squat down slowly, engaging your core, then stand up again. When you reach the top position, extend your arms straight over your head as far as you can.
Push-ups with a balance board add more engagement for your exercise. The instability of the board forces your core to enhance itself, preventing you to fall to the side. This exercise targets your arms, shoulders and chest area.
Ensure that the fulcrum of your board is stabilised into one place, then put your hands flat on the balance board symmetrically. Slowly lower your upper body towards the board, then slowly raise your upper body away from it.
Planking on a board provides more benefits than traditional planking due to the instability of the board.
Start by readying yourself in a push-up position with your hands on the balance board, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be behind you and should be slightly apart from each other. Ensure your body is in a straight line and keep your arms extended, while looking down.
Types of balance boards
The difference between the various types of balance boards found online and in-stores are the movement types of each board. The other difference is the difficulty of keeping your balance, which all boards have separate difficulties for.
This is among one of the easiest and simplest balance boards to use among the rest due to its simplistic design and general materials when produced. The fulcrum is positioned at the bottom of the wooden board, which represents half a cylinder that goes along the board’s length, whereas in other cases it’s two semi-spheres located on the opposite sides of the board.
With this design, rocker boards only allow you to move the board backwards and forwards, or from side to side if you change position, limiting your movement and making balancing easier.
A wobble board design includes similar functions as a rocker board, which is a board and a fulcrum. However, for wobble boards, their bottom fulcrums take the shape of a half-sphere attached to them, making their design more flexible in terms of movement.
Due to the shape of wobble board fulcrums allow you to move the board in any direction, or 360 degrees! These are also popular for their cost-effectiveness and variety on the market.
Roller boards are also wooden boards but what makes them distinct is the plastic cylindrical roller placed under the boards. The main concept of the roller board is relatively similar to the rest, some design features can differ depending on the model and vendor.
These factors can include the roller’s diameter, tapered roller, grooves in the roller, and board shape.
In the market for balance boards or wobble boards? We have a great selection for you to choose from!
Picking the right balance board for you
The type of balance board that’s right for you will be dependent on your skill level, height, weight and the results you want to achieve.
(Photo by Shutterstock)
For a quick reference, we have created a table to outline the most optimal balance board for you, by looking at height, weight and skill level. The appropriate boards will be outlined under each row.
Under 5ft/1.2 - 1.4m
(Rocker boards - 40cm - 45cm)
Between 5ft and 6ft - 1.5 - 1.6m
(Balance boards - 45cm-50cm)
Over 6ft - 1.8m
(Balance/Wobble boards - 50cm)
Additional accessories for better balancing and body comfort
It’s no surprise that the more you practice on your balance board, the better your body will balance (and feel!). However, did you know that there are other balancing equipment available to help you exercise? Whether you want to improve your balance, engage your muscles or strengthen your core, there are vast amounts of equipment out there to help you.
Balance pods are made to help improve your dynamic balance, similar to a balance board - with an added benefit for improving body coordination and awareness.
Balance pads are available if you want to enhance the balance training that you’re trying to achieve with balance boards, as it collectively forces all of your muscles to help add support and stability to your body.
Balance cushions (or balance “discs”) are used to primarily improve proprioception after injuries or surgery involving the leg and is mainly used for injury rehabilitation.
Inflatable wedges are used for back support and are commonly popular among office workers such as receptionists, or anyone who has to sit for long periods.
Balance domes help people with their stability and coordination, developing their balance similar to a balance board’s purpose.