Training with a Fitness Balance Board

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Work on your balance and a ton of muscles in the comfort of your own living room.

GREAT TRAINING FOR:

  • SUP (Stand-up Paddleboard)
  • Skateboarding
  • Surfing
  • Yoga and Dance
  • and more!

For those days when you can’t get out on the water or it’s raining and the skate park isn’t open then pull out the fitness balance board and you have world class training right in your own home.

Building Dynamic Balance

Using a balance board can be an effective way to build dynamic balance, or the ability to maintain equilibrium when moving from point A to point B. Balance board exercises engage the stabilizing muscles of your back, abdominals, hips, legs and ankles. When you begin to use the board, attend to safety first and use the easiest setting. Keep your knees slightly bent, posture erect and head up. Direct your gaze straight ahead. If you lose your balance and are about to stumble, step off the board. Try to move your body in different directions – side to side, front to back – or rotate the board in a circle and still maintain control. As you grow more advanced, practice exercises on one foot or with eyes closed.

The Consequences of Weak Stabilizers

If you have strong stabilizing muscles, your major muscles can move more effectively. Think of your body as a tree. If a big wind hits, a strong trunk stays immobile while the branches sway. If the trunk is weak, the tree will tip over and uproot itself. When you flex your elbow, your body keeps your shoulders still. Your abdominals hold your trunk stable when you lift your arms to throw a ball. If your stabilizer muscles are weak, it can negatively impact the health of your major muscles. For example, volleyball players with inadequate shoulder strength often get injured. When you use a balance board, you’re targeting these stabilizing muscles for a workout.

Proprioception Training

Balance board exercises are also a form of proprioception training, or the ability to maintain your balance by taking in external stimuli. Because the board wobbles, it challenges you to make quick adjustments or you’ll fall off the board. According to Tudor Bompa’s book “Periodization Training for Sports,” studies have revealed that proprioception training with a balance board can help build the stability of an injured joint. The theory goes that if this type of training can stabilize a previous injury, it can also prevent further injury.

Example Exercises

To perform a beginning exercise on the balance board, put your right knee in front of the balance board and place your right hand on the board. Practice deep breathing as you contract your abs and flatten your spine. Raise your left hand off the floor and slowly lower it back to the ground, according to Karen Karter’s book “Balance Training: Stability Workouts for Core Strength and a Sculpted Body.” Repeat on the other side. An advanced exercise is a cross-extension plank, which can help to achieve whole-body stability. Put your hands on the balance board and assume the plank position. Slowly raise your left leg and right arm at the same time. Squeeze your glutes and hold the pose for five to eight breathing cycles. Perform three sets, repeating the exercise on the other side.

Balance boards, also known as wobble boards, are instruments that use a flat, hard top that you stand on, and an unstable rounded bottom so that to use it, you must exercise balance and swift movements. Balance boards are used in a variety of ways, from sports training, to fitness and exercise and even rehabilitation. A balance board is fairly inexpensive and even easy to make yourself. You can reap the balance board benefits by incorporating one into your fitness or training regimen for better health.

Equilibrium Repair
Your equilibrium is your center of balance that is necessary for almost every activity that you do. Whether it is large motor skills like walking and running, or fine motor skills like threading a needle, your equilibrium affects it. At times, injuries can damage your equilibrium, making it hard for you to be coordinated. Balance boards are used in therapy to restore equilibrium as your brain works harder to keep you balanced on the board.

Coordination Training
Athletes can benefit from coordination training while on a balance board. The balance board requires all of the parts of your body to work together, or you’ll fall off or stumble. Using a balance board can help you to coordinate your body so that all of the parts are working together to keep you on the balance board, great for athletes in sports that use their whole bodies, like tennis.

Reaction Time
When on a balance board, if you slip or stumble, you’ll have to go immediately into a action to stop it. A balance board can help improve your reaction time as you learn to act quickly to correct a mistake, and to learn to not over-correct. Athletes who need to react quickly to a starting gun in a race may use balance boards to improve their reaction times.
Injury Prevention
A study that was published in a 2004 “American Journal of Sports Medicine” found that women who suffered from frequent ankle sprains while playing volleyball had a significant reduction in ankle sprains after training on a balance board. It is hypothesized that the balance board strengthens the ankles, so that they are less likely to become sprained when pressure is applied through sports or everyday activities.
Fitness and Training
You can use a balance board much like you would an exercise ball and reap the benefits of exercising and training with an added degree of difficulty. Whether you attempt to hit a baseball while balancing, do push ups on the board or catch a football while on the board, it can add a degree of difficulty to activities you are comfortable with. Balance boards can help add to your skill so that you’re trained in a more difficult activity to become better at the regular variety.

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