If you belong to a gym, you may have seen this weird UFO-looking piece of equipment lying around. It's known as a balance board. When used for strength training exercises, it's a great tool for runners, skiers, tennis players, and yogis because it helps improve coordination and balancing abilities. It can also help target weak areas such as wrists and ankles that are often overlooked. There's no way around it — a balance board will work your core as well.
Also called wobble boards, they can be circular in shape, like the one shown, or rectangular. Since the platform is a lot larger than the base that touches the ground, once you place any body part on the board, the rest of your body is forced to engage in order to hold yourself up. That means you end up using multiple muscle groups at once.
To learn some basic exercises you can do that utilize the balance board keep reading.
- At first, practice standing on the board with both legs. See if you can keep the edges of the board from touching the ground for one minute. Then try doing it for longer. If it's too hard, stand next to a wall and touch it every time you need a little help.
- Stand on the board with both feet and practice rocking forward and backward. The whole time you want to maintain your balance without falling off. This is excellent for strengthening your calves, shins, and the muscles in your feet and ankles.
- Once you've mastered that, try moving the board in a circle motion.
- Now try standing on one leg, with one knee lifted, and repeat all the above exercises, first on the right foot, and then on the left.
- You can also use the board to make basic exercises more challenging. Try lunges, side plank, squats, elevated push-ups, and you can even try standing on the board and doing basic upper body exercises with dumbbells.
If you're gym doesn't have one, or you want one for your home gym, you can buy a balance board at most fitness stores or order one online ($19).