Surfing in the living room or garden? Yes, this is possible with a so-called balance board. Maybe you’ve seen a video on social media where someone puts a board on a wobbly roller and tries to keep their balance. We took a closer look at the trend and wanted to know if the balance board is only suitable as a dry exercise for surfing or skating, or if training with the board will bring even more. For whom is a balance board suitable and how difficult is it for a beginner to stand on the board? We have faced the shaky matter and tell you what a balance board really brings.
WHAT IS A BALANCE BOARD?
The balance board is a wooden board on a wobbly surface. Both the “board” and the texture and shape of the balance surface can vary greatly.
While round “boards” with a spherical balance surface are usually used for fitness and rehab purposes, we want to dedicate this article to balance boards that resemble a skateboard or surfboard. These boards can be placed on rollers of different sizes made of hard rubber or cork and sometimes have small stoppers on the bottom left and right. Especially for beginners, these stoppers are very helpful and protect against accidents, because the role can not slip away. Depending on the board, the stoppers can also be removed or placed even more centrally to make balancing even easier at the beginning.
The difficulty of the workout depends on both the placement of the stoppers and the size of the roller. The larger the roller, the more challenging it is to balance.
Often, a mat is also included in the delivery package so that the floor cannot be damaged during indoor training. Depending on the material, balance boards cost between €70 and €200. Not a cheap purchase, but worth the investment for achieving certain training goals.
WAS BRINGT DAS TRAINING MIT DEM BALANCE BOARD?
Logically, a balance board primarily improves your balance. However, it promises even more: with the right exercises, you’ll take your balance vision, coordination and reaction skills, motor skills, and micro-musculature to the next level.
But which muscle groups are actually trained when balancing? The back, trunk, foot, abdominal, and leg muscles all have to work to compensate for the imbalance. Muscle groups that are not exercised when training with equipment or other sports become active. Training on unstable surfaces is referred to as proprioceptive training.
The intuitive movements also gently stimulate tendons and ligaments in the legs and feet – the ankle and knees are happy. Professional athletes swear by the Balance Board to prevent injuries. The second you start using the Balance Board, all your core muscles are automatically engaged. After just a few seconds, the balancing act on the board is quite strenuous. To feel positive effects, you don’t have to train with the board for hours. Just a few minutes at least twice a week are enough.
FIRST STEPS FOR TRAINING WITH THE BALANCE BOARD
When you first get on a balance board, try to get used to the balancing movements first and slowly ease into the workout. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Get on the board barefoot to get a better feel and immediate feedback.
- Ask a friend to support you in the beginning or hold on to a wall.
- Attach the stoppers to the left and right side of the board
- Use small rollers at the beginning
- Start and stop in the last third of the board and not in the middle
- Bend your knees slightly
- Let the thumbs point inwards
- Do NOT lean forward, but stand in the middle of the board.
- If you can hold yourself on the board without help, this is a good foundation for further exercises.
BALANCE BOARD FOR ADVANCED
You could challenge yourself more and more with the balance board, for example by removing the stoppers or using larger rollers. For a varied workout, simply test yourself on the following exercises:
- Squats on the board (additional challenge: with weight)
- Mountain Climbers
- Balance weight from left to right and up and down
- Standing on the board with one leg
- On the knees with one leg
- Rotate the board on the roller
You can find even more exercises and tricks with the Balance Board here:
FOR WHOM IS THE BALANCE BOARD SUITABLE?
No matter if you are a hobby skater, a kite professional, or a beginner: The balance board is universally applicable and basically suitable for everyone. For surfers, skateboarders or snowboarders the first balance exercises are easier than for someone who has never stood on a board before. The sports equipment will help you a lot to learn and improve one of the mentioned sports.
Also for children, a balance board is an excellent playful sport that promotes movement and balance to develop better body awareness and fun in the movement.
Other advantages of the Balance Board:
- You can train indoor in any weather and outdoor
- Easy to store
- Also very suitable for children
- The Balance Board is fun, therefore you train gladly and often
- It increases concentration
- The sense of balance is improved quickly
- Deep muscles are strengthened
- Excellent injury prevention in the ankle area
- Suitable for a wide range of training goals
It’s been a while since we last stood on a board. Our attempts at the wakeboard facility have shown us that our balance is definitely expandable. With a balance board we wanted to finally improve this weak point in a playful way and at the same time also work the deep muscles. After the first shaky minutes on the board, our ambition was awakened and the fun factor was definitely not neglected.
After a few days, the first sore muscles made themselves known, but the good news was that we were already able to teeter relatively safely from left to right on the board without support. The setting is quick to set up, so it was easy for us to simply incorporate a short workout with the Balance Board into our daily routine or after our normal workout.
Even though we made quick progress, however, rolling back and forth with the board quickly became too monotonous for us. That’s why we ventured into other exercises, such as the plank. Our motivation: to finally get more feeling for the board while wakeboarding in the summer. We can recommend a balance board to anyone who wants to work on their balance and who enjoys skating, surfing, wakeboarding, or snowboarding.