Core Fitness the Balance Board (aka Wobble Board)

You’ve probably seen balance boards and wobble boards kicking around your gym or maybe on “The Biggest Loser” and maybe wondered what they were all about. They have a variety of looks but the basic one would be what looks like a skateboard on top of some sort of rolling mechanism. You can have your feet the two ends of the board and there are grippers to make sure your feet don’t slip. You can also use it with your hands at the ends in a push-up style position.

Balance Board

You can use balance boards to increase stability, balance, leg strength and most of all general core fitness. You’ll find that they’ll increase coordination and reaction time as well. While it’s obvious why board related athletes, like snowboarders, would use a balance board to train, they’re also gaining popularity with personal trainers, in-home gyms and in commercial gyms.

Here are some exercises to get you started with your balance board routine:

  1. Simply Stand:Position your feet at the two ends and simply try to balance for as long as you can. Just standing on the board and making it parallel to the ground will engage your core muscles and improve balance.
  2. Shift Your Weight: Once you’ve mastered standing still. Start to SLOWLY shift your weight from one side to the other and on and off each foot. Do this slowly and with intention. Each small movement uses different muscles and by making sure you’re slow and controlled, you’ll get greater core fitness benefits.
  3. Squats: Assuming you’re a pro at standing still on the board, you can start to add other strength training exercises, like the squat. Just like a traditional squat on the ground, make sure you don’t let your knees go past your feet.
  4. Push Ups: I wouldn’t try this unless you’re comfortable with push-ups on the floor and you are confident that you can do them on the board without falling to one side or the other. Grip each side of your balance board and do a traditional push-up. You’ll see that just being in the push-up position will be challenging and work the muscles of your core, arms shoulders.
  5. Partner Up: For the advanced only! Throw a medicine ball back and forth with a partner. Then once that is easy (it’ll take time!!) you can start to shift your weigh as you’re throwing the medicine ball back and forth.

As always, be careful and take your time if you’re new to balance boards.