A balance board is a great tool for working on balance and coordination. It can be used to improve your stability, posture, agility, speed and core strength. However, learning how to get started on a balance board can be a bit of an intimidating process if you have never stepped on one before.
With that in mind, we’re going to go over some basic balance board exercises for a vigorous home workout you can do today as you learn to get started.
From setting your balance board on the floor for the first time, to learning your daily practice techniques, this guide will have you up and balancing before you know it.
How Does A Balance Board Work?
A balance board consists of a lever device not dissimilar to a typical playground seesaw, albeit much smaller and with a rolling fulcrum.
When standing on the board, the user must balance his body to prevent both ends of the balance board from touching the ground, staying steady by rolling from side to side, with the aim to stay perfectly balanced on top of the roller.
A person stands on the board which is supported by some type of fulcrum (we have the Swifty Cork Roller) and attempts to use their balance as a means to keep the board on top of the roller lever device located beneath the board.
Origins Of The Balance BoardThe initial idea which sparked the early protype of what would eventually evolve into a balance board is attributed to a WWII military pilot by the name of Stanley Washburn Jr.
During his time in Africa, Stanley came across children playing with a wooden plank over a log. Intrigued by this youthful ingenuity, the pilot created his own variation of the device and gave it to his daughter as a gift. Later, in 1952 the idea began to spread and the commercial version.
The modern reinterpretation came into effect back in 1992 when Vew-Do patented the first multi directional balance training device. Since then, balance boards have become part of the fitness landscape as a recognised method of balance training, rehabilitation and strength building.
How To Get Started On A Balance Board
Purchasing a balance board is only the first step. The greatest leap you’ll encounter is getting to grips with actually stepping up onto the board, which is understandably a little intimidating, particularly for those envisioning any balancing mishaps.
To ease you into the process of literally finding your balance, here’s a few tips we thought would be good to share.
Couple of important points: While using a balance board is a fun and healthy activity, it is important to go into the exercise routine understanding that when you first step onto a board, it will be distinctly different from your natural equilibrium, so please take care.
Please also be aware of the area around you during that initial balancing exercise, and ensure that if you do have to suddenly step off the balance board to steady and compose yourself, that there aren’t any obstructions in your way.
With that said, let’s get started
- With the balance board on the floor, ensure the board is on the roller. Depending on your preference, you can place the board all the way to the left or right side, with one end of the board resting on the ground as far out away from the roller as possible. This gives the board less incline as opposed to when the board is pushed up closer to the roller.
- Place one foot on the portion of the board that is resting against the floor so you have a firm platform to place your other foot which will then support your weight. Our balance boards have a specially-designed v-carved surface pattern to ensure your foot does not slip.
- Place your other foot on the other end of the balance board which is resting atop the roller.
- Lean your body towards the roller end as you push your center of gravity towards the roller. This will immediately lift the floor end of the balance board up off the ground and you will be balancing. This is by far the trickiest part of learning a balance board so if you got this far, you are doing great!
- Now that you’ve managed to get on the balance board and up off the ground, you can bend your knees and focus on keeping your center of gravity over the roller, thus essentially leaving you to balance!
- Now you can work on just simply stepping on and off the balance board.
- Next, start increasing the movement when balancing on the board, start with focusing on gently moving back and forth from side to side, just letting your body get used to the mental and physical mechanics needed to balance at will.
Pro Tip: If you have initial difficulty stepping up onto the board, it might be an idea to have a friend support you or even find a fixed object nearby that you can use to hold onto as you learn the step-up process. Once you grew more comfortable, you’ll be able to use less and less reliance on the assistance until you no longer need it.
READ MORE: From the 'Hang Ten' to the '180 Spin' find out our favourite balance board fitness challenges
Hopefully this brief guide was helpful as a starting point to taking your home fitness routine to the next level. Like most exercise routines, training on a balance board is all about starting slow and gaining confidence over time.
Regular practice is a must here, but allowing for that time and dedication, and the benefits balance boards bring as a form of lower and upper body workout will become entirely noticeable.
Mark your calendar, create a schedule or just make it a part of your morning routine (even allowing for five minutes a day will pay dividends) and before you know it, you will be a balance board pro.