Unique exercises and workouts you can do with a balance board

Athena

Introduction to Balance Boards

What is a Balance Board?

A balance board is a versatile fitness tool that helps improve balance, coordination, and core strength. It consists of a flat platform with a rounded bottom, requiring the user to engage their muscles to maintain stability. Balance boards can be used in various ways, including side-to-side, front-to-back, and circular drills. They can also be incorporated into exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups to add an extra challenge. Balance boards are suitable for people of all fitness levels and can be used for rehabilitation and physical therapy purposes as well. They are portable and easy to use, making them a convenient option for home workouts or taking to the gym.

Benefits of Using a Balance Board for Exercise

Using a balance board for exercise offers numerous benefits. Firstly, it helps improve balance and proprioception, which is the body’s ability to sense its position in space. This can be especially beneficial for athletes, as better balance can enhance performance and reduce the risk of injuries. Secondly, using a balance board engages the core muscles, leading to improved core strength and stability. Strong core muscles are essential for maintaining good posture and preventing back pain. Additionally, using a balance board can help improve coordination and body control, as it requires the integration of multiple muscle groups. Lastly, balance boards can add variety and challenge to your workouts, making them more enjoyable and effective.

Upper Body Exercises

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Push-Ups on a Balance Board

One unique exercise you can do with a balance board is push-ups. By placing your hands on the balance board instead of the floor, you add an extra element of instability, challenging your core muscles even more. This exercise helps to strengthen your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.

To perform push-ups on a balance board, start in a plank position with your hands on the board and your body in a straight line. Lower your chest towards the board by bending your elbows, then push back up to the starting position. The unstable surface of the balance board requires you to engage your core and stabilizer muscles to maintain balance throughout the movement.

Plank Variations with a Balance Board

Another unique exercise you can do with a balance board is plank variations. Planks are a great exercise for core strength, and adding a balance board makes them even more challenging.

One variation is the plank with knee tucks. Start in a plank position with your hands on the balance board and your body in a straight line. Engage your core and bring one knee towards your chest, then return it to the starting position. Alternate knees for a set number of repetitions. This exercise not only targets your core muscles but also works your hip flexors and stabilizer muscles.

Another variation is the plank with leg lifts. Begin in a plank position on the balance board and lift one leg off the ground, keeping it straight and parallel to the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then lower the leg and repeat on the other side. This exercise targets your glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles.

Lower Body Exercises

Squats on a Balance Board

One unique exercise you can do with a balance board is squats. Squats are a great way to strengthen your lower body muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. By performing squats on a balance board, you add an extra challenge to the exercise, as you have to stabilize yourself on the unstable surface. This engages your core muscles even more, improving your balance and stability.

To perform squats on a balance board, start by standing on the board with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Lower your body down into a squat position, making sure your knees stay in line with your toes. Push through your heels to stand back up. Repeat for a desired number of repetitions.

Lunges with a Balance Board

Another unique exercise you can do with a balance board is lunges. Lunges are effective for targeting your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, as well as improving your balance and stability. Incorporating a balance board into your lunges adds an extra challenge by requiring you to stabilize yourself throughout the movement.

To perform lunges with a balance board, start by standing on the board with one foot while keeping the other foot off the ground. Take a step forward with your lifted foot and lower your body down into a lunge position, making sure your front knee stays in line with your toes. Push through your front heel to stand back up and repeat on the other side. Aim for a desired number of repetitions on each leg.

Core Exercises

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Mountain Climbers on a Balance Board

Mountain climbers are a great full-body exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the core, shoulders, and legs. Adding a balance board to this exercise can further challenge your stability and engage your core muscles even more.

To perform mountain climbers on a balance board, start by getting into a plank position with your hands on the balance board and your feet on the ground. Engage your core and maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. Then, alternate bringing one knee towards your chest while keeping the other leg extended. Move quickly and smoothly, as if you were running in place.

The instability of the balance board forces your core muscles to work harder to maintain balance, making this exercise more challenging and effective. It also helps improve your coordination and proprioception.

Russian Twists with a Balance Board

Russian twists are a popular exercise that targets the obliques, or side abdominal muscles. Adding a balance board to this exercise can increase the difficulty and engage more core muscles.

To perform Russian twists with a balance board, sit on the balance board with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground, balancing on your sit bones. Hold a weight or medicine ball in front of you, and twist your torso from side to side, touching the weight or ball to the ground on each side.

The instability of the balance board challenges your core muscles to stabilize your body while performing the twisting motion. This exercise helps strengthen your obliques, improve your balance, and enhance your overall core stability.

Balance and Stability Exercises

Single Leg Balance on a Balance Board

One of the most effective exercises you can do with a balance board is the single leg balance. This exercise not only helps improve your balance and stability but also strengthens your core and leg muscles. To perform this exercise, start by standing on the balance board with one foot in the center. Engage your core and lift your other foot off the ground, balancing on one leg. Try to maintain your balance for as long as possible, aiming for at least 30 seconds on each leg. As you progress, you can challenge yourself by incorporating arm movements or closing your eyes to further enhance your balance and coordination. This exercise is not only a great way to improve your physical fitness but also a fun and challenging way to test your body’s proprioception.

Balance Board Squat Holds

Balance board squat holds are an excellent exercise for targeting your lower body muscles while also improving your balance and stability. To perform this exercise, start by standing on the balance board with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself into a squat position by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, while keeping your weight on your heels. Hold this position for as long as you can while maintaining your balance on the board. This exercise engages your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles, helping to strengthen and tone your lower body. Additionally, the instability of the balance board forces your core muscles to work harder to maintain stability, providing an added challenge. Incorporating balance board squat holds into your workout routine will not only help you build strength and stability but also improve your overall balance and coordination.

Advanced Balance Board Workouts

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Bosu Ball Balance Board Fusion Exercises

The Bosu ball is a versatile piece of equipment that can be combined with a balance board for a challenging and fun workout. One fusion exercise you can try is the Bosu plank with balance board leg lifts. Start by placing your forearms on the Bosu ball and your toes on the balance board. Engage your core and lift one leg off the board while maintaining a stable plank position. Alternate legs and repeat for a set of reps. This exercise not only strengthens your core but also improves balance and stability.

Another fusion exercise is the Bosu squat with balance board lateral lunges. Begin by standing on the Bosu ball with the balance board placed next to you. Squat down on the Bosu ball and as you come up, step onto the balance board with one foot and lunge to the side. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. This exercise targets your lower body muscles while challenging your balance and coordination.

Yoga and Pilates Inspired Balance Board Routines

The balance board can be a valuable tool to enhance your yoga and Pilates routines. One yoga-inspired exercise to try is the balance board tree pose. Stand on the balance board with your feet hip-width apart. Lift one foot and place the sole against the inner thigh of the opposite leg. Find your balance and bring your hands to prayer position at your chest. Hold this pose for several breaths, focusing on your balance and stability. This exercise not only strengthens your legs but also improves concentration and body awareness.

For a Pilates-inspired routine, you can incorporate the balance board into exercises like the Pilates bridge. Lie on your back with your feet on the balance board, hip-width apart. Lift your hips off the ground, engaging your glutes and core. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower back down. The instability of the balance board adds an extra challenge to this exercise, requiring you to engage your muscles even more to maintain stability.

By incorporating these Bosu ball fusion exercises and yoga and Pilates-inspired balance board routines into your workouts, you can add variety and intensity while improving your balance, stability, and overall fitness.

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