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If you want to improve your balance and coordination, then the balance board is a great option to do so. However, there are many different models. Which one to choose and which balance board is the best? I’ll try to answer these questions in my guide.
What is a balance board?
Usually, a balance board is literally a board that is placed on a cylindrical roller. A person has to stand on a board with both feet and try to maintain a balance on it.
Normally it is a wooden board, about an inch thick with a rough surface on the one side to place feet on and two ledges on the bottom side to prevent it from slipping out.
The roller is usually made out of hard PVC or similar material and is usually about 7 inches in diameter. While there are so many balance board modifications out there, they all share the same principle.
There are some exceptions to that principle, not always does a balance board has a roller. It depends on its type.
What types of balance boards are there?
There are different types of balance boards and they are also called differently:
Roller board (usually referred to as a balance board)
360 Sphere boards
Each balance board type has a unique design and difficulty level.
The design of a rocker board is straightforward, usually, it’s a wooden board with a rocker attached to its bottom. These types of balance boards are simple and easy to use among other balance boards.
In some cases the rocker represents half a cylinder that goes along the board’s length, in others, it’s two semi-spheres located on the opposite sides of the board.
It allows you to rock on the board only forwards and backward or from side to side if you change position.
Rocker boards are a good starting point to train balance.
Wobble board design includes a board and a fulcrum (called wobbler) usually in the shape of a half-sphere attached to it. Its design allows rocking the board in any direction or 360 degrees if you will.
The material of a wobbler can be soft or hard, which makes it easy or difficult to balance.
Sometimes a wobbler can be a special inflatable cushion. On top of which you can place the board.
Wobble boards can be a bit challenging as compared to a rocker board. They are widely used in fitness and therapy.
These kinds of boards have a quaint and very unique design. The board is placed on a ball. To prevent the ball from sliding out, the board has a guard rail that goes all the way around the board base.
This is the most difficult type of balance board, as the board has the least amount of contact with the fulcrum, which in turn can spin in all directions.
360 boards are limited in models and manufacturers and are suited for advanced training.
What are the benefits of the balance board?
A balance board is considered to be a piece of fitness equipment to train balance. So the main benefit of course is to train balance and coordination.
However, it can be used in specific cases to practice specific skills and exercises. For example, it can be used to improve your overall physical condition, improve core strength, practice snowboard movements, and even tricks.
Training on a daily basis you can gain and improve:
Are balance boards safe?
A word of caution must be said. Like in any action sport a certain level of risk is involved when using a balance board.
The board might slip out from under your feet, you can go off balance, or not landing a trick can lead to unwanted consequences. To avoid any serious injuries keep in mind these few simple tips:
Always ensure a safe environment:
Make sure there’s enough space around you;
There’s a soft and dry surface under your board.
Make sure your health and physical conditions are in proper shape;
Ask someone to watch you or assist you if you are a beginner;
Start small and progress over time.
How to choose a balance board?
When choosing the right balance board you have to look out for the following features:
size and shape;
First of all, you have to decide for yourself what is the main goal (intent) you want to achieve with a balance board? Here are a couple of questions you have to answer for yourself:
Is it just balance and coordination training?
Is it for rehab?
Is it just for fun?
Do you want to take it a step further and learn some tricks?
Keep the answer in mind. You’ll need it to make the final decision. Now let’s move on to the next point.
Versatility comes hand in hand with the previous point. There are many different types of balance boards. Each one has its own unique traits and is made for different purposes.
Hence depending on your needs and the way you want to use the balance board its properties may differ.
Size and shape
The size of the balance board deck is going to affect the way you feel and control the board.
Balance boards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Usually the longer the deck is, the wider your stance can be.
The shape can affect the difficulty, e.g. some shapes are mellow and easy to control, while others are more angled and thus more challenging.
Things to look out for:
the size of the board has to be large enough in order to position yourself comfortably;
the deck has to be sturdy and durable;
the top of the deck has to be covered in grip tape or an anti-slip surface.
Rocker type is another property to look out for. You can choose either a rocker or a roller-type balance board. Both rockers and rollers can differ by a number of options starting from shape and ending with a material.
Different rockers and rollers provide different levels of complexity when it comes to maintaining a balance.
Last but not least is the height and shape of the rocker. It is going to affect how easy or hard it will be to maintain the balance on the board.
Things to look out for:
the roller has to move smoothly underneath the board;
the rocker has to be mellow in shape to move smoothly.
The balance board has to be sturdy and durable. That’s why you have to look out for materials the board is made out of.
High-quality materials will ensure the balance board will remain its looks in the long run as well as endure everything that comes its way.
Things to look out for:
high-quality multi-ply wooden or PVC deck(check weight limit);
good grip yet comfortable anti-slip surface on top (possibility to use barefoot);
soft materials on the bottom (anti-scratch and quiet).
Of course, last but not least is the price. You have to perform a simple market analysis to find the best board to match your budget. If you’re looking for more affordable models check my list of cheap balance boards.
This Yes4All balance board is the wobble board type, which means that it can tilt and rotate 360 degrees. Wobble boards can be slightly harder to balance than rocker boards.
It’s made with high-grade heavy-duty TPE plastic, the platform is sturdy and supports up to 300lbs. The top has a large textured surface to prevent you from slipping and additionally massages your feet. You can stand comfortably both barefoot and with shoes.
The bottom is a semi-sphere that is made out of sturdy plastic with spikes to add more safety use and durability. This type of bottom will ensure the safe and stable movement of the board.
Unlike other balance boards, the design of this board allows one to wash it safely with water. So you can always keep it clean and tidy.
Yes4All has two handles on the sides which makes it it is easy to transport, so you can use it almost anywhere throughout your home. It can also be taken to the gym or therapy room.
Probably the most stylish balance board on this list. Revolution FIT is a versatile 3-in-1 system designed for all difficulty levels starting from beginner.
This balance board consists of 4 parts, a deck, and three different fulcrums: rocker, air-cushion, and roller.
Rocker – is the most stable option, it allows beginners to get comfortable using their balance board before moving to the more difficult bases.
The inflated air cushion provides a 360-degree motion which further engages the joints and core muscles. It is mouth-inflatable (no pump needed!) and can be adjusted for difficulty simply by adding more or less air.
The Roller is the most dynamic and the most challenging base, ensuring nothing comes too easily.
The Dura-Soft grip on the top of the FIT makes it a very comfortable board to use. You can go in shoes or bare feet if you are feeling a bit more relaxed.