We’re confident that our Fitaboo wooden wobble board is one of the best wobble boards you can buy. Made of wood and designed to provide you with a wealth benefits such as: strengthen your stability muscles, core, ankles and other benefits which we’ll discuss in this article.
We believe in creating functional fitness products that are as beautiful as they are practical. This article is focused on educating you on the benefits of using a wobble board — also known as a balance board. You’ll also learn some of the balance exercises you can do to improve your overall balance, stability and coordination.
If you are a regular member at the gym, you probably notice the common workout equipment — treadmills, stationary bikes, dumbbells, etc. There is one fitness tool, however, that you may not be familiar with. This weird, yet simple device, can help you in a variety of ways that those others can’t. A wobble board uniquely challenges you in a way that improves balance which will benefit you in other areas of fitness.
Wobble Board / Balance Board
A wobble board, or sometimes referred to as a balance board, is a very low-tech fitness device. No, seriously! It doesn’t take a fitness guru to master using one of these. Most are composed of a round wooden base, although some are made of different materials, and a point or dome underneath that makes the board wobble when you stand on it. They come in different sizes and a wide variety of styles to choose from. These can be used by anyone looking to improve their balance and coordination, young or old, but the most common users are athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Why You Need Balance in Your Life?
Balance may not be something you give much thought to when it comes to your health and overall fitness, but it is surprisingly important to your everyday life. It’s one of those things we often take for granted until it becomes hindered. Your stabilizing muscles allow you to maintain equilibrium when you’re moving around. This can be crucial to your workout. Without strong stabilizers you may not be getting the most out of your workout and also put yourself at greater risk for acquiring an injury. All pain and no gain isn’t fun for anybody!
The use of a wobble board can promote your proprioception, which is the system responsible for helping to maintain balance from external stimuli. What’s fascinating about this system is it allows you to subconsciously sense your body’s position in reaction to the environment. No, you won’t develop special Matrix-like capabilities, but it can help improve body awareness to react to sudden changes. Every coordinated movement you make is due to proprioception. It also aids with other areas in correlation to balance such as coordination, range of motion, and posture, just to name a few.
There are many reasons why a person’s balance may be hindered and this can have negative effects for doing even the simplest of tasks. Walking or even standing can become very challenging and even painful. Practicing wobble board exercises on a regular basis can and will significantly improve your proprioception when done correctly.
Safety When Using a Wobble Board
You should always practice safety measures when performing any type of exercise to reduce your chances of getting hurt. Balance training on a wobble board can be fun and easy for anyone to do, but careful considerations need to be made in order to ensure a safe and effective workout.
- Some wobble boards can be adjusted to various height levels from the sphere beneath the base. If you own a board that is adjustable, set it to the lowest level for the initial use until you become well acclimated to it. Wobble boards with a higher point should be used only by intermediate and advanced level users.
- Always set your wobble board on a flat, dry surface. The more ideal placement for your board is on carpet or on a workout mat to prevent having it slip and slide out from under you when you go to step on it. Make sure there aren’t any obstacles around the board. You will most likely wobble a bit the first few times and may need to step off of the board quickly to avoid falling over so give yourself plenty of room when choosing a space to practice on.
- Step off of the board right away if you feel as if you are going to fall off. You can use an aid to help such as a spotter, standing near a wall for support, or by grabbing onto something sturdy until you can regain balance.
- Be sure to use proper posture when standing on the board to gain the most out of your training. Do this by holding your head up with your eyes looking straight ahead of you, keep your back straight, and bend your knees just slightly.
If you experience pain or discomfort at any time while using a wobble board you should stop right away. Be sure to consult with your physician, physical therapist, or chiropractor prior to starting any exercise routine. Also mention any conditions you may suffer from, especially back problems to be sure wobble board training is OK. Your healthcare provider can advise you on what is best for your needs.
Many athletes use wobble board training in their workout routine as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of injury. The movement your body makes to adjust so that you remain balanced on the board enhances the range of motion and strength in the ankles. This makes it far less likely for ankles to become the subject of injury when pressure is applied to them. Studies that were performed on those who actively participated in sports such as ball sports and running found that those who included balance training on a wobble board into their regular workout experienced fewer ankle sprains than those who didn’t.
Improving your balance can even offer advantages for those working in industries that don’t appear to have a connection. Think of professions that may require a lot of physical activity off the ground such as moving up and down ladders, walking on scaffolds, etc. Balance training can help you become more flexible so you can move naturally with ease. Without adequate balance, you could be putting yourself at risk of acquiring a dangerous injury on the job which could leave you out of commission for a while!
Here’s a simple exercises you can do daily to reduce your chances of injury:
To improve overall balance
Stand on the wobble board with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. You can hold onto something sturdy if needed for support. Hold your balance on the board without letting the edges touch the floor. Try and hold your balance for at least 2 minutes or as long as you can.
Those who suffer an injury, whether related to sports, work, or even the elderly, can benefit from balance training as part of their rehabilitation. Physical therapists will often use balance training to aid in the recovery from sports-related injuries such as a sprained ankle to help correct its position. In fact, a study that was conducted by the American Journal of Sports Medicine provided evidence that incorporating a wobble board in the rehabilitation treatment for a sprained ankle produced greater athletic performance in addition to improving their recovery time.
Pain can also hinder your natural awareness of your body’s movements. This is because when your body experiences pain around a joint, even minor pain, the brain is unable to process the proprioceptive signals clearly due to the crowding of pain signals. It will also reduce body movement. You are naturally less likely to move a joint freely when it’s hurting you. Consequently, reduced movement in the joint leads to reduced coordination and therefore leads to poor balance. This is another reason why balance training can be very beneficial in the rehabilitation for an injury.
Seniors can also benefit from wobble board exercises in their rehabilitation program. As we get older, our proprioception becomes less effective. This can put us at a greater risk of injury as well. Regular exercise can help to restore stability and maintain your balance, both of which can offer a better quality of life for elderly.
One easy exercise that is beneficial to both recovering athletes and seniors is a rotational exercise:
Begin this exercise by standing on the board with your feet planted shoulder-width apart. Slowly rotate the board using carefully controlled circular movements so that the edges of the board do not touch the floor. Doing this a few times daily will help to improve the ankle’s natural range of motion and restores stability.
If pain is prohibiting you from being able to stand on the wobble board comfortably, you can still benefit from doing this exercise while sitting in a chair.
Wobble Board Exercise for Knee Pain
The knee is the largest joint in your entire body and supports much of your weight. This is why it is also prone to sustaining an injury resulting in pain. The knee joint is also at a greater risk of early deterioration with age when it isn’t functioning as it should. A wobble board can be implemented as treatment for knee pain to speed up recovery following an injury as well as strengthen the joint to maintain proper range of motion.
If you experience a knee injury, wobble board training can begin when you are able stand comfortably enough with little or no pain in the knee. Also consult with your practitioner on when it’s OK to begin treatment with the wobble board.
Stand on the wobble board with both feet planted. Rock the board from side to side then front to back until the edge of the board taps the floor. Repeat this step for 2-3 minutes maintaining your balance.
Perform a series of rotational exercises as previously mentioned, rolling the board in a circular motion with the edge touching the floor. Do this exercise for 2 minutes.
Stand on the board until you are well-balanced then slowly squat as though you are going to sit so that your knees are at 45-degrees. Maintain balance and hold this position briefly then repeat 10 times.
Performing these series of exercises on a regular basis will aid in gradually strengthening the knee joint to improve its function and slow down the aging process, minimizing degeneration.
Daily training on a wobble board will provide greater stability of your trunk muscles and pelvic girdle. This can have numerous health benefits for people of all ages and abilities. Balance training is especially beneficial for dancers and gymnasts in maintaining stability. Imagine trying to perform a backflip on a balance board without a good sense of where your body will land! Having adequate body sense is essential, otherwise the body couldn’t move as gracefully and potentially lead to serious injuries.
When you’re first starting out, you can begin with these basic exercises of front-to-back and side-to-side movements. As you get comfortable with these you can move on to more of the various exercises that are aimed toward strengthening your core and stabilizing those key muscles.
As the name implies, this exercise is beneficial for stretching out the calf muscles to help you gain better stability. To perform this exercise place one foot on the board. Keep the heel of this foot flat on the board and your other leg, flat on the floor. Now lean forward until you can feel your calf muscle stretch (don’t overdo it!).
Once you’ve become accustomed to using a wobble board you will be doing it with your eyes closed! And you should. After you’ve become comfortable with standing on the board and are able to maintain your stability, try closing your eyes momentarily just until you begin feeling off-balance. You should also have a spotter nearby when doing this, to reduce the chances of falling off.
When you stand on a balance board you are engaging your core muscles. This is why many fitness enthusiasts along with athletes incorporate a wobble board by standing on it during their workouts. By challenging your body’s balance system, you work out these core muscles which can improve your overall body awareness.
One common problem that many are faced with is poor posture as a result of modern-day lifestyles. Sitting at a computer desk all day long can wreak havoc on your back and neck muscles. This often contributes to poor posture and thus also throwing off your balance.
Poor posture can set off many other problems such as back ache, fatigue, and even affect your cognitive function. Balance training, however, helps your body to remember the proper position and strengthens the core muscles that aid in maintaining this position, keeping your spine in correct alignment. You might even find a boost in confidence.
Sitting – This is an easy exercise you can perform while sitting on the board to help strengthen core muscles in the trunk. Sit on the wobble board with your legs crossed, your back straight and head up, slowly making a rotational movement using just your abdominal muscles. Repeat this step rotating in the opposite direction. This exercise also works for improving range of motion as well as lower back mobility.
Kneeling – This exercise can be done while kneeling on the board with your hands placed either at the hips or by your side. Similar to the previous exercise, you are going to move your trunk muscles in a rotational movement. After making a few rotations in one direction stop and repeat this step making rotations in the opposite direction. Continue this exercise alternating directions for 2 minutes.
Consistently challenging your routine will help to maintain and further strengthen your core so add variations once you’ve reached intermediate level in your balance training. For instance, try doing the kneeling exercise while holding a medicine ball at the the level of your chest.
In addition to strengthening your core muscles, regular balance training will also help to improve your functional strength. Without even realizing it, balance training will also help to not only tone your core muscles but also aids in toning and shaping your lower back and obliques.
Fitness enthusiasts that aim for strength training can greatly benefit from adding in a wobble board into their workout as it improves the way our muscles work during regular activities. Simply by standing on a wobble board and doing some basic exercises you are doing wonders to improve your lower body strength and it doesn’t even feel like exercise!
You can target different areas of the body to improve strength and maximize your workout efforts by adding the wobble board to other strength-building exercises. Once it becomes easy to balance yourself on the wobble board, incorporate various exercises while standing on it such as squats or lunges. For an upper body workout, try using your hands on the board to perform elevated push-ups and side planks.
These exercises will add a more dynamic concept in a way that’s different and fun:
Balanced push ups
Get into your typical push up position and place your hands on the board. For the first time using the balance board, you may want to perform push ups while on your knees and then you can move on to full push-ups for an even greater challenge. Keep your wrists in a fully-flexed position and make sure your hands are on top of the board as you perform each push up to avoid getting pinched fingers.
You can perform basic dumbbell arm exercises while balancing with your feet planted shoulder-width apart on the board. For an even more challenging exercise, try doing them while balancing on one leg. Place the arch of your foot in the center of the board for balance. Alternate each leg to develop strength.
The brain is one of the most crucial muscles of the body that should also get a workout of its own. It’s amazing how the mind and body work together, but without the proper training needed to maintain it the simple things like walking, running, or even attempting small tasks can become negatively affected. Balance training forces you to work multiple body parts by focusing mentally as well as physically to stay on the board.
When you challenge your center of gravity, you are working both halves of your brain together so that they communicate with the rest of the body. Performing balance exercises while standing on a wobble board improves coordination as this neuromuscular communication between the mind and body becomes challenged. In clinical studies, it was found that balance training not only showed significant improvement in coordination, but it also improved other areas in brain function. Improvements in eye control, concentration and even language development were linked to physical activities that focused on balance.
Another way that balance training helps develop mental focus is through a combination of meditative exercises performed on a wobble board. Yoga offers many benefits for the mind and body. It helps in reducing stress, warding off sickness, healing aches and pains and improve overall health.
The principal of yoga focuses on incorporating meditation and breathing exercises with relaxation techniques that help to improve your overall mental well-being. Many of the yoga positions performed require a great deal of balance and that can only be accomplished when the mind is clear. Incorporating a wobble board with yoga exercises can provide a well-balanced fitness regimen.
Standard Tree Pose
This is one of the classic yoga poses that incorporates balance. The one-legged tree pose is performed by balancing on one leg and placing the sole of your other foot on the inner thigh above your knee cap. When balance is achieved, this pose can be done by balancing the foot that is the ‘root of the tree’ in the center of the wobble board.
Benefits of Wobble Boards for Children
Children need adequate exercise through physical activity to help their rapidly growing bodies develop and function properly as well. Children who have disabilities in development can also benefit from the use of a wobble board in their treatment to gain strength in their stabilizing muscles and improve their overall stability.
In children that may struggle with certain conditions such as sensory issues it was proven that incorporating balance training into their regular lives helped to improve their motor coordination. In the same way that balancing on a wobble board challenges your mental focus, in children this also trains the body’s sensory system. This can help in improving visual as well as auditory processing.
Other conditions that children may suffer from including those that affect the ears, eyes, or muscles can affect balance and coordination as well. Physicians may recommend vestibular therapy (physical therapy for improving balance function) to treat these conditions in order for young children to challenge their gross motor skills for development. Believe it or not, improving your child’s ability to balance on their own could make a great difference in their life in key areas such as their ability to learn and play.
Remember to ALWAYS implement safety precautions with the wobble board and be sure to stay close to your child to minimize the risk of injury. Start out by letting your child get used to standing on the board, either barefoot or with shoes that have good traction on them such as trainers.
Children can perform simple exercises by rocking from side to side with their feet on the board. To keep it fun and engaging, join in with your child (on your own wobble board, of course) by making a game of it to see who can stand the longest on their board without allowing the edges to touch the floor. Increase the challenge when your child has mastered maintaining balance by having them stand on the board with one leg.
Motor Skill Training
Once your child can successfully maintain balance while standing on the board, add in some type of dynamic activity to build motor skill development. Start with something small such as tossing a bean bag from one hand to the other. Move up to throwing a ball back and forth with your child. By doing these activities while standing on the balance board, it improves hand-eye coordination in addition to subconscious reaction. Your child is consciously focused on one activity while they are subconsciously engaged in stability.
More Ways to Use Wobble Boards
In addition to using a wobble board for balance training exercises, there are even simpler ways that you can incorporate the use of one of these versatile boards to enhance your overall health.
A wobble board can serve as an excellent foot rest whether at home or at work. When you’re sitting for long hours at your desk at the office, use a wobble board as your footrest. The active movement will help enhance range of motion in your legs and ankles and aids in circulation. A wobble board that has an adjustable height is preferable, or opt for one that is the right height so that your knees and hips are at a 90-degree ankle while sitting. Using an exercise ball chair in addition to the wobble board will add a great dynamic component to further improve balance, core strength, stability, posture, and leg strength.
Too busy to implement a balance-training regimen? No sweat! If you can multi-task you can easily incorporate balance training into your everyday routine. Instead of sitting on the couch as soon as you get home, try active standing on a wobble board while watching TV or doing other activities such as folding clothes or washing dishes.
Is a Wobble Board Necessary for Balance Training?
You can practice balance training without the use of a wobble board in a number of ways such as balancing on one foot. You may actually want to begin practicing balance on the floor before venturing to practice on a wobble board if you’re uncomfortable with standing on an unstable surface. The key to developing your proprioception and maintaining stability, however, comes only through progression.
Just as any form of fitness training, you won’t continue seeing results from doing the same things over and over again. You need to frequently challenge yourself. The same goes for developing the proprioceptive system. Once balance has been achieved, you should continue progressing by adding new challenges to your workout. A wobble board is ideal for this as it is a versatile device that will continue to challenge your neuromuscular system through more dynamic exercises for better balance and even improve motor skills.
Balance training with the use of a wobble board works out multiple areas and will improve your long-term health. These boards are widely available in multiple styles to suit your level of fitness and continue challenging your equilibrium for better overall health. Need more convincing? Consider this:
- They’re fun and easy to use
- They are inexpensive
- Take up very little floor space
- Can be used practically anywhere
- Suitable for use by anyone, young and old
- A versatile fitness device for improving overall health
Choosing the Right Wobble Board for Your Needs
As I’ve previously mentioned, wobble boards and balance boards come in a multitude of styles, shapes, and sizes and can be made of different materials such as wood or plastic. Choosing the board that best suits your needs requires careful consideration as some boards will serve various functions.
There are boards that may be generic to all users and some are made specifically for users of a certain skill level. For instance, the component underneath the board that makes it unstable may be adjustable to different heights or some may have a higher point for more advanced users. Some are made with ridges to offer better grip (typically your plastic boards) or they may contain a non-slip grip strip on top.
Be sure to check out the many options and features that wobble boards have to offer keeping the user in mind (i.e. a child, an older person). Also be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on skill level requirements.
The Round Classic Wobble Board
Your classic board types are typically composed of a round flat base with a dome underneath. There are different sizes to choose from to fit all users, although the 16” balance board is the most common. This style among is one of the most versatile options among wobble boards and is suitable for all individuals from children to seniors. It can be used for performing a great variety of exercises including rehabilitating, balance, and active standing.
This type of board is typically rectangular or square in shape as opposed to round. It also serves to aid in balance training, however it differs from a wobble board in that it is designed to be used only in front-to-back or side-to-side movements. It is mainly applied in dynamic training and squat training as well as rehabilitation for those who’ve become injured.
This type of board is usually rectangular shaped or may be oval-shaped and designed with a cylinder or roller underneath instead of a dome. It is similar to a rocker board in that it can tip front-to-back or from side-to-side. The roller is typically higher than your standard wobble board and are suitable for advanced-level users.These are most useful to athletes and sports players such as surfing or water skiing.
The benefits of balance training with a wobble board are extensive and it will significantly improve your overall quality of life. There are so many different ways that you can workout on these boards for a very low-key workout. You can easily incorporate many of these exercises into your daily routine for lifelong health benefits that will improve your mind and body.