best balance boards

Balance Board: Test & reviews

Author: Manuel Heitmann

Coach & Fitness Expert

The balance board trains the balance and helps to improve body awareness. In our list of the best, our team presents the best boards and has added ratings to dimensions, areas of use, loads and other details by reading various tests.

Questions to Consider Before Buying A Balance Board

What is meant by the sense of balance?

Without a sense of balance, people would not be able to orient themselves in space, let alone maintain their posture. Balance, both a physical and a mental condition, is important in managing life. In addition to physical fitness, inner harmony also enables performance, equilibrium and joy, a correspondence of mental and physical balance means well-being and successful coping with everyday life.

Several individual senses determine the sense of balance. On the one hand, vesicular perception is required to determine gravity and acceleration, and on the other hand, visual perception is required for orientation in space, and last but not least, a sense of touch and depth sensitivity are required. In order to keep the balance with the entire body, all organs of balance that are located in the inner ears are used. Muscle sense and seeing and recognizing the environment are just as important.

The sense of balance is basically a mechanical sense to perceive both your own position and other bodies and conditions in space. The constancy of gravity is the first and fixed benchmark.

The sense organs are required to use the sense of balance. These are provided with sensory cells through which stimuli can be triggered and absorbed. Here u. a. Information passed on to the central nervous system, including the position of the body in relation to the direction of gravity and a change in equilibrium, whether in a delayed or accelerated form.

The balance of the body can also be trained and improved. The entire body receives better stability and can react more quickly to circumstances. The entire posture is also positively influenced and coordination is improved. The balance board is an excellent opportunity for these exercises and can help loosen up and relax the muscles.

Especially after a strenuous day at work, it is not always just relaxing to help ease the stress. Inner unrest is not eliminated in this way. On the other hand, training on the board can impart new strength and promote concentration. As a result, the feeling of bruisedness dissolves much faster.

Balance training for a better balance

Exercises for better balance can be done with or without equipment. It is important to have a soft and unstable surface or a mat designed for it. The latter is also useful when using a balance board if the material is harder and thus more safety is guaranteed when the movements are made on the board.

Everyone is initially insecure, starts out just as shaky as the board and will have to work with supports, including their own leg or a wall. Little by little, your own security and body awareness will level off and improve. The exercise mat is still an additional help.

Balance training is comparable to stabilization training, whereby the deep muscles in particular are strengthened and the core muscles are strengthened.

With balance training, the entire posture can be influenced. Simple warm-up exercises are standing on one leg, with the upper body held in a different, mostly tilted position or the arms stretched out. The unstable surface or mat cause the particularly slight irritation, a balance board is already a step further and offers more application possibilities.

It’s a balanced way to improve your balance. But it can also help if there are problems with balance that can be remedied by training with the board.

Most of the time, such problems are based on circulatory disorders in the central nervous system or in the event of possible failure of the equilibrium organs in particular. Such conditions are u. a. also caused by stress. The side effects are dizziness and problems with posture.

The training of balance can also increase performance itself. Who often kinks with the feet or falls, the situation can improve with balance exercises. Movement and mastery of balance are also important for the entire musculature.

The reason why many athletes resort to balance training and the balance board is simply because not only all moves and spins can be practiced, but an improved balance also prevents the risk of injury.

In this way, sprains or falls can be prevented and body stability and responsiveness improved.

It should be kept in mind here that the balanced training on the balance board not only demands the muscles, requires footwork and means particularly effective deep training, but also trains the brain during the exercises in order to react more quickly to circumstances and situations . The entire concentration is challenged and intensified.

Some balance boards are constructed similarly to a skateboard and can therefore be used in a similar way. The exercises and jumps are practiced on a safe surface and can then be implemented later on the skateboard and on the street.

In addition, the physical balance that is achieved on the training circuit can also bring about an inner balance. People feel more secure, appear more self-confident, and are satisfied with their environment. The overall posture says a lot about the person and their appearance. Those who move safely, have a healthy posture and act firmly will achieve their goals more quickly and also have the strength to implement all ideas and requirements in their professional lives.

Why is muscle building necessary?

As the ideal home training device, the balance board is also important for building muscles and for individual strength training. This no longer just means weight lifting in fitness studios, but rather the training of various and natural sequences of movements through special exercises and gymnastics.

This type of strength training gradually builds and strengthens muscles. The body becomes tighter as a whole and can be more toned. Losing body fat is also possible in this way.

The more muscles a person has in total, the more calories have to be burned. In addition, the entire holding apparatus is built up, that is, including the bones, ligaments and tendons, which is why training with the Balance Board is also good against falls and sprains, and also improves back pain or poor posture.

What is a balance board and how does it work?

The balance board is a home training or sports device that is also known as an indoboard, therapy top or, to put it simply, as a balance or wobble board. The designs of the models are different, as are the material properties and shapes of the devices. Nevertheless, with all boards the deep muscles and the sense of balance are strengthened in the same way.

The board usually consists of two elements that are not firmly connected to each other, with which the balance can be kept and trained differently. Either it is an elongated roller on which the board sits, or a ball on which a round or elongated surface for the stand lies.

Here the board is held and balanced with the entire body, similar to the surfboard or surfboard, which requires some skill. Beginners in particular will first have to practice keeping themselves on the board. It tilts on all sides as well as backwards or forwards.

The tilting must be balanced with the entire body and the correct leg posture, which requires concentration. You can only stand on the board as soon as your body weight is evenly distributed on the standing surface without losing your grip or causing it to tilt.

However, the right feeling will come quickly and can also be implemented playfully. In addition to the actual muscle training, ambition is also challenged. It is also nice to use the board with several people who challenge each other, for example as a game to see who can stay on the board the longest.

The other variant is a round board with a hemisphere firmly mounted on it. This can be used in two ways. On the one hand, the surface can rest on the floor and the ball, the material of which is unstable, serves as a support surface for various exercises, or the hemisphere is on the floor and the round board is used as a training basis, e.g. to stand on it and keep your balance.

Since the boards differ and offer larger or smaller areas, it turns out that the exercises become more difficult the narrower the standing area. In this way, the exercises can be increased in their degrees of difficulty, which makes the balance board possible for a very versatile use.

Why is coordination training with the Balance Board important?

Training coordination is essential for performing targeted movements. These skills can be improved by implementing exercise programs with powerful execution.

The movement requirements in humans are determined by coordinative abilities. These differ in seven different ones, in the balance, orientation, rhythm, coupling, differentiation, reaction and adjustment ability.

Learning new techniques is only possible through coordinative skills. These usually develop between the ages of 6 and 12, but can be trained again and again regardless of age. As you get older, the performance of such movement sequences is necessary, even if you are not doing great sports.

The coordination determines the entire interplay between the brain as the controlling organ and the muscles as the executive organs of the movement sequence. It is responsible for controlling, learning and adapting the movements. Motor properties such as endurance and flexibility are possible.

With the Balance Board, balanced coordination training can take place in order to improve or simply maintain mobility in everyday life, to optimize posture, to protect yourself from bad posture, to avoid the pain caused by it and to stabilize the movement sequences.

Since the force develops within the muscle via the muscle cells and the nerve impulses activated for them, it can also be increased through intramuscular coordination training. As a result, less energy is required and consumed for the action, while performance is gradually improved at the same time. In addition, the spine is stabilized, sensorimotor functions and proprioception improved, and responsiveness increased.

The exercises on the board are designed in such a way that such movements are not yet automated by the body, i.e. carried out unconsciously. This also challenges the corresponding regions in the brain and retrains them. The speed of movement is also part of the coordination program. It is stimulated differently, carried out particularly slowly or quickly.

Depending on the person, whether untrained, athlete or senior, the exercises can be tailored to their needs. As a therapeutic method, completely different exercises are necessary than with the fun implementation at home.

Advantages & areas of application

Enjoyment

The balance board is one of the sports and exercise machines, so that going to a fitness studio is not necessary. The strength training and the individual exercises can be done comfortably on your own board at home. Exercises and instructions are available in video formats that are often included as additional accompanying material in the scope of delivery of a balance board, but can also be purchased or found on the Internet. (We also present some important exercises for the balance board in our comparison. You can find out more under the point: “The 5 best exercises on the balance board”)

Exercises that do not strain the joints and ligaments too much are important. So z. For example, simply bending the knees will overstretch the joint or incorrectly performed exercises worsen the actual problems, including more back pain.

Due to the unstable surface on which the balance board is placed, placed, laid or supported, the muscle strength is challenged in the sense that it has to compensate for the instability during the exercises. The ability to react and coordination are improved and concentration is promoted, as the exercises should be carried out very consciously and with full attention.

The advantage is that the balance board can be used almost anywhere and at any time. The board is ideal even for people who have little time. A training time of 10 to 15 minutes a day is sufficient to achieve the desired effect and to strengthen the sense of balance.

Exercise

In some sport and skill exercises, motor skills, coordination and balance are important. In addition, endurance is trained.

Surfers, skiers or skat and snowboarders have to secure the board under their feet through their posture and balance, overcome obstacles and bumps, use waves to hold onto the board and adapt their movements to the water or the road. This also requires dry training to strengthen the deep muscles.

In addition, these sports are heavily dependent on the weather and the season, which is why the balance board is a compensation when the actual sport cannot be practiced. By training on the board, in addition to improving concentration, the risk of getting injured is always reduced. The security that is achieved on the balance board, the posture that can be perfected in this way, then makes the actual sport easier and more effective.

Professional golfers also train with the balance board. The exercises can improve the particularly calm stance and the correct tee shot. Alternatively, boards with a swing mechanism are also used here.

Mountaineers, rowers and climbers can also improve their own coordination with the balance board and practice dry beforehand for the actual sport, which must then be implemented on the water or on the mountain wall. Climbing slopes and mountain faces in particular requires quick reactions and the necessary sense of balance. The balance board is an additional training device for actual muscle work.

Therapy and Treatment

In the field of physiotherapy, the balance board is one of the first devices to train compensatory movements and improve body awareness again. After accidents, strokes, intervertebral disc problems or knee and leg problems, the board is optimally used and is included as a complex training routine in the physiotherapy program.

Only the type of model varies here, since competitive athletes who may have injured themselves or older people who simply have to retrain their sense of balance require different exercises that also address different muscle and brain areas. The level of difficulty of the board makes a big difference. The mobility is increased again, slack muscles are strengthened and the board is used as a preventive measure.

Air cushions, balance balls and therapy tops are particularly suitable for therapy.

The Balance Board Test - These were the conditions

The models were tested and selected in various tests based on various criteria. The following conditions were particularly important in tests that were eligible for a Balance Board Test 2020:

Distance to the ground

The height between the floor and standing surface made the exercise versatility, stability and increased difficulty. The distance should be a little higher so that movements with greater vibration force are possible in practical tests or the balance can be maintained in a test even under more difficult conditions. Nevertheless, the distance to the floor should not be too high, so that there is a risk of injury. A good balance between size, weight, surface area and ball design was important in every test.

Exercise options and training levels

The Balance Board was tested in its various training options, both in the area of balance and coordination and in the versatility of the models themselves, e.g. if a hemisphere was present in a practical test, the board could be used from both sides and similar conditions.

Some boards had several training levels in many tests, others were flexible in the air with which they were inflated and could thus increase the level of difficulty. Test subjects have extensively tested all of this in tests.

Surface

Both models with smooth and structured surfaces were tested in a test. In this test, it was important that the standing surface was non-slip and offered little opportunity for abrasion.

The test subjects tested the surfaces with bare feet, with socks and with sneakers. The hold always had to be given in the test. Devices where the surface was also used for massage purposes were particularly advantageous, e.g. by knobs or a similarly arranged structure.

Maximum load

Balance boards that allowed a weight between 100 and 150 kilograms were selected for all tests. Some models were also suitable for higher weight classes, but were rather irrelevant for our comparison.

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We have tried to choose models that allow an average weight so that the boards can be used by both athletes and overweight people without bringing the risk of injury or only making the designs possible in a limited way.

Material properties

The models tested by test persons should be of high quality, especially when it comes to balance pillows and therapy circles. The material should be both stable and flexible, with good traction. If wood was the basis, the board had to be particularly well made and sanded.

Stability of the balance boards

The test persons were able to determine with the models that the stability was usually particularly high when the board was designed simply, e.g. with the half shells or the manufacture of a wooden top with a ball for balance. Since balance was only maintained on the basis of stability and concept, and thus exercises were possible, stability was one of the most important conditions in all tests.

Acoustic signals

Models that gave an acoustic signal in a test as soon as the corresponding exercises were carried out correctly were interesting alternatives to the conventional models. With some devices, the signal came through a click in the practical test, with others through a tone. Most of the versions in various tests were, however, without acoustic confirmation.

What do I have to look out for when buying a Balance Board?

Before choosing and buying the right balance board, you should consider a few points that will make your purchase decision easier. The use and purpose of the board play a role in its shape, design and size in order to be able to perform the appropriate exercises. In the case of physical limitations or herniated discs, a doctor should perhaps be consulted as to which board is particularly suitable for solving the problems.

Material properties

The material is certainly an important criterion in order to guarantee not only stability but also long durability and good workmanship. Balance boards are made of rubber, PVC plastic, wood or a mixture of different materials. When it comes to the sense of balance itself, wood is very well suited to train the sense of balance. Not only the standing area, but also the hemisphere are mostly made of wood. A surface that is non-slip is important here.

This is always the case with plastic and rubber versions. Most of the time, the surface is also structured and offers a little more slip resistance and stability. The latter models are also very effective and easy to clean, usually only need to be wiped off with a damp cloth.

Some models are very gentle on the floor, others should be supplemented with an additional floor mat or yoga mattress.

Size

The size also plays a role in the purchase. The balance boards are available with a diameter of approx. 20 to 70 centimeters. The average is 40 centimeters and is completely sufficient to use the board in a variety of ways. In addition to the actual use, clearing away is also a condition. Of course, the smaller versions are more space-saving. The larger the diameter of the standing surface, the larger the leg spacing can be, making the exercises easier. Particularly large models, such as Boards with a rubber ball, also require larger spaces.

Surface

If you want to stand safely on the balance board, you should choose a structured surface. The models, which either make balance training possible through air or consist of a simple board with a roller, have a smooth surface. The hold is more difficult here, but the demands on the sports equipment are higher and more versatile. The ball and gyro models are very good for beginners and physiotherapy users, the wooden versions and board-roller models for athletes and advanced users, since balance is mainly trained here through a lot of concentration and posture. The structure of the surface also plays a role in how the exercises can be performed, whether e.g. barefoot or with socks.

Height and angle of inclination

If you want to do more demanding exercises, you should also consider the angle of incline. The higher the ball is below the standing area, the larger the incline area, the more difficult the training. The distance between the floor and the standing surface determines the incline and then requires more skill than simple balance pillow or a balance ball. In turn, wobbling boards are more difficult to implement the exercises because of the role. Of course, you can always use the wall, a helping hand or other means of not losing your grip.

Warranty

Those who take it carefully can also fall back on models that guarantee a high guarantee. Some balance boards offer a guarantee of up to 30 years.

Useful accessories

All exercises on the balance board can be accompanied and combined with other training equipment. However, beginners should not overuse the board and try to keep their balance and improve coordination skills step by step.

If you are advanced on the board and can balance, keep your balance with your eyes closed, stand on one leg or bend your knees, you can now also train your arms and shoulder muscles. You can do this with weights, dumbbells or a swing stick.

A gymnastics or yoga mat is useful for some equipment or as a general safeguard, as it not only prevents injuries, but also protects the floor on which the equipment is used. There is also even more slip resistance and the balance board can be used without worry.

Balance Board Alternatives

As an alternative to the balance board or balance pillow, there are massage devices with a similar structure, including in the form of a role.

Massage cushions or facial rolls have a surface on which one can sit or stand. Such model variants can also be useful for balance exercises, if the material allows it.

You can of course balance more professionally on a horizontal bar or in the great outdoors on house walls. However, the balance board offers much more security and versatility at home. The muscle training is better strengthened here.

Frequently Asked Questions: Balance Boards

What is the maximum load of a balance board?

Using a balance board strengthens the balance, but for safety reasons it is tested with a maximum weight. Most boards of this type are designed for a maximum weight of 120 kilograms.

Some balance boards are specially designed for overweight people and are therefore given a higher weight, between 150 and 180 kilograms. You should therefore always pay attention to the capacity of the board before buying, so that there are no unforeseen difficulties.

Does the Balance Board help you lose weight?

Since the exercise with the board trains different muscle groups and the entire body becomes tense, which is simultaneously loosened up again and again, excess fat deposits can also be gradually reduced. This works particularly well on the legs, buttocks, hips and stomach.

The Balance Board is therefore well suited for losing weight and as an accompaniment to a diet, it can reduce fat in a targeted manner and, in the case of overweight, enable coordination exercises that support weight loss. It should always be remembered that the balance board can be used in all positions, also for abdominal muscle training. 

Only the permissible weight on the board must be taken into account here and, if necessary, a model must be used that also allows a higher weight class.

What are the health benefits of using a balance board?

The deep muscles can recede and have to be rebuilt, especially in the case of frequently sedentary activities or lack of exercise. With the balance board, seldom used deep muscles are trained. In addition, the ability to react, the coordination of the body and the associated sense of balance are improved, the tendons, ligaments and joints in the legs are strengthened. Furthermore the muscles are loosened, a balance of the physical sensation is created, injuries are prevented. Tension can also be relieved with exercises on the board.

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