I want to introduce you to the balance board, one of my favourite toys to add to my clients’ training sessions. You might have seen this in your gym, probably sitting in a corner somewhere and covered in dust. Here are five exercises (besides just standing on it and trying to balance) that you can do that will strengthen your core, improve your balance and hip stability and increase your overall body strength.
Balance Board Push up – strengthens upper body and core
You can do these two ways, with your hands on the balance board, or your feet on the balance board. Keeping the board level with the floor do a push up like you normally would while you use your core to keep your hips from rocking side to side. Aim for 3 sets of 10.
Balance Board Plank – strengthens upper body and core
Again, this exercise can also be done two different ways. Hold a front plank position with your elbows on the balance board or place your feet on the balance board and your elbows on a matt. To increase the difficulty of this exercise you can place your elbows on a bosu or a stability ball while placing your feet on the board. Hold for 30-60 seconds and work on keeping the board still while you maintain stable hips.
Straight Arm Balance Board Plank Knee-ins – strengthens upper body and core
This one is tough. In a push up position with your hands placed on the outside of the board, slowly bring one knee towards your chest, while maintaining a neutral spine and level board. Slowly return your leg back, place your foot on the floor and repeat on the other side. Aim for 10 on each side without letting your hips shift or either side of the board touch the floor.
Balance Board Hip Lifts – strengthens hamstrings, glutes and core
Lie on your back on a matt and place your feet hip width apart on the board. Maintaining a neutral spine position, lift your hips up off the matt by engaging your hamstrings and then return your back onto the matt. Repeat 20 times.
Balance Board Lunges – strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and core
Turn the wobble board so it is perpendicular to your body, place one foot on the center of the wobble board and the other foot behind you in a lunge position. While keeping the wobble board still drop your back knee to the floor, ensuring that your front knee does not extend over your toe and then use your glutes on the front leg to lift your body back to its starting position. Aim for 20 each side and as you become stronger you can start adding free weights and upper body exercises such as bicep curls and shoulder presses.