A balance board trainer is a training device used to improve leg strength, balance and coordination. Considered a central part of many total body fitness programs, the balance board is used by athletes in a range of fields, from soccer to wakeboarding. Balance board trainers also are utilized by physical therapists to help people with balance and motor skill issues.
There are three types of balance board trainers: a wobble board, a single and a team balance board. The balance board is designed so that the user must utilize specific back and leg muscles to retain his or her balance. Failure to properly manipulate the body will result in a tipping motion, forcing the person to adjust his or her balance to remain on the board. Initially, most people can stay on the board for only a few moments, but this time can be increased easily with additional practice and effort.
A wobble board is a circular disk with half of a ball installed in the center. The ball side is placed on the floor, and the person stands on the top of the disk. The user must adjust his or her weight in order to keep the board horizontal and remain upright. This simple device is a great way to build leg and core body strength with minimal risk. People who are recovering from a leg, knee or ankle injury should have a grab bar close by for additional support and safety.
A single balance board has a similar design but is more rectangular in shape and has a roller underneath. The primary use of this board is to strengthen the lateral movement muscles in the knees and hips. This type of balance board trainer requires more core strength than the wobble board and often is used by athletes during physical therapy.
A team balance board is much larger and has extra handles so that it can be attached to weights and other stabilizing devices. Two people can use this type of balance board trainer simultaneously, with each person adapting to the movements of the other person on the board. This device is a great way to built fine muscle control and increase response times. It is also quite expensive and usually is found only in professional gyms.
When selecting a balance board trainer, a consumer should check the product specifications and sizes with care. Most units will state the weight limit in the product description, along with the height range that is suggested for the device. Using a balance board trainer that is the wrong size only increases the risk of injury and does not yield better results.