A balance dome is a multi-purpose piece of exercise equipment. It consists of half of an exercise ball with a solid plastic plate attached to the bottom. Balance boards combine features of several different types of equipment such as the balance board and exercise ball and hence are useful for a range of different training techniques. These include balance and stability training as well as strength exercises such as push ups.
The standard size for a balance dome is around 17 inches (45 centimeters) to 21 inches (55 centimeters). The ball part of the dome can be inflated or deflated which makes it easy to transport. Pumping up an exercise dome requires a foot pump although this is usually included in the package.
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Many exercise domes also include tubing that can be attached to the base. This is commonly used for stability exercises — especially if the person is yet to master all the exercises or has poor balance. Tubing and handles are also useful for people using the exercise dome for injury rehabilitation. If elasticized tubing is provided with the dome then this can also be used to provide resistance in certain exercises.
Exercise domes are sometimes used for rehabilitation of ankle and other lower leg injuries. When an injury is sustained this can often weaken muscles that provide stability. Stability training equipment such as the balance dome is used to mimic an unstable situation which helps to build up the muscles to the desired level. Sometimes these types of exercises are referred to as proprioception exercises. Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense where it is relative to other objects and is vital for stability and balance.
One of the most basic stability exercises using a balance dome is to turn it onto its ball side, stand on the flat part of the dome and hold the tubing for support. The ball will start to wobble creating an instability that must be countered by the person performing the exercise. This may be difficult to begin with but after a period of time, the person’s balance and stability will start to increase. When the exercise becomes straightforward the tubing can be dropped in order to increase the difficulty.
Another exercise, called the balance dome push-up, increases both muscle strength and upper body stability. The person using the dome performs a push up on the flat side. Due to the ball side of the dome being in contact with the floor the added instability makes it much harder than a regular push up.