The balance board is a fun and challenging way to work your core muscles. Balance board exercises are a great way to strengthen the muscles needed for balance and stability, which is important for just about everything you do in life.
Balance boards are usually used in physical therapy programs but you can use one at home for your regular workout routine too. These exercises can be done by anyone who has a balance board, whether they have an injury or not – everybody benefits!
Let’s focus on injury prevention and increased balance and stability in everyday life! In this post we will list 10 creative balance board exercises that will really challenge your core and get you stronger.
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Benefits of using a balance board for exercise
The benefits of balance training can be enjoyed by all, and you don’t need a personal trainer to reap those benefits. Balance boards are used for many purposes across different professional fields.
Of course, many people have heard of balance board use among physical therapists, professional athletes, and dancers. Singers are also known to use a balance board while working to build core muscles needed for breath control and diaphragmatic breathing.
We know the benefits in these cases are focused on strength, balance, and control.
Did you know there are other benefits such as improvements in spatial awareness and added input to your proprioceptive system? The proprioceptive system helps us to know where we are in space through pressure input and overall body awareness.
This also helps to build mind body connections, which is why balance boards are also used by psychologists. To maximize cognitive and physical input, I even used balance boards with my students when I was a Special Education teacher.
So, no matter the reason for getting started with these balance board exercises, here are some benefits in a nutshell for why you should stick with them:
- Great for improving stability, coordination and functional strength in the lower body.
- Improved posture through stronger core muscles.
- Toned up abs, strengthened back muscles, hips and glutes!
- Improved balance.
- Improves cognitive function through working on spatial awareness and proprioceptive system input.
- Targeted functional strength for everyday activities.
- Great for injury prevention!
- They’re also really fun and a great way to change up your exercise routine!
For more exercises that challenge your balance and strengthen your core, check out my ballet-inspired workout here!
Getting started with your balance board
First off, do you own your very own balance board yet? No? Let me help you with that!
Y’all know I just re-certified as a personal trainer – and aside from that, I have a passion for fitness and wellness. So I happened to already have this balance board. I like it because it has a non-slip surface, and also because it’s lightweight so it’s easy for me to take my exercise outdoors when it’s not sweltering hot out here in this Georgia weather.
People use balance boards for all types of purposes. So, over time, the designs have evolved to meet everyone’s needs. There are primarily five different balance boards which include: rocker boards, rocker-roller, wobble, sphere-and-ring, and spring boards.
While they all of course increase your sense of balance, I would not suggest a rocker balance board for the purpose of these exercises, as you would be limited to just side to side movements. Nor would I suggest a rocker roller or sphere-and-ring balance boards because they are quite challenging and do not provide an adequate base for execution of these exercises.
My balance board is a version of the wobble balance board which is a circular, flat board. It is a perfect board for these exercises.
If I am ever in the market for a new board, I definitely would invest in a spring balance board. However, these are more stationary and don’t lend themselves to a flexible exercise space, so that is important to consider.
You might be asking yourself, “How do I get on this thing?”
If this is your first time on a balance board, you may want to start out by simply getting a feel for what it’s like stepping onto the board first. Grab onto something close by like a wall, table, or sturdy chair. Hang onto something stationary for support and with both feet on the board, find your center of gravity and engage that core.
With steady, controlled arms, remove one hand, then two as you see fit until you feel you can confidently remain upright and in control on the board. I find it helps to find something across the room to focus on with your eyes.
From this starting point, you will know which small adjustments to make with your posture as you begin to activate those stabilizer muscles. Let’s do this!
10 Awesome Balance Board Exercises
For video of these exercises, see my Balance Board Exercise Web Story.
Balance Board Tilt
This starter exercise should be a breeze now that you’ve gotten a feel for stepping onto the balance board and activating those core muscles!
Your starting position for several of the exercises will be a basic stance with both feet shoulder-width apart on the board with your weight evenly distributed through your feet. From here, you will work through three basic moves.
First, in a controlled motion, you will tilt forward and back. The next set will be from side to side. Last, do a round the clock movement with one set going clockwise. Transition to the opposite direction and do another set counterclockwise in this circular motion.
For all of these tilt actions, focus on your posture by engaging your abdominal well, keeping a slight bend in the knees, and controlled arms.
It is better to hang onto that stationary object and have control instead of flailing about and causing an injury to yourself or others around you! Remember, we want to prevent those ankle sprains, bumps, and bruises, not cause them!
Balance Board Squat
A balance board squat is just like your basic squat – but on an unstable surface.
Standing on the board with your feet shoulder width apart, bend at the knees and work your way toward a squat position bending in a 90- degree angle at your knees. Start off with a shallow movement and focus on form with your chest up and your butt out.
The stronger and more stable you get, the lower you will be able to go.
Remember to breathe! Exhale as you get deeper into the movement.
Balance Board Plank
If you’re familiar with a traditional plank, the set up for our next exercise should be a breeze.
Start in plank position with your hands on the balance board. Make sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists. If you wish, it is also completely acceptable to start on your forearms instead of your hands – or even start with your knees on the floor.
Keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground in that plank or starter push-up position, hold for 30 seconds. Life is all about forward progress so if you can only hold for 15 seconds, that’s ok! Aim for 20 next time!
This next one is a great exercise you’ll surely want to incorporate into future workout routines! I think this is one of the more challenging exercises of this balance board workout, but also the most beneficial because you’re using our body weight to hit major muscles that will result in better balance that your will surely feel the results form in your daily routines
Start with the balance board in front of you and plant one foot on the board with the other on the floor as you prepare to move down into a lunge position. Keep your weight distributed forward slightly, so that the board stays in place under your front foot on the balance board. Lower yourself down into a lunge, then back up.
Repeat on both sides. Feel the burn!
Again, If you’re familiar with traditional push-ups or planks, then you already know how to get into our starting position!
With your hands or forearms firmly planted in the middle of the board, keep you back flat and a neutral spine keeping your chin away from your chest. Drive the knees in toward your chest alternating your right leg and your left leg
For this exercise, you will start by lying on your back with your arms down at your side and your legs bent with your feet flat on the floor. You will position the balance board under your feet and as you breathe out, squeeze your glutes and lift your pelvis to the ceiling while stabilizing your foot stance through using your core musculature and core stability.
For a greater challenge, you can keep your right foot planted while straightening and lifting your left leg. Keeping that board stable, switch and do the same with the left foot.
Pushups on the Balance Board
A new way to jazz up a classic push-up is through the use of the balance board. Also, this is one of the best ways to strengthen the upper body while also working on balance work.
A good challenge as it is would be to start in the pushup position with both hands on the balance board. Remember, keep those abdominal muscles tight as you complete this exercise, and remember: good form is more important than multiple reps with poor posture or form.
As with many of these other exercises when wobble board training, you can adjust the skills level to create more advanced exercises if you so desire. For example, one variation is to perform offset pushups by alternating sets and which hand you keep at the center of the board. Another greater challenge would be to put your feet on the board and complete decline pushups.
Hands down one of the most challenging exercises, yet the most rewarding, is the balance board burpees.
You’re going to first squat down with your hands on the balance board then jump your feet back into a plank position, then jump your feet back in and bring your body back up to standing position while raising the board over your head.
Squat to put the board back down, jump back, and keep going!
You’re not only going to feel this in your upper extremities, but you will almost immediately feel this efficient workout in your whole body. Your heart rate will soar, giving you cardiovascular benefits as well!
To reduce the risk of injury, listen to your body and again, focus on form, form, form!
Sitting on our bottom with legs bent and your feet planted on the floor, start with your balance board behind you. Reach back and place your hands on the board. Don’t keep your hands too close to the edge of the board or else you will get those fingers pinched! Straighten your arms and lift your body off the floor. Bend the elbows and lower down keeping your backside off the floor.
Continue these reps at a steady pace. This exercise is also great for the shoulders as you also are working on range of motion through the shoulders.
Last but not least, we have the most flexible of the wobble board exercises. Incorporating the use of the balance board in conjunction with any strength training exercise is a great addition to take a simple exercise and elevate it by creating more challenging exercises.
You could easily incorporate the balance board when completing exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, or overhead presses!
These 10 creative balance board exercises to increase core strength are a great way for moms, dads, and kids alike to get in shape. The above exercises are fun and easy-to-follow, so join me in trying them out at home for just a few minutes of time each day!
Get more home workouts and fitness tips here!