How do balance boards work? (Explained for beginners)

By Rob Toneward •  Updated: 01/18/22 •  10 min read

In the world of fitness, balance boards are a great way to improve your coordination and build strength in your core.

Balance boards come with different levels of difficulty that range from beginner to advanced.

As with any product, what you get is always based on the price you are willing to pay.

But how exactly does a balance board work?

Read on to know more about this fitness item that people have been using for years now.


how do balance boards work

What is a balance board and what are its benefits?

A balance board is a round platform with an angled bottom. When you stand on the board, it will cause instability.

This results in forcing your body to use the muscles to maintain its balance.

The more advanced the board, the harder it becomes for you to keep your balance.

As you try to right yourself, this makes your core muscles work even harder than before. With enough practice and by maintaining proper form, you can improve agility and balance that will help with other areas of your life like sports or outdoor activities.       

Balance boards were initially designed as an unstable base for skateboards but soon became popular as workout equipment used specifically to tone up core muscles without having to hit the gym.  

It can also be used to improve coordination, balance, posture, and muscle strength.

There are other ways to get the same benefits you can get from a balance board but many find it more convenient to just use this equipment alone.  

How does a balance board work?

A balance board works by creating an unstable surface.

It is primarily used to strengthen the muscles of your core, improve coordination, and improve balance.

An added benefit of using a balance board is that it also helps you reduce stress on joints brought about by high-impact workouts or activities like running or jumping rope.

Balance boards are often used in physical therapy for people with back problems since it works to strengthen the muscles around the spine while reducing the impact on bones and joints.

It also builds strength in your legs especially in stabilizing muscles which can help reduce knee pain brought about by weak leg muscles.

How do I use my balance board?

To use a balance board, you just simply stand on top of it with both feet.

This instability caused by the tilt will make your muscles work harder to help you maintain balance.

Once you get used to using the board, this is where the real challenge comes in.

To up your game, you can try turning around or standing on one foot while maintaining your balance.

You can also increase the difficulty level by moving your arms around as you balance yourself on top of the board.

The more you try to stabilize yourself, the more your muscles will work which is a great way to tone up fast and burn excess fats.

You might find it difficult at first trying to keep your balance because these boards are harder than what you are used to.

It is recommended to start out with the easiest level and see how you can improve your skills before moving up to more difficult levels.     

To keep yourself balanced, be sure to do it in front of a mirror so you can immediately correct yourself when needed.

You can also place your hand on a wall or chair for support until you are able to master using the board itself.

Balance boards offer various benefits but if not used properly there is no point in wasting time and money on these items.  

The different types of balance boards available

Balance boards come in a variety of styles.

The most popular forms include rockers, wobble boards, Rocker-rollers, Sphere & Ring, and Springboards.

The more advanced ones have pressure sensors to measure your center of gravity.

These will track balance points so you can see the exact areas where your balance is weakest.

Types of balance boards:

If you are a beginner, you can start out with rockers or wobble boards which are more stable than the rest.

The best exercises to do on a balance board

Just standing on the board itself is a good exercise in itself especially for people who have trouble keeping their balance.

Once you master this, try to add in some arm movements while balancing yourself to work out other muscle groups as well.

You can also increase your workout by adding weights or ankle/wrist weights for a more challenging experience.

Below are some of the recommended exercises you can do when using a balance board:

1) Arm Circles

Stand with arms spread out to each side at shoulder height and slowly move them around clockwise for 10 seconds before making counterclockwise movements.  

Do 3 sets of these two different movements and increase reps if needed.

2) Side Lunge And Touch

Stand facing forward with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands reaching out to the side.  

Slowly step to the right while bringing your left hand down to touch the ground.  

Do 3 sets of 10 reps before switching sides.

3) Triceps Dip

Sit near the edge of the board just behind the pivot point, keep your legs stretched out in front of you while resting on your hands which are placed under each thigh.

Bend at elbows and slowly dip yourself towards the ground then straighten up again by pushing back up against pressure underneath thighs.

You can do 3 sets of 8 reps or adjust it accordingly.

4) Straight Leg Raises

Sitting on board (on top pivot point), place both feet together standing straight up pointing towards the ceiling.

Keeping your legs straight, slowly raise them up towards the ceiling then lower them back down to starting position.

Do 3 sets of 8 reps or alter it accordingly.

5) Squats

Standing in front of the board with feet shoulder-width apart and hands behind your head, slowly lower yourself down towards the ground.

Push back up to starting position and repeat.

You can do 3 sets of 12 reps or alter it accordingly.

6) Trunk Rotations

Sit near the edge of the board (on top pivot point), legs stretched out in front straight up pointing towards the ceiling with both palms face down on each side of self.

Rotate trunk from left to right extending one hand further than the other than reverse directions rotating the other way.

Do three sets of 10 reps each way and increase reps if needed.

7) Yoga Moves

By doing bench-like poses and arm balances, you can work out various muscle groups simultaneously while keeping your balance.

8) Aerobic Exercises

You can also do aerobic exercises on a balance board by stepping back and forth on the board with different variations being done each time to add challenge to workout routine such as walking lunges,

Balance boards provide a good workout in itself and they are very portable which makes them ideal for at-home workouts when you don’t have time to go to the gym or do other types of fitness classes.

You can also use them at the office especially during your breaks for quick exercise that can be done without anyone noticing.

Balance boards vs other fitness equipment – which is better

I wouldn’t say one is better than the other, however, a balance board has many benefits that other fitness equipment doesn’t have because of its unique design where you basically just need to stand on it in order to get a good workout.

Balance boards are also usually smaller and compact which can be useful for home exercise equipment.

Here are some advantages that balance boards have over other types of exercise equipment:

1) Portability – You can easily take them with you anywhere (e.g., office, school, or friend’s place).

Since they don’t require much space, they won’t get in your way.

2) low cost – They are relatively cheaper compared to things like treadmills, ellipticals, and weight lifting machines used for building muscle mass & improving cardiovascular function.

3) Challenge – Balance board workouts can be challenging in their own way which is why they’re highly effective when it comes to working out various muscle groups.

4) Balance & core strength – Most balance board exercises work your abs, obliques, and lower back which are important in maintaining functional movement in daily life.

5) Rehabilitation exercise – They can be used along with other types of fitness equipment (e.g., treadmill, elliptical machines, etc.) for rehabilitating injuries because there’s less impact on joints plus you get a good upper and lower body workout at the same time.

6) Variety– Since balance boards aren’t very mainstream yet, they have a low chance of becoming boring or repetitive which means you don’t get bored of the workouts so fast and you can continue to challenge yourself and progress.

Tips for staying safe while using a balance board

If you’ve never used a balance board before or you’re trying it for the first time, then I highly recommend that you take it slow and do not overextend yourself.

Here are some tips to help ensure that your body is in good condition when doing balance board exercises:

Final thoughts

Balance board work by challenging your muscles to work harder in order to maintain balance.

When you lose your balance, it triggers a reflex in the brain which in turn sends a signal to the muscle telling it to contract in order to prevent you from falling off.

Since balance boards are becoming more popular as exercise equipment that’s portable & affordable, there’s been more research conducted on its effectiveness as a rehabilitation tool for those with injuries or chronic pain.

I hope this article has helped answer your question on how exactly do balance boards work? If not then feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can! Thank you for reading.

Rob Toneward