Top 6 Balance Training Tools of 2022
Improving your balance and stability is a sure-fire way to take your athletic performance to the next level. From speed and agility to precision and maneuverability, your ability to balance is the backbone of human motion.
Every time you move, your brain and body have to perform an incredible amount of lightning-fast calculations and fluid precision movements to keep you in the correct position.
Without the muscles and biological systems of the body working together to keep you balanced, every movement you make would end up uncoordinated and ineffective to its intended purpose.
Luckily, these systems and stabilizing muscles in the body are something that you can train. This article breaks down the top tools at your disposal to improve your balance and stability.
How to Improve Your Balance and Stability
Improving your balance and stability boils down to training four different systems in your body:
- Visual System
- Vestibular System
- Somatosensory System
- Supporting Muscle Groups
The visual system is the backbone of how your body figures out how and where it needs to move to keep you stable and balanced. Your brain takes the information fed to it by your eyes and makes high-speed calculations to orient your body. Over time, you can improve the efficiency of making these calculations. As a result, your balance and stability also improve.
The vestibular system, or more commonly referred to as the inner ear, is the organs that act like the bubble of a level telling your body what its orientation is in space. Whenever you do any form of balance training, your body gets better at understanding the relationships between your orientation and what adjustments it needs to make to keep you balanced.
The somatosensory system is all of the physical input your body uses to understand its environment. This includes touch, pain, temperature, and a cool feature called proprioception. Proprioception is your ability to know your body’s position in space without seeing it. Like if you close your eyes and move your arms above your head, you have an innate understanding to know its exact position at that moment.
The muscles supporting balance and stability play a critical role in tying all of your efforts together. The more effort you focus on training your balance and stability, the more you will engage and strengthen the major muscle groups and supporting muscles required for effective movement. These improvements also have a massive impact on progressing every other movement-based aspect of your athleticism.
Best Balance Training Tools
A good training tool for balance and stability either focuses on training in one specific system or combines many of the four systems to work together.
Here is a list of the top tools to help you maximize your balance and stability training:
Best Balance Board:
Best Wobble Board:
Best Balance Pad:
Best Half Bosu Ball:
Best Vibration Plate:
Prices Listed as of 01/28/2022
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Balance boards gained notoriety in the world of professional surfing. They quickly shifted to adoption by athletes in nearly every sport for their ability to transform your balance and stability in movement.
Training with a balance board lets you take your visual, vestibular, and somatosensory systems and shift them into overdrive. Just like the immense balance required for board sports, balance boards give you a variable surface your body gradually adapts to, giving you greater and greater control.
The additional appeal of balance boards is that the difficulty progresses as your skills develop. So instead of mastering the use of the device and maxing out the positive benefits, you can make the exercises progressively more difficult as your balance improves.
The Indo Board is a pioneer in the market and is an excellent choice that combines the functionality of both a rocker board and a wobble board. But there is also a broad market of boards that each have their own advantages. We’ll list some of the best boards below.
Wobble boards are similar in function to balance boards. But unlike most traditional rolling balance boards, wobble boards have a more pronounced focus on the forward to back movement requiring additional flexion.
Not only are wobble boards an excellent tool for balance development, but they are also fantastic at challenging the supporting muscles required for building a solid foundation of stability.
The wobble board’s design allows for a variety of both lower and upper body exercises, maximizing your ability to build core strength right alongside the development of your stabilizing muscles. As an added bonus, the capability for additional flexion makes them a powerful ally in bulletproofing your joints like the wrists and ankles.
Are you really searching for a challenge to boost your balance and stability? Then you don’t need to look any further than the slackline.
When you think of “masters of balance,” you’re likely to think of acrobatic tight-rope walkers precariously stretched over terrifying heights.
Rock climbers had the same thought, then took the idea of tight-rope walking and modified it into a powerful balance-building tool with less tension called the slackline.
Unlike the dangerous stakes of high-line rope walking, you can secure a slackline at a low (and let’s not forget safe) height between two trees.
Slacklining is incredibly challenging for beginners. But just like any new sport, as you adapt, you gradually become more proficient. The upside is, the better you get on the slackline, those skills translate to powerful balance, stability, focus, and coordination abilities that provide you with massive performance boosts in all other athletic domains of movement.
Best Stability Training Tools
Balance pads use foam or thick, soft material to create an unstable surface that improves stability and core strength. What looks like a simple device actually does an excellent job of strengthening the muscles used for stabilization and improving balance.
Any time your body encounters an unstable surface, a lot is going on in your body to maintain your position. Your brain makes lightning-fast calculations to make tiny adjustments in the muscles surrounding your joints to keep you stable.
The balance pad amplifies any slight movement throughout an exercise. Because of this, you bring all the systems required for balance into play, and it provides resistance necessary for building strength and endurance in your stabilizers and core.
Half Bosu Ball
The Bosu Ball takes the same concept of an unstable surface as a balance pad but adds in additional instability of having a spherical surface to contend with during exercise.
When you do exercises on a Bosu Ball, you’re forcing your body to improve balance and engage the stabilizer muscles to compensate for the volatility of the round surface.
The half-Bosu ball vs. a fully round balance ball gives you more versatility with the exercises you’re able to complete. While you can advance to performing many exercises on a full Bosu Ball, you may have seen enough “gym fail compilation” videos to determine your own risk-to-reward approach to the ball you select.
An additional benefit of most half-Bosu Balls is flipping them over and using the flat surface as a wobble board. Combined with its traditional use, you have a tool that spans a broad array of your balance and stability training needs.
If unstable surfaces are the foundation of stability and balance, vibration plates are the high-powered industrial machinery of stability training.
Vibration plates are platforms that move in all three directions, up and down, side to side, and front to back, most having an incredible frequency of 25-50 muscle contractions per second.
The lateral movements kick your stability, balance, and coordination systems into high gear. At the same time, the vertical movements focus on packing a punch to build muscle strength.
Aside from improving your balance and stability, whole-body vibration therapy comes with a whole cascade of benefits, from improving bone density to increasing oxygen delivery throughout your body.