How do I Choose the Best Wobble Balance Board?

Henry Gaudet

A wobble balance board is an excellent tool for improving core muscle strength, for recovering from an ankle or knee injury or for improving balance. Athletes, physiotherapy patients and martial artists use these boards for training, and many people use them for simple recreation and general fitness. Selecting the best one will depend on your needs. Three basic wobble board designs are available, each with their own merits and limitations. You will need to consider the board’s surface, height, ease of use and versatility when selecting one.

Balance, whether on a tightrope or a balance board, is important for developing coordination and keeping motor skills sharp.
Balance, whether on a tightrope or a balance board, is important for developing coordination and keeping motor skills sharp.

Two-piece wobble balance boards consist of a flat board resting on cylinder or sphere. These can be challenging for beginners to mount, but they do provide excellent strength training. Compared with one-piece boards, these can sit quite high. This type of wobble balance board also provides a good simulation of other board sports and often is used by surfers, skaters and snowboarders for training. Professional performers might use objects such as tin cans or bowling balls to make improvised boards, but this practice is not recommended for amateurs and certainly not for beginners.

Rocker balance boards are great for people who wish to improve balance and coordination.
Rocker balance boards are great for people who wish to improve balance and coordination.

The typical one-piece wobble balance board is made from a circular platform with a semi-sphere attached to the bottom. These boards can tip in any direction for greater versatility and a more complete workout as core muscles are constantly used to correct balance. This type of board is likely to be used for physiotherapy, sports training, rehabilitation and recreation.

Balance boards with different types of bases are available.
Balance boards with different types of bases are available.

Rocker boards might be a good option for novices or for people who wish to improve poor balance or coordination. Rockers are attached to the bottom of a platform, allowing the board to tip only from side to side. Many boards with this design sit low to the ground, making them quite stable. These wobble balance boards are easy to mount and to use, but they offer only limited challenge to practiced users, and they lack the versatility of other designs.

A simple board or beam can help for balance training until a person is skilled enough for a wobble board.
A simple board or beam can help for balance training until a person is skilled enough for a wobble board.

Beginners will find working with a large board easier, whichever style of wobble balance board is selected. Depending on your balance and coordination, a board with a limited range of motion might suit you better than a board that can pivot in any direction. The board’s height also affects stability, and a wobble balance board with a short pivot point will be more stable than a tall board.

If you are seeking a more challenging exercise, a small platform is effective. By placing the feet close together, the individual is not able to simply shift weight to maintain balance but must use the core muscles. A higher pivot point or fulcrum allows the board to tip much farther to the side for an even greater challenge. Safety becomes a greater concern when using more challenging boards, and a spotter might be helpful when your are first using a new device.

A wobble balance board may benefit someone recovery from a knee injury.
A wobble balance board may benefit someone recovery from a knee injury.

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Discussion Comments

anon1002849

Depends. Are you rehabbing an ankle, like I am, or trying for more stability, etc.? I have used both just fine. I tend to prefer the air ones, by your mileage may vary. Best of luck.

anon281737

I wanted to find out more information about the air filled type wobble boards. Are they harder or easier than the more sturdy wood or cork ones?

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