If you are a looking to improve your overall levels of fitness or if you suffer from postural problems or are prone to injury then a balance board could be a great addition to your workout regime. However, if you are new to the world of balance boards it can seem like a minefield choosing the right one. We take a look at the best balance boards in the UK as well as delving in to the differences between the various types of board.
Why Use A Balance Board?
Sometimes referred to as wobble boards, balance boards can help to restore our equilibrium (centre of balance). The daily activities that we undertake can have a large impact on our equilibrium over time and this can lead to postural problems and in turn can make us more prone to injury. Those of us who have sedentary jobs will often have more postural issues but even those of us in quite active jobs can benefit from a balance board.
In addition to having postural repair capabilities, balance boards can help improve co-ordination, reaction speeds, help develop core muscles and can be particularly effective at helping to prevent injury to joints such as the knees, ankles and hips – as well as helping to rehabilitate from injuries to these joints.
Balance boards are easy to add to your existing fitness regime, they are generally very portable and do not take up a lot of space so most people will choose them as a home workout option. With most balance board workouts needing no longer than 10-15 minutes it is something you can undertake on a daily basis if you so wish as there is no way of overtraining unlike with isolation exercises.
Balance Board Types
There are generally 4 different types of balance boards and this is where the confusion comes in for many people who are new to them. Each type of board will have the same general benefits as the next but some will have more of an impact on certain parts of the body than others and some will require greater levels of expertise than others.
The four types of boards are:
- Wobble Balance Board
- Rocker Balance Board
- Rocker-Roller Balance Board
- Sphere & Ring Balance Board
Wobble: Wobble boards are pretty much the most common, hence why it has become a common name for all boards. Wobble boards have a much shallower learning curve and so they are well suited to beginners. They tend to be made out of either plastic or wood and feature a dome shape to the underside or topside which means it or you can move in 360 degrees of motion. If you are new to balance boards then we would suggest opting for a board with a larger surface area as this will be easier to use.
Rocker: Rocker boards are generally used by an older demographic or those with the greatest mobility and balance needs. These boards rock forwards and backwards and are generally bigger than other types of boards (especially the curved boards).
Rocker-Roller: Rocker-Roller boards offer a much tougher test of balance as there is no fixed point for the board to pivot on – instead the board (that is often shaped similar to a skateboard) rests on a cylindrical base which moves along with the board which moves sideways along the cylinder.
Sphere & Ring: These types of boards are generally considered the hardest to master. They feature a larger inflatable ball with a ring that sits around the outside. The smaller the ring the harder the board will be to use so be sure to check the dimensions of the board before purchasing. This board offers a full range of motion and will not be a first board purchase for most people.
Top 6 Balance Boards
So the benefits of balance boards are clear to see, but with so many different models on the market and with so much variance in price it is hard to know where to start right? Well, we have compiled our favourite balance boards of 2020 and also suggest who they are best suited to.
Bosu Balance Trainer
The Bosu Balance Trainer is one of the tried and tested balance boards that has stood the test of time. It may not be the cheapest balance board on our list but it is one that will appeal to people of all skill and experience levels and one that will most likely never need replacing. Although not strictly speaking a wobble board, the Bosu might be described as a hybrid of a wobble and sphere & ring board.
The Bosu is so highly respected it is often found in gyms across the UK and this is testament to its hardwearing nature. The large dome to the underside means that the Bosu is suitable for beginners and more experienced users alike and it even has two DVD’s included (also downloadable) as well as a wall chart with more than enough exercises to help you light up your core and start improving your stability and strength.
The Bosu Balance Trainer has a diameter of 65cm and can be used both ways up – although most exercises will see you standing on the dome rather than the flat surface. There is a maximum user weight of 136kg and the ridges on the inflatable ball really aid with keeping you stable. The Bosu is suitable for anyone looking to improve their balance, flexibility, strength, develop their core or improve their fine motor skills.
The Bosu is the safest purchase if you really are unsure of the best balance board for you as it is the top all-rounder in our eyes.back to menu ↑
Romix Balance Board
The Romix board is a traditional wobble board made out of wood and comes at a very reasonable price when compared to some of the more expensive options on our list. The Romix board is primarily aimed at beginner and intermediate users and is also a great tool to use in the early stages of rehabilitation from injury.
With a diameter of 40cm, this board is small enough to provide a challenge, but large enough to enable newcomers to get to grips with it pretty quickly. The dome is made from plastic but stands up to its task well and the Romix can withstand up 120kg of user weight. With non-slip pads on the base of the board, the Romix can be used with or without trainers and is the perfect home fitness accessory.
If you are considering buying your first balance board and don’t want to spend a fortune then this is an excellent option.back to menu ↑
The Indo board has become one of the best selling balance boards in recent years and that is partly down to its interesting designs but mainly down to the fact that it is extremely well designed and made from high end materials. As a wooden Rocker-Roller type board the Indo is going to require a little more skill and stability than some of the other boards on our list, but if you are looking for something that is going to push you to your limits then the Indo could be a lifelong fitness partner.
Measuring up at 76cm x 45cm, the board sits atop a large roller. The main deck is made from cabinet grade Baltic Birch plywood and really does have a premium feel and look to it. In fact, we have seen that some people even hang their Indo Boards to display on their wall at home such is the quality of design and workmanship. We wouldn’t go as far as hanging it on the wall, but in terms of providing an excellent workout it really is a top choice.
Like the Bosu board, the Indo comes with a number of training exercises included on a handy DVD and there are a number of resources on the Indo Board website and on their YouTube channel. Although the Indo Board is a little harder to use than a standard wobble board, as far as rocker-roller boards go it is actually suitable for most ability levels. The reason for this is that the board itself is quite wide at 45cm and that allows a little more forgiveness. The large width of the board also brings in to play a greater range of exercises for you to perform that can develop your strength, flexibility and balance.back to menu ↑
Nalanda Balance Board
The Nalanda board is a rocker-roller that features not one but two rollers. It is also one of the most versatile boards in terms of accessibility for all skill and fitness levels. The wooden board features a curved design and has plenty of space for your feet. The board’s deck is 74cm long by 30cm wide (at its widest point) and as such it can provide a stern challenge to the most experienced users just by changing the position of the users feet or hands.
What makes the Nalanda board so unique though is the changeable stoppers to the underside. These removable wooden stoppers are designed to provide different levels of difficulty or to add some extra assistance for those who need it. The stoppers are simply screwed on to the bottom of the board and there are two different placement positions for them. Once you progress you can easily remove them altogether.
Another feature of this rocker-roller is that it has two rollers. One that is made of plastic and that is a little larger and another that is made of cork and provides a lower height – again, this is perfect for beginners.
The board is made from high quality plywood and can support up to 135kg of weight. The deck surface has a non-slip application for added traction and has one of the best designs of all the boards we tested.
The Nalanda is a great option if you are a beginner or intermediate who expects to progress in terms of skill and fitness as it will mean you will not need to buy a new board as your skill level increases.back to menu ↑
Reebok Core Board
The Reebok Core Board seems to be the marmite of the balance board world. Some people love it and some people just don’t get on with it. Reebok have designed their own system for their balance board which has two adjustable levels of stability. It is well made and has one of the best non-slip surfaces of all the boards we tested as the surface is made from rubber. The biggest sticking point for most people seems to be that it offers too much stability, even on the less stable setting.
The Reebok Core in some ways has more versatility than other boards but in some ways it has less. We’d suggest that the range of exercises you can perform on this board are more varied than most – due to the fact that you have a bit more stability. Think of almost any free weight exercise you’d perform on the floor and you can most likely apply it to the Core Board. The problem is that all these exercises are mainly going to focus on your core as well as their main focal point. If your core is the main development target for you then great, but if you want to really develop those other connections then it might be best to look elsewhere.
Some people have claimed the benefits for rehabilitation from injury with the Reebok Core are excellent and again, this is going to be due to the extra support afforded. This board will most likely also appeal to those with mobility issues or the older generations.
The Reebok Core measures up at 72cm x 53cm x 17cm and by now you will probably have decided whether or not it is for you!back to menu ↑
Core Balance Trainer
The Core Balance Trainer is essentially a wobble board with resistance bands built in. This is quite a novel idea and at first we thought it might be a bit of a gimmick – the reality however is that it provides a real extension and brings resistance training in as a viable option whilst using the board. We wouldn’t recommend using free weights when using a wobble board but the resistance bands keep things safe but allow you to bring in exercises such as lateral raises, bicep curls and more. If you no longer wish to use the resistance bands then they can be removed.
The Core Balance Trainer is available in three different colours and is perhaps best considered a premium budget option. The diameter of the board is 60cm and so is suitable for beginners and intermediate users. More advance users will probably find the Core Balance Trainer too easy and should look more towards the Nalanda or Indo board.
The dome can be used either way up and adds a little more versatility to the exercises you can perform and both sides have an anti-slip design.
If you are looking for a full body workout from your balance board then this offering from Core Balance is hard to beat.