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Balance boards .. any good?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
A fitness trainer is trying to convince me that a balance board is vital for dry land training.. looks like fun really, but i'm wondering if there really is something to those things.
.. kinda reminded me of bode's unicycle
post #2 of 20
Well, first there was Ingemar Stenmark's uni.

Then I read/watched this:
http://www.pbs.org/saf/1206/segments/1206-2.htm
post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx
A fitness trainer is trying to convince me that a balance board is vital for dry land training.. looks like fun really, but i'm wondering if there really is something to those things.
.. kinda reminded me of bode's unicycle
I do something for balance every time I go to the gym.
If nothing else it will help you walk the white line when the trooper pulls you over for those beers you had after skiing.
post #4 of 20
Where in the workout do you throw those in?

After warmup?

As a body-weight-only "finisher", e.g. 50 balance board pushups after weights?
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex
Where in the workout do you throw those in?

After warmup?

As a body-weight-only "finisher", e.g. 50 balance board pushups after weights?
After lifting /before cardio.
With the balance board try doing squats,also hold a nice tuck for a min.or two. Pushups,as you say ,is also a good one.
If your familiar with planks for your core ,you can use the board for that as well.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
oh wow, and here i thought you were just supposed to stand on them
any other balance board exercises that worked for you?

clueless jinx
post #7 of 20
Jinx,

I do foreward and side to side "rolls" both one footed and two footed. Stop the movement in the center and hold for a moment then continue to "land" on the other side, then reverse. 6 sets of 10 reps (2 feet forward&side to side + each foor forward and side to side). Do them anywhere in the workout after the warm up as in between exercise rests or if preferred equipment is busy. Start the one footed reps using your hand on a wall to help and gradually reduce support until you can do it without help.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
so I bought one.. just standing on it is not as easy as i thought

edit: i've got horrible balance

jinx
post #9 of 20
hard to describe ANY implement as being 'vital to dry land training', however, the balance board is a great tool, for all-around medlalateral centering for most sports.
there are some cheap implements that i find to be better ski-specific dryland tools, but the balance board still scores a big thumbs-up overall.
a cheap wal-mart skateboard, a set of waterski bindings, an 18" x 12" scrap of plywood and a cheap garage-sale treadmill will do amazing things for your secondary muscles which control edging....
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx
so I bought one.. just standing on it is not as easy as i thought

edit: i've got horrible balance

jinx
No, you have excellent balance.
you just have to find your center.
don't forget this.
post #11 of 20
For snowboarding, I've found the balance board to contribute quite a bit for sliding boxes and rails, particularly in terms of movement being controlled through the upper body in this context. Less so directly for other aspects of riding, but it's great fun and good for rainy days.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook
For snowboarding, I've found the balance board to contribute quite a bit for sliding boxes and rails, particularly in terms of movement being controlled through the upper body in this context. Less so directly for other aspects of riding, but it's great fun and good for rainy days.
that's a very directly-correlated movement.
amazing exercise for rails jibbing in general
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlad
hard to describe ANY implement as being 'vital to dry land training', however, the balance board is a great tool, for all-around medlalateral centering for most sports.
there are some cheap implements that i find to be better ski-specific dryland tools, but the balance board still scores a big thumbs-up overall.
a cheap wal-mart skateboard, a set of waterski bindings, an 18" x 12" scrap of plywood and a cheap garage-sale treadmill will do amazing things for your secondary muscles which control edging....
i'm intrigued maybe we should start a thread on 'cheap implements' of this sort. until then though... what would one do with the skateboard, waterski bindings, plywood and treadmill? or should they be used separately (in which case i'm not so sure about the skateboard.. it hurts )

jinx
post #14 of 20
balance boards are...ok. i used one after i tore my achilles a few years ago. i thought it was a good ankle workout but not such a good balance aid. it just became too easy too quickly.

i can say without a doubt that the BEST balance training i've ever found is YOGA. try holding a reverse half-moon pose for 30+ seconds...then do it with your off leg...then do it with your eyes closed! advanced yoga is just the absolute best skiing workout you can imagine. it improves your balance, flexibility (and resitance to injury), stamina, and concentration...not to mention that it gives you great abs.
post #15 of 20
which brands of balance tools do you all use? Skier's Edge, Fitter, etc?
post #16 of 20
www.vew-do.com , but for skiing as opposed to riding I'm not sure there's that much crossover.

MTB or bmx bike with steep angles for fast steering: slaloming on either is very similar to skiing or riding imo, and requires dynamic balance, so arguably they would be balance tools. You can learn to pump them, a very dynamic form of balance.
post #17 of 20

a little history

oh wow, this is funny.
See, I think Balance Boards are really dangerous. Or, were dangerous. I didn't even know they were regarded as a sane / normal activity these days, or popular, until a few months ago when there was a new version lying around in a gear shop. I see there have been a few technical advances made to it, namely a track for the board on the roller, and a lack of splinters involved. But the potential for wildly shooting yourself onto linoleum, cabinet corners, or mistakenly punching yourself in the face still definitely exists. Is there a "caution" sticker on it these days?

This is all REALLY funny to me because my grandpa invented the darn thing in the 50's, and called it a "Bongo Board". He tested the prototype as a gift to my Aunt when she was 14 or so, and proceeded to take it with him on some of his worldly trips to get input and make improvements. The original was about 8" wide, 24-30" long, and raw flat wood, with a 6" wood cylinder painted red that acted as the pivot (or, death motor. Either way). There's a picture of a kid in africa on this thing. In the dirt. Holding a baby. That's some good balance. Of course, that's where the idea came from originally, so I guess that's not too shocking. Anyway, he never patented it I guess, but that's where all this comes from. Who'd have thunk it?

I can't say I ever mastered the Bongo Board. It was very convenient and useful to have something nearby to grab onto while your feet flew at warp speed in another direction. I do think that balance is a pre-requisite; the board won't produce balance that isn't already there. Maybe the new ones marketed by Balance Designs (BongoBoard.com) and Fitter's (BongoBoard.net) have bells and whistles I dont' know about, but it seems the premise is still the same. Yoga, and other low tech balance options already described here, help immensely the prevention of head-cracking when using the board, and for athletics in general. Especially competition Chess.

Incidentally, grandpa died last fall at the age of 96. The Bongo Board was still in his apartment!
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook
www.vew-do.com , but for skiing as opposed to riding I'm not sure there's that much crossover.
I have one of these and yes I can feel it in the muscles.
post #19 of 20
Try using a vew-do board and raising up on your toes as you do it. Great balance exercise.

Anything that you do to help with balance will help with your skiing. (Well hand stands might not qualify.) Standing on one leg then the other, closing your eyes while standing on one leg, bending and flexing your ankle and knee while standing on one foot, (the leg you're standing on), etc. are all good. Anything to challenge your balance will help.
post #20 of 20
Balance boards are great. I use a vew-do board primarily. It's a little more playful under my feet, unlike the Bongo Board. Wow, for me, the bongo board is really tricky, needs a lot of room because you will fall. I found that balance boards really work on the small muscles in the feet and legs. I believe the time I put into playing on the balance board kept me from losing it on the slopes. The things I do are, separately: I lift small weights, hold a exercise ball in front of me, do the tuck, make the board walk across the floor, time myself for how long i can stay on it, blah, blah, blah.
For me it's been great as an all around trainer for tennis, skateboarding, triking, scootering. At first I had trouble with it, took a little while to leave the chair alone for support. Now I'm very relaxed on it. Have fun with it. Just more toys to play with when it's not snowing.
Tips up
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