Balance Board Exercises for the Upper Extremities

Adding a balance board to traditional pushups increases the upper body workout.

Adding a balance board to traditional pushups increases the upper body workout.

While the idea behind a balance board is to focus on the core muscles by forcing them to remain stable, its benefits don't have to be limited to that area alone. The instability a balance board creates also increases the focus on upper body muscles when used with traditional upper body exercises. To remain stable on the board, arm and shoulder muscles must work differently. Adding a balance board to your exercise program increases exercise intensity and adds variety to your workout.

Balance Boards

The purpose of balance boards is to create an uneven surface that requires you to focus on steadying yourself. Balance boards come in a variety of shapes and designs. Some are rectangular boards that pivot around a center point, similar to a seesaw. They can also come in circular shapes. Others are inflatable, pillow-like devices. Other names include wobble boards, wobble discs and balance discs.

Pushups

Pushups using a balance board target the muscles in the chest, triceps, shoulders, lower back and abdominal muscles. Make sure your surface is free of debris and place your balance board on the floor. Get down on all fours, but instead of having your hands on the floor, place them on the balance board at shoulder-width distance. Straighten your knees and extend your legs so you are in a pushup position. As you exhale, lower your body toward the floor. Inhale and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for eight to 10 repetitions.

Triceps Dip

The triceps dip focuses on the triceps as well as the chest and shoulder muscles. Sit down on the floor with the balance board slightly behind you. Place your hands on each side of the board. As you exhale, slowly lift your body so your buttocks are about 10 to 12 inches off the floor. As you inhale, slowly lower your body down to the starting position. Repeat for eight to 10 repetitions.

Plank

The plank works both the upper body and lower body and is similar to a pushup. Lower yourself down into a pushup position. Place your hands at shoulder-width distance on the balance board. Slowly raise your left leg until it is slightly higher than your hips. Hold for two to four seconds before slowly lowering to the starting position. Repeat with the right leg. This is one repetition. Repeat for eight to 10 repetitions.

Considerations

Before starting any new exercise program, consult a doctor to discuss any medical conditions. When first using a balance board, take some time to get used to it. Because your muscles will have to adjust to the need to maintain stability, so you may only be able to do a few repetitions at first. Start slowly and gradually progress. Proper form is necessary to reduce the risk of injury and it may take some time to gain the strength in your muscles to maintain stability with a balance board.

 

About the Author

Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.

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