With a name like the ‘wobble’ board, this piece of gym equipment might sound more like a child’s toy than something that can give you a killer workout. You can start simply by just standing on the board or transform everyday exercise, such as squats, into ab hardening strength moves. In addition to building strength, the wobble board also can help you avoid injuries by increasing core strength and body proprioception.
A wobble board, also known as a balance board, puts you on an unstable surface. As you bend and bow, your core muscles engage to keep you upright. Over time, this teaches your sensory muscles to help you maintain your balance no matter what surface you are on, also known as proprioception. This can help you avoid some injuries, such as slipping when you are hiking, walking across a slick spot of black ice or biking in the rain.
Using the wobble board does more than help you avoid a fall; it also helps tone and strengthen your leg muscles. While this leads to a killer pair of stems, it also makes for a total body workout. A study published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” in 2008 had a set of athletes do a variety of traditional moves, such as front lunges, side lunges and calf raises, on a range of unstable surfaces. There was increased activity for all muscles other than the rectus femoris—part of your quadriceps muscles—when these moves were performed on a wobble board compared to stable ground, an unstable disc or bosu ball. When it came to engaging your lower abdominals and calf muscles, only the wobble board and stability ball effectively engaged these muscles.
Duration and Frequency
If you already follow a steady workout routine, then the wobble board might just be what you need to breakthrough to the next level. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean adding hours to your workout; just a couple of minutes a few times a week should do the trick. A study published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” in 2009 took 26 collegiate women athletes and examined how a wobble board could affect their training. The experimental group performed 10 minutes of balance board training four days a week in addition to their regular workouts. At the end of the study, the experimental group had significant improvements to their core strength and single-leg squats compared to the control group.
Example of Exercises
When starting out with the wobble board, keep things simple. Begin with a basic wobble board balance move by placing both feet on the board and rocking back and forth. Work up to 30 seconds of continuous rocking. To make the move more challenging, move the board in a circular motion. To keep increasing the intensity, try balancing on just one foot, playing a game of catch or doing squats.
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.