We’re all familiar with that twinge of back pain from sitting in a desk chair for hours on end. Leg cramps, stiff joints, and an expanding waistline are all unpleasant side effects of spending day after day working at a desk.
Yet, you can take action and combat these effects. How? Moving more is one way. And you can do just that with the use of a wobble board.
Wobble boards are a sleek and simple innovation that allows you to burn calories, perform exercises, improve balance, and maintain good posture – all while combating the negative effects of sitting.
In this article, we’re going to outline what exactly a wobble board is and how you can use one to perform exercises during the workday.
What is a Wobble Board?
This may well be the first time you’re hearing about wobble boards. Simply put, a wobble board (aka balance board) provides a flat deck for you to stand on, but the underside of the board is curved, lifting you a few inches from the ground. This means that you need to continually adjust your balance to keep yourself steady
So, how is using a wobble board good for our health?
- Burns calories. Studies show that using a balance board instead of sitting burns approximately 19% more calories.
- Greater range of motion.
- Increased heart rate. We know that sitting all day is bad for our health. Using a wobble board at work can increase your heart rate by up to 15%.
Another handy benefit of a wobble board is that it can decelerate the effects of aging. As we grow older, our muscle mass tends to decrease (unless we actively work at it). Along with that, our balance tends to go. Further, extended periods of sitting can do more harm than good, but you may not feel comfortable with vigorous exercise.
A wobble board can be a helpful way of burning calories, upping your fitness, and improving your balance, while, at the same time, decreasing the inevitable effects of aging.
The Top 8 Wobble Board Exercises
Now, let’s get into the good stuff – the exercises! What can you do with a wobble board?
1. The Basic Stance
Every new wobble board user should begin with this one. Once you’ve got the knack of using a wobble board, it will feel like second nature. First, however, you need to practice.
Get into the basic position on the board. This involves a neutral spine, an engaged core, and your feet placed hip width apart. Your feet should be near the outer edge of the board. None of the board’s edges should touch the ground. Your goal is to keep it that way for 20 seconds at a time. Technically, you want to keep the board as stable as possible. However, at first, you may rock as you try to do so. That’s okay. This is what practice is all about!
Start with five reps at a time, and gradually you’ll be able to increase your numbers.
2. Introducing Movement
Once you’re comfortable with the basic stance, you can start to move.
Start by shifting your weight to one side. Don’t rush; you may lose your balance.
When the edge of the board touches the floor, shift your weight so that the front edge touches the floor. Then the opposite side, and finally the back. The idea is to use your feet and weight to roll the wobble board in a slow, circular movement.
Once you’ve finished a complete circle, repeat in the opposite direction.
Tip: If you’re struggling, split the exercise into four parts: front, two sides, and back shift. Practice one at a time if necessary.
3. One Foot Stance
Make sure you’re confident with the earlier exercises before moving on to this one.
Place one foot on the center of the board. Lift your other foot up so that you’re balancing on only one leg. Hold your balance.
To begin with, this exercise may be tricky. Don’t rush when getting into position, and have something nearby in case you lose your balance. If you do, don’t worry! Keep trying. Remember to engage your core and maintain a neutral spine. Start by aiming for 20 seconds, then gradually increase this time to one minute. And don’t forget to switch legs.
4. One Foot Movement
Taking the same position as the one foot stance, we’re going to follow the movement stance actions. This means tilting to one side until the edge touches the floor, then the front, other side, and finally the back.
Be very careful when first attempting this exercise. It’s easy to lose your balance. Go slowly, and once again, you can split the exercise into four parts if necessary. As previously mentioned, ensure you have something stable nearby to grab if you lose your balance.
You can also use your wobble board to do basic exercises such as the squat. Keeping your balance, lower yourself down into a squat position. Your thighs should be parallel with the ground. Then, slowly rise back into the basic stance.
During the movement, keep the edges of the board from touching the ground. Aim to do this 10-12 times for 2-3 sets. Each time you squat down, make sure you engage your core.
6. Balance Bridge
This is just like a regular bridge exercise, except you’ll use your wobble board to support your feet. This exercise challenges your stability muscles, as well as your glutes.
Start by lying on your back, and place your feet, soles down, on the board. Lift your hips into the air, pause, and repeat. Aim for 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets. If there is any pain in your lower back, stop.
7. One Legged Squat
This is a basic yet very difficult exercise. Place your foot in the centre of the board, lifting one leg in the one foot stance. Then, bend the leg supporting your weight until your thigh is parallel with the floor.
Once again, be sure to have something near you for balance.
It may also take some time to build up to this one. If you struggle with the range of motion, you may benefit from hip and ankle mobility and flexibility exercises before you are able to properly perform this one. In other words, don’t sweat it if this one is tricky! It’s definitely a level-up.
8. Leg Lifts
Assume a press up position, with your forearms resting on the board and your toes on the floor behind you. Lift one leg at a time, holding that position for 15-30 seconds. Keep your body straight when you do this. Don’t let your hips sag! Aim to do about 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets.
Tips and Tricks For Wobble Board Exercises
Don’t rush into a wobble board exercise. Balance is crucial here, and it takes time to get used to a new form of exercise, as well as to get used to how the wobble board moves.
Regardless of what exercise you’re doing, keep your core engaged. This provides stability to the body. And surprisingly, a lot of back pain issues stem from a weak core. A wobble board can help!
Keep your spine neutral. Poor posture can make the workouts more difficult and cause more discomfort or pain, especially further on down the road.
Further, it’s important to keep something nearby in case you lose your balance. At work, this shouldn’t be a problem – you can always grab onto your desk or the wall.
Why Should I Try a Wobble Board?
All in all, the wobble board can offer a fun and challenging way to move your body and engage your muscles. Wobble boards can also add an active element to office life which is often lacking. On top of this, you can easily bring your wobble board home or wherever you like to practice. It’s a simple yet effective exercise tool that can get you moving more, helping you combat the negative effects of sitting.