If you have ever had a sporting injury or are an avid exerciser, you may have come across a wobble board either in the gym, at home or in the treatment room!
A wobble board is a great piece of kit which has many benefits.
This guide today is to show some of the best exercises that you can do with a wobble board to help improve your fitness and joint health.
If you haven’t got a wobble board, they can be an inexpensive buy, but one with a high number of benefits, it may be worth the investment.
What is a Wobble Board?
A wobble board is platform that you stand on which provides an unstable surface. It requires you use your lower limbs to control and stabilise the board to ensure it remains still.
Wobble boards come in different shapes, sizes and designs – some being more difficult than others to use.
Wobble boards can be made of wood or plastic and are typically pretty inexpensive to purchase.
Why Use a Wobble Board?
As mentioned in the introduction, the biggest use of wobble boards is typically within a rehabilitation environment within hospital and health clinics.
Wobble boards are an integral part of recovery from certain injuries as they help to promote some excellent parts of physical health
Here are some of the main benefits you will gain from using a wobble board:
- Improved Balance / Proprioception – having great balance is something that will help you to prevent not only injury but will help you to be more functional as you age. Balance can be a part of our function which reduces over time and it does keep us safe. Working on your balance regularly is a great thing to do for your health.
- Improved Lower Limb Strength – the exercises that your perform on the wobble board help to strengthen the lower limbs by holding them in positions for long periods of time. Balance exercises provide isometric contraction to your tendons – keeping tendons strong helps to reduce the chances of developing tendinitis.
- Improved Muscle Stamina – while improving strength, your stamina will also get a boost. The longer you hold these exercises for the better your endurance and ability to use your muscles over longer periods of time can be.
- Improved Foot and Ankle Health – the foot and ankle can be a neglected area of strengthening when it comes to exercise and also modern day footwear which can stop the foot and ankle from functioning as well as it could do. Because the wobble board forces the user to use the foot and ankle to stabilise movement it is great training for this area of the body.
- Reduced Injury Risk – any type of varied exercise you do which is outside of your normal routine helps to condition the body in a different way from it usually is. The wobble board as mentioned previously works the full lower limbs, tendons and muscle whilst also strengthening ligaments of the foot and ankle. It is a great way to prevent injury by making your body more resilient.
- Improved Core Strength – core strength is important for general life in all areas of our daily habit. Core strength helps us with the most mundane tasks in life but also the more complex stuff with exercising. Despite balancing with your lower limbs predominantly – you have to be able to control everything that sits on top of your lower limbs with your core.
- Improved Sporting Performance – because you are improving not only your lower limbs but also your core – this will lead to improved sporting performance, look at it as a form of strength and condoning.
Top 14 – Best Wobble Board Exercises
Before you start, ensure you:
Step on the board from behind, place one foot on at a time. Place your foot in to the middle of the board and then position your feet equally apart and gain your balance.
Try and have a braced posture, with a slight bend in your knees, making sure you are ready to adjust your stance and weight distribution.
Try and reduce any fast jerky movements which could result in a fall.
- Basic Standing – get on the board, feet equal width apart. Start with a target of 5 seconds to try and balance the board as much as you can.
As you get better at this exercise, ensure you increase the time that you perform it so that you get better and stronger. Ensure you have a slight bend in the knees. Best results will come when your feet are towards the edge of the board.
- Tilting – forwards and back – this exercise helps to work the ankle muscles/tendons and ligaments. It can be great when recovering from an ankle injury.
The key with this exercise is to allow the board to slowly tilt forwards and not to hit off the floor. Then when it reaches its most forward point, allow it to tilt back.
The slower you can repeat these repetitions the better for the foot and ankle. Work in small amounts and build the time of these in to longer repetitions.
- Side Tilting – Basically the same as exercise number 2 but just a different direction. This places more focus on different ligaments, tendons and joints of the ankle.
The same technique applies as number 2, just tilt sideways
- Rotations – once you have started to develop good control with the board in static standing, and tilting forwards and back then you may be ready to progress to rotations.
The key with this exercise is to use the knees and hips to encourage a circular motion of the board whilst being able to control it well with the ankles.
This exercise would be classed as an intermediate exercise – ensure you have basic control of the board before attempting.
- Single Leg Balance – just as exercise number one, but now we progress to one foot.
It’s important to note, place your foot in the centre of the board and use your arms out to the side of your body to help you balance.
Start by balancing for short periods of time then progress to longer periods. Ensure you swap to the other leg.
This is a great way to keep any imbalances building up in either of your legs. You will typically find that you have one side that is weaker than the other.
- Single Leg / Foot Tilts – front/back – we continue to progress in to the more difficult exercises.
Once your single leg balance is improving – the next step is to perform the forward back tilt. This does need increased strength and control of the foot and ankle.
- Single Leg/Foot Tilts – side to side – just like exercise number 3, we progress to one foot and attempt to perform the sideways tilt.
Always try to just gradually tilt from side to side, do not attempt big movements as you put yourself at risk of injury.
Develop small movements that slowly build control in the ankle.
- Single Leg Excursion
This exercise further challenges your single leg capability. Start with a simple single leg balance and with the other leg, take it away from the body and move it in to different positions like you are point I to different number on a clock.
By taking the leg away, you create an unstable base and make the standing leg and ankle work harder to control your stance.
- Wobble Squat – this is a great exercise which challenges both balance and strength.
Squatting is a just a great all round strength exercise that translates to our life in general on a day to day basis.
Squatting on a wobble board requires great control in the lower limbs as you have to balance whilst lowering your full body downwards. Most of your exercises will typically be in the standing position so this could be a new challenge for you.
If you are not great at squatting – I would work on a normal squat before attempting a wobble squat!
- Catch and Throw – you need a partner for this.
As the title suggests – you will be catching and throwing whilst balancing. Use a double stance to begin with as you introduce yourself to the exercise.
Introducing hand / eye coordination is a great way to challenge balance because sight is a main component of how we try and balance ourselves.
Challenging the eyesight whilst balancing makes it more difficult to perform the stance – therefore resulting in a greater difficulty level.
Over time – progress to a single leg catch and throw!
- Squat and Press – this is an exercise which will combine weights and balance.
Using a double stance and 2 light dumbbells, perform a mini squat to a depth which you are comfortable with and then on your way up press dumbbells above your head.
Use a light pair of dumbbells to begin with.
- Single Leg Hip Hinge – this is a great exercise which combines hamstring and glute strength with balance.
A hip hinge is a movement which allows us to bend from the hip by using hamstring and glute muscles.
Performing this exercise with a single leg on a wobble board is very challenging. As you fall from the hip and try to touch the floor you will need to control the board with your foot and ankle as you fold your weight forward. A good tip would be to place an object on the floor to touch which means you don’t have to touch all the way to the floor.
- Mountain Climber – one of the great core exercises just got harder.
This exercise is typically performed in a press up position and you take it in turns to bring one knee at a time up to your chest, like you were climbing a mountain.
This time – you will use the wobble board to hold on to – this challenges the upper body and provides the shoulders and core with an extra workout to stabilise the body.
This exercises provides some nice variation from the lower limb based exercises that you have been performing.
- Glute Bridge – a great staple exercise which again can be made harder by using the wobble board.
A wobble board placed underneath the feet during a bridge movement works the hamstrings and glutes with more intensity as they have to stabilise the board.
A glute and hamstring bridge is simply pushing through the feet to lift the hips and lower back off the floor. This is a great exercise for the posterior chain which is the whole backside of the body.
That concludes the guide to the best wobble board exercises. A wobble board is a great rehab tool but it is also a great prehab and fitness tool which can strengthen all areas of the body.
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