Balance pads are a popular exercise aid for rehabilitation, improving posture, body shaping or improving coordination of movement. In addition, they have a wide range of uses - you can use them for basic exercises, cardio exercises or weight training. You need good coordination and balance for almost all tasks in everyday life. Using balance pads engages the muscles of the middle of the body, which are responsible for balance. With regular exercise, improvement will come very quickly.
Centre of Body "CORE" and Deep Spinal Stabilisation System "HSSP"
A group of muscles whose main function is to support the stability of the spine. These are:
- transversus abdominis (stabilizing function, auxiliary respiratory muscle)
- multifidus (very short muscles that fill the space between the spinous processes of the vertebrae of the spine; these muscles reduce the pressure on the spine)
- pelvic floor muscles (they serve as support for certain organs and allow excretion, they are very important in pregnancy)
- diaphragm (breathing muscle, stabilizes the spine).
It includes the DSSS muscles as well as the superficial muscles of the abdomen, the lower back, the rectus abdominis, the external and internal oblique abdominal muscles, the spinal extensor, the quadriceps and the iliopsoas.
If you only strengthen the superficial muscles and not the internal muscles, you could develop lumbar spine pain.
You can see how to use the foam pad in our video
How to start with exercising?
You also need to follow a few basic rules for proper technique and breathing.
THe right brathing
The exercise begins with calm breathing into the belly, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
The correct posture
Most people develop bad posture habits caused by sitting at work or playing stereotypical sports. There are compensatory exercises for this problem, such as self-weight coordination exercises, which minimize the incorrect habits.
The exercises are usually not strength-intensive, but if you try to do everything correctly and concentrate on the rules described below, the exercise is very intense and effective after just a few repetitions.
The basic rules for the exercise are:
- upright spine position
- open chest
- shoulders relaxed, slightly pushing back from the ears
- head relaxed, as if pointing up behind the head
- stomach slightly drawn in
- knees slightly bent
- the foot positioned in the centre of the balance mat and weight distributed on the thumb, little finger and heel
Advantages and Benefits of Exercising on Balance Pads
- Improving coordination
When exercising on a balance mat, your muscular system must work to maintain your body's balance. This improves your coordination not only when exercising but also in everyday life activities.
When you exercise regularly on a balance mat, you exercise your back and abdominal muscles, which play a key role in correct posture when sitting and standing. Back pain is also relieved.
- Deep muscle strengthening
By balancing and maintaining your balance, muscles that you don't use at all or rarely during normal exercise are engaged.
- Strengthening the joints
Depending on the type of exercises, training with balance pads helps to stabilise shoulders, hip joints, knees and ankles. At the same time, their mobility is improved. Regular training also reduces the risk of injury to these joints.
- Coordination of the muscular and nervous system
During training, both the musculoskeletal and nervous systems are involved. By exercising on the balance pads, the brain learns how to work the muscles as efficiently as possible and also how to react more quickly. Basically, the idea is that your brain and muscles learn to communicate better. Over time, you will then be able to engage more muscle fibers when doing weight training (e.g., weightlifting).
- Recovery after injuries
Balance pads help in the rehabilitation of knees, ankles, hip joints, spine and pelvis. They speed up the return to normal life.
- Burning calories
If you want your body to maintain balance on a balance mat, your muscles have to work hard, which leads to burning calories..
What to look for in the selection process?
Who will use the pad?
One of the most important parameters when choosing a balance mat is a load capacity of the mat. If you are buying a mat just for yourself, choose the load capacity according to your weight. If more people will be exercising on it, for example in fitness or rehabilitation centres, you should choose a mat with a higher load capacity.
Where will you exercise on the balance mat?
The balance mat can be selected from a variety of sizes so that you can arrange it according to the space where you will be exercising. Also take the size and weight into consideration if you want to carry the balance mat somewhere out.
What exercises do you get the mat for?
Some balance pads can be exercised on both sides of the pad, expanding the range of exercises that can be performed. The main factor in choosing a balance mat is what part of the body you want to exercise. It also depends on whether you want to exercise on the mat mainly standing up, or whether we will also practice exercises sitting or lying down.
With inflatable balance mats, you can increase the difficulty by how much you inflate it. To engage your internal muscles more, inflate the mat less - it will take more effort to balance.
accessories for the balance board
Some pads come with pumps for easier inflation. Some balance pads also come with rubber grips (expanders) for greater exercise variability.
Types of the balance board
The BOSU Balance Trainer consists of a platform and a dome. Depending on what exercises you want to perform, the BOSU can be used with the platform either up or down. If the platform is laid flat, it will provide you with an unstable surface to exercise on, but at the same time it will remain anchored firmly on the ground. This way there is not too much risk of falling. The mat can be used in this position for many standard exercises to enhance their effect. If you place the mat on its rounded side, it becomes a much more unstable surface for balance training. On a BOSU set up like this, you can do push-ups or squats, for example, while strengthening your stability.
Některé podložky mají na kopulovité straně masážní výstupky, které slouží ke stimulaci nervových zakončení na chodidlech. Jejich masáží podpoříte správnou funkci vnitřních orgánů a krevního oběhu. Na podložkách typu BOSU doporučujeme cvičit v obuvi.
Inflatable balance pads belong also to this group. They are a suitable accessory for exercise and healthy sitting and you can inflate them as needed. The less inflated, the more difficult the exercise will be. Most of these mats have massage protrusions on at least one side of the surface to massage the feet and other parts of the body. By making the all-rubber pads generally smaller in size, you can use more than one at a time when exercising - for example, standing on one with each foot. You can also exercise barefoot and in shoes on the balance pad.
Balance boards take the form of wooden or plastic discs with a convex underside. They work in a similar way to inflatable balance pads, but can only be used unilaterally. Maintaining balance on a board is usually more difficult than on a mat because the surface of the board is hard and unyielding. The ankle stability of the ankle is excellent on a balance board. You can exercise barefoot or in shoes on this balance board.
This is the newest addition to the balance pad category. They are suitable for strength training and rehabilitation. The pads are made of moulded foam, which is pleasant to the touch and yet very durable. The method of balance exercise on the foam pad helps to eliminate back and joint pain, and at the same time the pad can be used for exercises and stretching while lying down, or perhaps for practicing headstands. We recommend exercising on this type of mat without shoes.