Getting to grips with a balance trainer
It sat there taunting me. This particular balance trainer was resting on a mat in my local Decathlon store, daring me to hop on.
So I hopped on. And promptly fell off. Back on. And straight off again. This, one imagines, is the usual introduction between balance trainer and customer. It’s a device that looks like it’s been made to laugh at but is in fact laughing at YOU.
I’d read about the benefits of using a balance trainer as a rehab aid as I work my way back into running following a niggling knee injury. I opted to order one.
Balance trainers are often known as ‘Bosu’ balls, or fitness domes. Bosu stands for ‘Both Sides Up’ and is a piece of equipment used widely in gyms.
However, as Bosu is a worldwide fitness name, their balls (as it were) are on the expensive side. Due to this, rival manufacturers have produced trainers with the same features but at a fraction of the price. It’s win, win for the consumer.
My chosen balance trainer (labelled as a Pilates Balance Station) was designed by Domyos and does exactly the same job at half the price, saving money you can spend on entering events once back to full fitness.
Armed with a Runner’s World adaptation of a 21-exercise plan that can be done in 12 minutes per day, it has since become my new best buddy.
Using the balance trainer is part of an attempt to strengthen those areas around the knee. The aim is to provide more support when impacting with the running surface and hopefully prevent niggles in the future.
A key goal is therefore stronger, better balance when faced with an uneven surface. Hop on the trainer and try balancing on one leg for 30 seconds. Then switch legs and again try to stay upright on the balance trainer.
There is a great deal of perseverance and concentration required to use one of these but the benefits can prove effective.
It’s extremely tricky at first but a big plus is that it’s fitness that can be done in the comfort of your own home. No-one will see your comedy falls while you learn.
And it’s a fairly unobtrusive piece of kit so shouldn’t look too garish among the vintage mementos picked up on your last holiday. What’s not to love about a balance trainer?