When it comes to fitness, generally speaking, I do not use machines myself nor do I train clients on them. I’m not exactly anti-machines but I do believe that for one, our own bodies are machines. Secondly, there are other types of equipment that can do the job the same, if not better, than machines.
Machines have a tendency to isolate specific muscle groups, which is not a bad thing. For my style of training though, they are not the best fit. I prefer and love equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells, battle ropes, slam balls (to name a few) because they are so versatile!
Dumbbells can be used for curls, presses, squats, step-ups, carries… The list goes on and on. Especially as a trainer who works with many of my clients and classes at their homes and parks, being efficient with equipment is essential. I can program often with one piece of equipment for a full-body workout that is challenging and efficient, not to mentioned loved by all! Well, loved in the that-absolutely-sucked kinda love.
I do get excited when I add equipment to my collection and it is usually strategic. It needs to be multi-functional, which is why my newest addition has me geeking out!
Drum roll please. Meet the StrongBoard Balance®.
To quote what it is and does from https://StrongBoard Balancebalance.com/
“StrongBoard Balance is a one-of-a-kind, premiere balance board for all levels of fitness enthusiasts. Designed to complement and intensify users’ favorite workout routines, StrongBoard Balance utilizes MULTI SPRING TECHNOLOGY™ (MST). MST works with your body to deliver the perfect amount of stimulation to keep your core musculature and stabilizing muscles engaged and contracted, while training your central nervous system, expediting calorie burn, improving posture, proprioception and reaction time.”
In the few weeks that I have had StrongBoard Balances as part of my toolbox, I already have a million reasons why I love them and why they are such a great addition for my clients. Here are just a few of those reasons.
- The StrongBoard Balance levels up movements.
Often we think about “leveling up” in terms of adding weight and making something heavier. Or by increasing reps. Or maybe adding a plyometric element to an exercise. Take the air squat for example. It can be leveled up by performing holding a kettlebell as a goblet squat. Or it can be performed for higher volume. Maybe instead of 10 reps, do 15. It also can become a squat jump where as you stand up, you jump and explode.
The StrongBoard Balance is another way to level up an exercise. Air squats on land (as I now like to refer to doing movements NOT on the StrongBoard Balance as) can be tiring and challenging after a few. Try doing an air squat on a wobbly surface that requires you to really engage your core and legs to get full depth without falling off. You will experience a new kind of physical and mental challenge to push through.
You could put together a workout on a StrongBoard Balance comprised of plank jacks, mountain climbers, squats, shotguns and push-ups. You could play catch on it with your kid. You could even put together an old school step aerobics routine using one. You can do yoga on it!
The list is endless and shows you can easily adapt exercises you are already familiar with to make them even harder as you level up your fitness.
2. The StrongBoard Balance builds confidence
One of my fundamentals of training clients is to keep their workouts simple. If I gave 10 different movements to a client in every session, they likely would feel overwhelmed and like they weren’t actually progressing.
Instead, I rotate in the same movements for the first few sessions (and then start to sprinkle in new movements). I can use the movements they are familiar with and strategically progress them which offsets that anxiety kind of reaction that comes with learning new exercises.
The air squat, again, is a perfect example. It can take many tries to feel comfortable and many sessions to perform them correctly and to full depth. The more a client does them, the more confident they become.
Once they are comfortable with a movement, I can level them up. An air squat becomes a goblet squat. And similarly, it can be done on a StrongBoard Balance. They recruit the same muscles to work harder on the board and it gives a client even more confidence that they rose to the occasion!
When anyone stands on the board for the first time, they feel wobbly and unsure of themselves, which is the intent. But once they understand how to stabilize themselves on it, and perform exercises on it, they get excited and empowered.
Doing movements on land are by no means easy, but they tend to feel more comfortable because, duh, they are on stable ground. Movements performed on an unstable surface, like the StrongBoard Balance, takes people out of their comfort zone, and that is what creates confidence.
3. The StrongBoard Balance fixes imbalances.
One of the reasons I love dumbbell exercises is because it helps identifies imbalances a client has. It is far easier to, for instance, to shoulder press a barbell and have an imbalance go unnoticed because at the end of the rep one way or another, typically the barbell is straight and parallel to the ground.
With dumbbells, in the same movement, it is far easier to see if someone is imbalanced as typically the dumbbells are going from shoulders to overhead at two very different speeds. Often, one is obviously lagging and a client will have one dumbbell overhead already before the second one makes it there.
The StrongBoard Balance is a great tool to help fix imbalances. If you want to stay on it and not feel all over the place in any movement, your muscles are going to have to work harder to maintain stability. And if one shoulder is weaker than the other, for example, it’s going to work that much more to get into the right position for a plank or push-up.
One of my awesome OG clients has a goal to get a push-up. She has that same imbalance I mentioned where her right side is stronger than her left. Anytime she does a push-up progression (like to a box), after about 5 reps, she inevitably caves into her left side and has a harder time pushing up. Not to mention, her form goes because both arms and shoulders are not working at the same speed.
So with her, I am excited to have her use the StrongBoard Balance as part of her strength work so that she will get a push-up! Movements on it like plank jacks and teeter totters (arms at the top of a push-up on the board and pressing one arm in at a time) are going to force her weaker side to work harder to recruit the muscles she needs for a push-up like her delts, pecs and triceps.
There are plenty of more reasons that support and embody my newfound love for the StrongBoard Balance. It has really been an appropriate addition to my business, and I am excited to find more and more ways to use it.
Like so many things in fitness, the sky really is the limit. Anytime we discover a new tool or technique to help us hit goals and set new goals, we not only realize our potential, we surpass it. I am truly eager to continue with my clients’ on their fitness journeys and to realize how much stronger they get with one added tool.