Balance is the key to good health. Whether it's balancing restful sleep with a hectic schedule or getting the right balance of nutrients in your daily diet, feeling off-kilter can have consequences. The same is true for physical balance, staying in control of your body while playing your favorite sport or just walking on uneven terrain. Good balance takes work, though—enter the Indo Board. This simple piece of equipment, featuring a board that teeters on a cushion or roller, trains you to keep an even keel on any surface. To boot, you'll build strong core muscles -- abs, obliques and lower back -- which are the control center of balance.
Indo Board Workouts for Beginners
As a newbie, you'll want to start out using the cushion, as it's much easier to balance on than the roller. Here's a sample workout to try:
Simply Standing: Just standing still on the Indo Board is a total-body workout if you're a beginner. All the small stabilizers of your body, and especially your core, have to activate to keep you balanced. Keep your knees slightly bent in an athletic stance, and keep your head and shoulders aligned over your hips. Start with your feet very close together, which makes balancing easier, and then move them wider and wider apart to increase the challenge. Master standing on the board for 5 minutes.
Squats: Once you've mastered standing still, try to raise and lower your body on the unstable surface to work your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Keep your shoulders and chest upright and push your hips back as if sitting into a chair. Do a set of 10 to 20 repetitions.
45 to 90 Squats: Once you've mastered the basic squat, try this one on for size. Lower down into your squat so your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then, rise up only halfway to standing, pause, then lower back to your starting position. Do 10 to 20 reps.
Sit on Deck: Target your abs and hip flexors by sitting on the board in a V-shape. Lean back slightly and lift your legs, bent at the knees, so your heels aren't touching the floor. Balance there for a count of 10.
Plank: Planks are another effective ab exercise that challenge your entire core and other muscles of your arms and legs. Get into pushup position with your hands grasping either end of the board placed with the long side perpendicular to your body. Make sure your shoulders are positioned over your wrists, and don't let your hips sag. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
The more you inflate the cushion, the harder it will be. Try this workout first with an uninflated cushion, Then, inflate the cushion slightly more each time you do it.
Push Up: From your plank, go right into pushups, lowering your chest until it almost touches the board and then pressing back up. Drop your knees to the ground if standard push ups are too challenging, but keep your hips inline with your shoulders. Do 10 to 20 reps.
Military Press: Grab a set of dumbbells to work your shoulders and triceps. Start in a standing position with a dumbbell in either hand. Press the dumbbells up above your head so your arms are straight. Bend your elbows out to the side to form 90-degree angles, keeping your forearms perpendicular to the floor, then press back up. Do 10 to 20 reps.
Bent over rows: Work your back and biceps by getting into an athletic stance with a dumbbell in either hand. Bend at the waist and bring your torso to about a 45-degree angle. Straighten your arms so your hands are in front of your shins, then bend your elbows out the the side as you raise the dumbbells up to about chest level beside your body. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you do this. Then, return to the starting position. Do 10 to 20 reps.
Once you've finished one round, repeat all the exercises one or two more times.
Intermediate and Advanced Indo Board Workouts
You can make all the exercises above more challenging for the intermediate or advanced exerciser by using the roller instead of the cushion. The roller makes the surface much more unstable and all your muscles have to work a lot harder to keep you balanced.
Once you've mastered standing on the board on top of the roller, perform one set of all the exercises above, and add these more advanced exercises:
Wood Chop With Medicine Ball: Hold a medicine ball in your hands and bring it down to the right side of your body next to your right thigh. Then, raise the ball in a diagonal line over your left shoulder so your arms are extended. As you do this, rotate slightly through your torso so your chest is facing left. Do 10 to 20 reps.
Oblique Twist: Start in pushup position with your legs together. Bend one knee and bring it in toward your chest. Then, bend your elbows slightly and rotate your hips and torso to bring your bent leg across your body to the opposite side. Straighten the leg out to the side as much as possible, then return to the starting position. Do five to 10 reps on each side.
Single-knee Dips with Twist: Stand on the board so that you're facing the front of the board with one foot in front of the other. Bend both knees so that your back knee comes down almost touching the board, then stand back up. Next time you lower down, raise your arms out to the side and twist your torso slightly in the direction of your front knee. Come back to center and stand back up. Do 10 reps on both sides.
You can do almost any exercise that uses body weight, dumbbells or medicine balls on the Indo Board. You can also use exercise bands. When you're feeling confident with your ability to balance on the board, get creative. See what exercises you can come up with to add to your workouts.
First, take some time to learn proper posture on the board:
Place the board centered on the cushion so it's level with the ground.
Step on to the board with your feet centered on the deck. The wider your feet are, the easier it will be to balance.
Bend your knees slightly to get into an athletic stance.
Align your shoulders over your hips, and align your hips over your feet.
Intermediate and Advanced Indo Board Exercises