The 10 Best Balance Pads
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Improve your stability by adding one of these balance pads to your workout regimen. Whether your goal is to feel a little more secure when walking, recover from an injury, or to simply increase your core strength, these training aids can help. They're compact and lightweight enough to take anywhere, so you can exercise at home, in the office, or even while on vacation. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 30, 2021:
Since balance pads are so simple, this isn't a category that sees a lot of change from year to year, so this update was a minor adjustment to the list rather than a major overhaul. In doing our research, we found that the items already on the list still represented the best options that the market has to offer.
Only the Gradient Fitness Premium was removed in this update, due to availability concerns. In replacing it, we decided to stray a little bit outside of the bounds of the category in order to bring some variety to the list. If you want to improve your balance and core strength while seated (whether you are physically unable to stand for long periods of time or you work at a desk) then a foam pad can be helpful but an inflatable cushion like the Gaiam Wobble Trainer might be a better choice. It's an inflatable disc available in several colors. While it can be used for standing exercises as well, it's mainly designed to be used in a chair or seated on the ground. While it arrived pre-inflated, note that it doesn't come with a pump, so if you don't already have one on hand, you'll need to get one at some point, as it will need to be re-inflated eventually.
February 24, 2020:
Removed the Fitness Flow Core Muscle, Fury Fitness, and HemingWeigh Light due to availability concerns. Added the Gradient Fitness Premium, a durable option that comes with a storage case, the Pete's Choice Recovery, a large and affordable choice that comes with a flexibility strap, and the StrongTek 2 in 1, which comes with two pads that can be used separately or together for a wider range of options.
Balance pads can be helpful in a variety of situations, so it's important to keep in mind how you're going to use it when selecting a model. Many options, like the Airex Elite and Clever Yoga, are versatile enough that they can be used for a wide variety of yoga poses and physical therapy techniques, or even as a seat cushion. But others, like the TheraBand Advanced, are more specialized, and work better for particular exercises. In general, these pads are easier to use than balance boards or wobble boards, so they're a good choice for beginners.
The firmer the pad, the less of a challenge it will provide, so make sure you get something that matches your skill level. You should also know how big of a surface you want, and pay close attention to the dimensions. Some models, like the Yes4All Foam, come in different sizes, so make sure you've picked the right one before you check out.
Benefits Of Using A Balance Pad
Most can be simply wiped clean with water or a mild anti-bacterial solution to keep them sanitary and looking like new.
Balance pads are one of the best to work out the core muscles while improving balance at the same time. They are also one of the safest ways to focus on stabilizing muscles and are suitable for the elderly, disabled, and children of all ages. A balance pad is a thick, often square, foam cushion that instantly engages all of the core and legs muscles when you stand on it. Simple standing on one for short periods of time throughout the day is enough to improve your balance and stability, but for quicker and more dramatic results, one can also perform a number of activities on them, including yoga, pushups, and more.
Balance pads are also highly durable, so there is no reason the one you purchase today won't still be in your home fitness arsenal 5 or even 10 years from now. Most can be simply wiped clean with water or a mild anti-bacterial solution to keep them sanitary and looking like new. Ideally they should be used barefoot. It is possible to use them while wearing shoes, but this may cause it to wear down quicker.
Improving ones stability can help them in their everyday life. We rely on our sense of stability to walk straight, climb stairs, carry groceries, and more. Those with good stability will feel more comfortable when walking on uneven surfaces with less chance of tripping. They also have a better chance of catching themselves when they stumble as opposed to completely tripping and potentially hurting oneself. As people get older, their balance is naturally affected as is the ability to maintain their equilibrium. Regularly training on a balance pad can delay this process, or help somebody who has lost some of their stability already, get it back.
Fitness enthusiasts have found that incorporating a balance pad into commonly performed exercises adds a new dimension of strain allowing one to hit stabilizing muscles that are often left out of many workouts. Doing pushups on a balance pad will incorporate stabilizing muscles in the shoulders and the core, along with the chest and triceps. The stronger one's stabilizing muscles are, the lower the chance of injury when performing high weight exercises.
Some Unconventional Ways To Use A Balance Pad
Most have heard of, or considered, using a balance pad during some of their workout routines, but for those who don't go to the gym there are a number of other ways to get the benefits of a balance pad. If you sit for long periods of the day while at work, consider putting a balance pad underneath you. It makes sitting a little more active as you'll find yourself engaging some of your core muscles. Sitting on a balance pad can also offer many of the same benefits of office chair cushions, such as reduced back pain, improved posture, and less pressure on the coccyx.
A balance pad can also be used during ones morning grooming activities.
One can also try using a balance pad during commonly performed activities. Bring one in to the kitchen while prepping and cooking dinner. Not only will it make standing for a long period of time more comfortable for the feet, it will also help to engage some of the core muscles, making cooking more active and burning a few extra calories. For those looking to make it more fun, try standing on a balance pad while hula hooping or while playing Wii fit.
A balance pad can also be used during ones morning grooming activities. Try setting one on the floor in the bathroom while you shave, comb your hair, and brush you teeth. Women can stand on one while using a blow dryer or doing their makeup. This is a great way to tone your core and improve your balance a little bit each and every day, without having to carve out a dedicated time for it.
Why Good Balance Is So Important
Everything we do in life, from walking to bending over to picking up a grandchild or a heavy object, relies heavily on our ability to balance. Using a complex system of senses to monitor environmental feedback, including cues from the feet, vision, and feelings of equilibrium from the inner ear, our body activates certain muscles to keep our desired position.
This is because it allows one to better position their body so the weight is evenly distributed over all of the muscles.
If the information received overwhelms our senses, we lose our balance, and most likely stumble or fall. If enough balance training is performed, one can perform what were once conceived as impossible tasks, much like how a child eventually learns to use a bike without training wheels.
If a person's balance is compromised, it severely inhibits their mobility. This is why many people wind up using a walker as they age. Their body loses the ability to keep itself well balanced when walking. Consistently performing balance training throughout one's life will reduce the chance of them needing a walker when they are older.
Good balance also plays a role in a number of sports, such as surfing, rollerblading, gymnastics, horseback riding, and even weightlifting. The better one's balance is, the better they will be able to perform at many sports. Better balance will also help improve a person's postural alignment, which can reduce the chance of developing back pain or other muscle aches. This is because it allows one to better position their body so the weight is evenly distributed over all of the muscles.