In life, everything is about balance – from the foods we love and eat to the jobs we have and the hobbies and dreams we pursue. Nobody knows this better than dancers. Why do I make the correlation between balance and dancers, you ask? Because they count on it to be able to master each and every move to perfection.
Take ballet for instance, one of the most graceful dances there ever were. Behind this smoothness of performance, consisting of the quick and fluid movements we see, are hours and hours spent on practice. For example, pirouettes are some of the most challenging techniques, and for a ballet dancer to be able to execute them properly, he or she has to use extreme balance.
Something they couldn’t achieve without the proper equipment, as is the case with the highly useful and fundamental balance board disc. As the name implies, it’s a board one stands on to balance. The essential piece it is, it’s crucial for getting the gist of stability and control of the muscles.
Why Use a Balance Board?
The truth is this kind of equipment comes in handy with more aspects than simply balance. The extra benefits you can expect to reap for your dances are muscle toning and improvement of the posture, core strength, feet, legs, and ankles, as well as spatial body awareness and finding your centre.
If balancing on the flat floor was difficult, imagine what balancing on a challenging wobble balance board would do for you and your dancing skills. You’d truly be able to stand out with your technique mastering and performances.
By teaching you the needed steadiness, coordination, and boosting your strength, the outcome would be reduced risk of injuries. Taking this into consideration, it goes to show why these versatile tools are essential parts of many people’s exercise, including yogis for infinite balance, surfers, snowboarders and circus performers. All this in addition to being useful in fitness, rehabilitation and physical therapy.
How to Use a Balance Board?
When you first acquire your practical balance board disc, you may be wondering how to begin using it. Prior to doing any of the following exercises, it’s advisable to warm up your muscles for some minutes.
For starters, you can do something pretty simple and basic like just standing on the board to get used to it. When you feel comfortable on it, you can slightly bend your knees, and mind your posture as you steady yourself, aligning feet with shoulders.
It would help if you mind the position of your feet, placing the ball of them at the centre of the board. When you feel like you’ve managed to balance, make things more challenging for you by keeping feet at different points – one at the front, and the other at the back outside the board, as when doing arabesque, only without lifting it that high up.
If you can do this without balancing with the arms, keep them still. Looking straight up and out is the trick to keep your focus, but to defy your proprioceptive system, i.e. the sense of your body awareness, do a little side-to-side head rotation. Once you’re done, try extending one leg devant, then repeat with the other.
Once you’ve managed to get the needed stability, you can make things more interesting by trying to balance on one leg. Same as when doing your pirouettes, lift the other gently, bend the knee, slightly touching the other leg, and focus on making the board stable by balancing left and right with small movements.
By not leaning towards one or the other side with your supporting leg, you’d manage to do the exercise without touching the floor. If you accomplish this for some seconds, try increasing the time, like for a minute or two. And, as you practice, remember to alternate the legs, i.e. do the exercises with both.
Merge Them Together
When you feel confident enough in doing both of the exercises I’ve just covered, you could try merging them together, doing all the movements while on the board. Find the centre of the balance board disc, position your right football over it while lifting your leg up front, touching your right knee, then move the leg, extending it backwards into arabesque and into fondu.
If you find it difficult to find your balance for a minute, rely on your extended arms for stability. As you get better with this exercise, you can alternate the extends of your legs, first with the right, bringing it at the front, the side, and the back. When you’re done, repeat with the left. The more you practice, the longer you’d be able to do each exercise without touching the floor.