Balance boards and bosu balls bring an additional challenge to stability training.Both activate multiple muscle groups to increase strength while improving balance and coordination. As a result, users can resist changes in equilibrium. The balance board and bosu provide users with an unstable workout surface, effectively trains the vestibular system (the system responsible for coordination and balance) and adds more exercise variety. Although they deliver similar benefits, they also have their differences. Let’s discuss.
Balance boards and bosu balls differ in terms of design. Although they both provide an unstable surface for users, balance boards have a hard platform with a ball, disc or set of springs underneath while bosu balls are basically halved Swiss balls attached to a rigid platform.The two designs have the same impact on the body but offer different user experiences.
Balance boards and bosu balls have quality materials in common that will stand the test of time. Both are made of durable materials intended to withstand regular use. Balance boards, depending on the model, are either molded plastic or high quality wood that can hold anywhere from 250-350+ lbs. Most also feature a non-slip surface usually made of rubber or a similar material for added safety. Bosu balls, on the other hand, are rubber and rigid plastic. The inflatable dome on top isburst resistant rubber, likeSwiss ballson the market,and havea textured surface while the base portion is plastic. Due to the high quality materials used, boards and bosus are very lightweight, easy to clean and the materials show little to no visible signs of wear.
Balance boards are either made of plastic or wood. Wood versionsare often more expensive but it really depends on the model. Price can range anywhere from $20 to $150. As stated, certain models feature springs that cost over $200.Other factors that affect price include the size of the board, the manufacturer, design and any additional features. There are balance boards with very basic designs while a portionare more innovative.Some are adjustable while others feature holes that give users the option to thread resistance bands through them. A few manufacturers even give customers the option to customize their board. As for bosu balls, price depends on the model. A basic sports trainer costs around $100 while a home balance trainer is $130 and the pro version comes in at $160.
Function and Versatility
The function of balance boards and bosu balls are the same. They challenge balance by directly compromising your center of gravity to develop strength, balance, coordination, reaction time and the all-important core stability.
In terms of versatility, balance boards and bosu balls have a lot to offer but the ball is definitely the winner in this category. Bosu balls give users the option to train the upper body, lower body, and midsection while standing, kneeling or sitting.This is largely due to the level of comfort the inflatable dome offers.Additionally, a bosu ball can be used spherical side up or flipped so it acts as a wobble board. As for balance boards, a little more creativity is required to hit muscles from all angles.
The balance board and bosu ball are equally safe for home and gym use. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have a place in rehabilitation centers, gyms, and homes. A portion of people adjustto the instability more quickly while others need more time to get the hang of it. Either way is fine since improving balance is thegoal. Some may be concerned with the risk of falling but that risk comes with almost any physical activity. Fortunately, both fitness tools are very close to the ground and easy to use. Those hesitant about standing on an unstable surface can have a spotter, use a wall or piece of furniture for that extra level of protection and just take things slow. There are also safety measures everyone should take when balance training. These include always setting your balance board or bosu ball on a dry, flat surface (carpet is best), making any necessary adjustments in either height or air pressure depending on the tool you’re using, always using proper posture and immediately stepping off if you feel as if you are going to fall.
Overall, balance boards and bosu balls are very similar. Both are great additions to a stability training routine. Their designs may differ but both are made of quality materials, can be purchased at an affordable price, serve similar functions and are safe. If you are having trouble choosing between the two, simply go with the one that suits you best. To determine that, consider what exercises you would like to perform along with the other types of training and activities you like to do. If you like recommendations on balance boards, check out my reviews on the best balance board trainer.