During the colder months, snowboards are everywhere. Whether on TV, or the ski slopes around the globe, you can’t miss them. If you’re considering trying your hand (and feet) at snowboarding, you are probably wondering, does using a balance board help you learn and perfect your snowboarding skills?
A balance board is beneficial not just for novices but also for accomplished snowboarders. Balance boards are popular among professional snowboarders for many reasons, including the ability to exercise their balance. They are an integral part of training between seasons.
Now that we have answered whether balance boards help your snowboarding, there are probably many more questions you’re pondering before making the purchase. With the number of boards on the market, figuring out which one is best for you and why they are beneficial for you are among the most important ones. So please read on to find out how balance boards can improve your snowboarding skills and what the professionals have to say about them.
Why Do Snowboarders Use Balance Boards?
Taking a painful tumble in the snow instead of a fun ride down the mountain is not an enticing prospect, no matter if you are a professional snowboarder or a novice. While snow looks fluffy, it’s anything but soft. Balance is one of the essential skills a snowboarder can have. Without good balance, you will find yourself taking more than one tumble in the snow.
For snowboarders, balance is not the only skill for which they need to train. Endurance is another crucial factor when it comes to honing those skills. Without regularly practicing endurance, your legs are likely to give out midway through your snowboarding session, and it’s no fun to have to sit at the base while your friends continue to ride their way down the snowy peaks.
That’s where balance boards come in.
One of the most common injuries among snowboarders is ankle sprains. Balance boards allow for targeted exercise to strengthen the muscles in your ankles to avoid injury. With a good quality balance board, snowboarders can train on their balance and build up their leg and ankle muscles during the off-season.
In addition to balance and endurance, quick reaction time on the slopes is vital. With so many riders and skiers on the mountains, you are bound to run into somebody who is not as experienced. Sometimes, it might be necessary to swerve quickly to avoid crashing into somebody. Quick reactions can be practiced on balance boards so that you are not entirely caught off guard while riding.
So, Can I Learn Tricks With A Balance Board?
Balance boards were designed with snowboarders (and skateboarders) in mind to improve and hone their skills when out of their element. While the best way to learn snowboarding is to head downhill on your board, there are still some tricks you can practice while on the balance board in your living room.
If you’re a beginner and just starting out, balance boards can be a great way to get comfortable with a few of the more basic moves before hitting the slopes. On a balance board, you can get comfortable learning things such as:
- Forward motion maintaining a steady balance
- Heel Turns
- Toe Turns
Ultimately, you will want to head out onto the slopes and put what you learned into action. Balance boards are a great way to help you be as steady and confident as possible. If you’re interested in seeing how snowboarders use balance boards to exercise, there are many informational videos available.
Are There Different Kind of Balance Boards?
The range of balance boards has increased over the years. There are now many different options, depending on your skill level and price range. The most common material is wood, but there are boards made of plastic that are available as well.
Cylinder-style balance boards are generally considered the best if you are just starting and are interested in improving your balance. If you are looking for simple back and forth motions or using your board for reasons other than snowboarding, these might work best.
The more advanced balance boards will not only help with endurance and balance, but they will also help you develop spatial awareness, a vital skill when on a mountain full of riders and skiers with varying experience levels.
A different kind of balance board that has recently come to market is the inflatable board. This board by KumoBoard provides the ability to develop muscle memory and build strength to master edge control. Also, the Whirly Board will allow you to practice spinning in a controlled environment.
|Type of Board||Material||Experience Level||Risk of Injury||Best for|
|Wobble Balance Board||Wood or Plastic||Beginners||Low||Core strength|
|Rocker Balance Boards||Wood or Plastic||Beginners||Low||Balance|
|Inflatable Board||Plastic||Beginners||Low||Muscle Memory|
|Roller Balance Board||Wood||Intermediate||Medium||Stability|
There is truly no shortage of options, and the kind of board you need depends on how skilled you are and what you are looking to accomplish.
What Are The Cons?
As with any gadget, there are always drawbacks, and the same is true of balance boards. While balance boards are designed to improve balance and strength, they pose a risk of injury, especially if you are unfamiliar with how to use one or suffer from dizziness.
If you suffer from a condition that has left you with any of the following impairments, using a balance board may not be the best option. At least not without the assistance and instructions of a doctor, physical therapist, or even trainer:
- Frequent dizziness
- Weak Ankles
- Injured knees or hips
- Conditions that impair your ability to balance
A balance board should never be used while under the influence of anything that might impair your ability to use it properly and safely.
Be sure to prepare the space where you are going to be using the board, wear protective gear, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Do Only Snowboarders Use Balance Boards?
As we’ve learned, snowboarders use balance boards to exercise their balancing skills, among other things, between seasons. However, they aren’t just good for those who need to maintain their skills when the powdery white slopes are not available. Balance boards are suitable for a range of users. They are not only used among snowboarders but also by many others:
- People who want to improve their core strength
- Even rehab facilities use them
And for a good reason. Have you ever noticed that the older you get, the more trouble you have keeping your balance? Well, it’s no surprise because the average human’s ability to balance slowly decreases as early as age 25. Aside from age, many factors can diminish your ability to balance among them:
- Diabetes – Nerve damage (Peripheral Neuropathy) commonly found in diabetics can also have the same effect. Studies show balance training can be beneficial for people with diabetes with this condition.
- Inner ear conditions – Vestibular disorders directly affect our ability to balance.
- Eye diseases – Vision Therapy often uses balance boards to retrain the eye and brain to work together to reestablish motor patterns and neurological links.
- Injuries requiring rehab – Physical therapy very often includes the use of balance boards.
Using a balance board can help improve your balance if you suffer from some, although not all, of these conditions. Having a good balance is essential to maintain mobility in everyday life, but it’s even more critical if you are a snowboarder.
Balancing Things Out, So You Can Shred the Slopes
Balance boards are excellent tools to maintain and improve important skills when access to the mountains is not possible. They provide snowboarders the opportunity to hone their craft from the comfort of their homes. Given the variety of boards, there is something to suit everyone, pro or novice.
While balance boards were designed with snowboarders and skaters in mind, they are no longer limited to just the pros. Balance boards are a great way to help you get comfortable on a board and learn your way around changing and varying motions. There is a reason there are so many to choose from. Demand is high, and if their popularity is any indication, this will remain the case for years to come.