What home exercise equipment do you have? A foam roller, some strength equipment, and maybe a treadmill are all standard for runners.
But here’s a small-but-mighty piece of equipment you may want to invest in: a balance board. Adding a balance board to your home gym can benefit you in more ways than you realize!
It won’t just improve your balance. This tool can also help strengthen your ankles and knee joints, reduce the chance of injury, and build a strong core. It takes up hardly any space, and can be used practically anywhere.
Both are made of strong wood, have a non-slip surface, and can hold up to 300 pounds of weight.
If you’d like to add one of these versatile exercise tools to your collection, check out the full list and choose the one you like best to start reaping the benefits!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Yes4All Wooden Wobble Balance Board
StrongTek Professional Wooden Balance Board
Kinderfeets Kinderboard Natural
Best Overall – Round
1. Yes4All Wooden Wobble Balance Board
No matter how you’ve got your home gym kitted out, you can find one of these to fit right in!
This round balance board comes in a range of colors and interesting designs so you can find something that appeals to you aesthetically, too. There are options with handles as well, which could increase your exercise repertoire.
This board is one of the most stable options out there. Made from a thick wooden plank, it can support up to 300 pounds and can accommodate most users comfortably,with its 15.75-inch diameter. The board can tilt up to 15 degrees and rotate 360 degrees for a full range of movement.
Anti-skid material across the surface means you should be able to get a good footing no matter what shoes you’re wearing. The balance part of the board is made of hard plastic, which is durable and sturdy.
You’ll need to be careful about the surface you use this balance board on. Because the balancer is smooth plastic, it’s advisable to use it on a surface that has some texture. A smooth balancer on a smooth surface could be dangerous.
The plastic bottom is easily removable, so you can store the balance board easily in a gym bag or in the trunk of your car.
Because of its easy portability and nice size, you could use this outside of the gym, too. Balance on it while working at a standing desk or while reading or watching TV (as long as it’s on a textured surface) to get the full benefits!
- 360 degrees rotation
- Anti-skid pad on the surface
- 15.75-inch diameter
- Weight capacity of 300 pounds
- The removable bottom is made from smooth plastic and would not be advisable to use on smooth surfaces
Top Runner-Up – Round
2. Fitterfirst Professional Balance Board
This board is made of durable birch wood, and also features a non-slip surface, although it’s hard to see at first glance. Choose between 16-inch or 20-inch versions to suit your needs.
Whichever size you choose, it comes with a three-level adjustable balancer sphere. This changes the tilt angle of the board, which is great for providing more of a challenge. The 20-inch board can be adjusted to tilt to 10, 12, or 15 degrees. The 16-inch board can go to 15, 17, or 20 degrees.
This board also may not be totally safe if used on smooth surfaces. It’s advisable to use it on a textured or non-skid surface that provides some grip against the plastic balancer.
Whichever size you choose, the board can handle users of up to 350 pounds. It’s also super easy to take apart and slip into a duffel bag to take with you if you want to use it at the gym, in the park, at the office, or even if you’re going on vacation.
- Slip-resistant surface
- Tri-level adjustable sphere
- Weight capacity of 350 pounds
- Available in two sizes
- May not be safe on smooth surfaces
Best Overall – Square
3. StrongTek Professional Wooden Balance Board
A square board is best for those with more severe balance issues. It may not be challenging for those who are seriously into their fitness, but if improving your balance is your main goal, then we highly recommend this one.
It’s made from sturdy, commercial-grade hardwood that’s layered to form a ¾ inch platform. Underneath, two rockers are firmly attached to the platform, with an extra supportive piece of wood between them. It’s a well-made, solid piece of equipment.
The 17.5 x 13.5-inch platform can take up to 350 pounds and is almost fully covered by a slip-resistant layer. It’s comfortable with shoes or bare feet, and even on the hands for moves such as planking.
One of the best things about this balance board is that the rockers beneath it are slip-resistant, too. That means you can use it on any surface with confidence, as it’s not likely to slip or slide around.
- Slip-resistant surface
- Ergonomic design
- Made from heavy-duty plywood
- Weight capacity up to 350 pounds
- The non-slip adhesive may come loose after some use
Top Runner-Up – Square
4. Fitterfirst Professional Rocker Board 20 Inch
This square board is made of birch wood and has a non-slip surface. Underneath, you’ll find two polypropylene spheres, which create the rocking motion of the board. The board’s surface is 20 inches squared, so there’s plenty of space.
Unlike those with a single sphere, this board moves only in one place, so depending on which way you have the board, it either moves forward and backward, or side to side. The dual-sphere design adds an element of stability to the board, but it may not be safe to use on slippery surfaces like tiles.
These two spheres are also adjustable. You can set them to tilt to 10, 12, or 15 degrees. When standing, the board is 4 inches off the floor, which is a little higher than some others. It weighs 9 pounds, so it may be a little heavy to carry in a bag.
- Made from Baltic birch plywood
- 20 inches wide
- Suited for beginners and intermediates
- 2 adjustable spheres
- May not be steady and secure on slippery surfaces like tiles
5. Kinderfeets Kinderboard Natural
This balance board looks kind of like a fancy piece of furniture. It has a sleek, good-looking European beech plywood design that fits in with most decor arrangements, so having it around won’t be an eyesore.
One of the great things about this particular board is how versatile it is. Placing it with the curve on the floor allows you to balance on it and strengthen your core. Placing it the other way around creates a platform that can be used for step-up exercises.
It can be used indoors or outdoors, thanks to a water-based lacquer coating. The board is also environmentally friendly. It has a weight capacity of up to 485 pounds, which is one of the highest on this list.
Although it may seem like a kid’s toy, this board is anything but. Using it on the curved side can present a danger for kids who play rough, or even quieter ones who simply put a foot wrong.
If your children are using this to improve their balance, make sure they’re always supervised.
- Weight capacity of up to 485 pounds
- Made from European beech plywood
- Curved board
- Multi-purpose use
- Not a kids’ toy!
- Not very portable compared to others
Top With Spring Technology
6. StrongBoard Balance
This balance board looks a little different from the others. Instead of spheres or rockers, there are four heavy-duty springs in the center of the board. If you thought a balance board couldn’t get any more low-impact, think again!
For those who are new to balance boards, this one may be a bit advanced. If you’re looking for a more challenging workout than a regular balance board, this could be the next step up for you.
The spring-loaded board has a full range of motion forwards and backward, as well as side to side.
The platform is large enough for all users and its generous size (18 x 26 inches) provides good space to stand comfortably. It can hold up to 500 pounds and offers a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
It’s a robust machine, which means it may not be easy to carry around with you if you want to use it in different places.
- Flat board
- Multi-spring design
- Weight capacity of 500 pounds
- 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Not easy to carry around with you
Best For Spinning
7. Whirly Board Spinning Balance Board
This board looks like a skateboard for indoor use! Skateboarders who’re looking for something to keep them entertained when it’s rainy outdoors will enjoy this contraption.
If you aren’t a skateboarder but instead an advanced athlete looking to strengthen your core and improve your balance, this board offers a challenge.
It’s shaped like your standard skateboard deck, at 32 inches long and 8.25 inches wide. This is one of the longer boards, but some users have commented that it’s not quite wide enough for their feet.
The large center sphere is your main balancer, and there’s a smaller one on either side. With this setup, you can rock back and forth, but also twist or spin on the middle ball.
We wouldn’t recommend this one for people who are new to balance boards or who have severe balance problems. It’s best for those who already have a stable core and can support themselves well while moving in various planes of motion.
- Triple half-sphere technology
- Choose from two surface grips
- 8.25 inches wide, 32 inches long
- 8-ply Canadian Maple skateboard deck
- The deck may be too small for large feet
Top Small Size
8. TheraBand Rocker Board
If you’re looking for something a bit smaller than standard-sized balance boards, this is our pick for the best small size board.
It’s just 13 ⅛ x 14 inches in size, making it quite a lot smaller than most. This would be advantageous for some, but people with bigger feet or who need a wider stance to stabilize may find this one tricky to work with.
The top surface is extremely grippy, made from plastic with ridges for extra texture. Underneath, the rockers are anti-skid so this one is safe to use on any surface.
As a bonus, this board comes with an illustrated exercise guide, so you won’t be stuck not knowing where or how to begin!
- Ridged top surface
- 13 ⅛ inches x 14 inches in size
- Non-slip bottom
- Comes with an instruction guide
- Some may find the narrow board to be hard to balance on
Best Leg Roller Combo
9. Indo Board Original
This two-piece board is easy to use. Simply place the top board onto the roller, step on the side against the ground, and then step onto the other end and balance yourself on the roller.
We don’t recommend this board for beginners. The center of gravity (the roller), isn’t stable, so it moves along with the balance board. Although the roller is non-slip and has a wide diameter, the movement of the roller under the balance board while you’re standing could be too much for newbies.
Even if you’re advanced, we recommend using it on a soft surface just in case. It has a weight limit of 350 pounds.
As a bonus, you could use the roller as a dense foam roller for bigger muscles!
- 30-inch x 18-inch oval deck
- 6.5-inch diameter plastic roller
- Instructional DVD
- Choose from 11 graphic designs
- Easy to lose balance and fall hard
10. Just4U Balance Board Trainer
The Just4U Balance Board is the most versatile one we’ve found in terms of adjustability. It’s a board-and-roller type, but its design makes it perfect for beginners who want something that can scale with them as they improve.
The board is made from 13 layers of tough, hardy wood. The roller is 4 inches in diameter. A unique adjustment system is controlled using 2 removable stoppers. These are wooden pieces that can be set at three intervals along the bottom of the board.
Place the two stoppers on the first (beginner) position, the most inward on the board. The distance between these two is 11 inches, and the roller won’t be able to move any further than that.
Position number 2 (intermediate) gives you a space of 16 inches for the roller, and position 3 (advanced) removes the stoppers entirely to give you a full range of rolling and balancing motion.
This is helpful for beginners to start small and work their way up. An easy-grip surface and weight capacity of 400 pounds make it even safer.
- Adjustable rolling distances
- Easy-grip surface
- Weight capacity of 400 pounds
- Board is made from 13 layers of tough wood
- The felt covering on the roller may begin to tear after coming into contact with the stoppers often
Not convinced that you should invest in one of the best balance boards for runners? Here’s some more info on their benefits and why they work.
What are the Benefits of a Balance Board?
A balance board may seem like a strange piece of equipment, but it has numerous benefits. One of the greatest benefits is its ability to strengthen the core when used properly.
A stronger core leads to better balance and coordination, and improves the strength of the leg and foot muscles, as well as fortifying the ankle and knee joints. It actually uses more muscles than you may realize, engaging the abs and back muscles, glutes, and chest to help you keep your balance.
Improving balance and strengthening the core stabilizing muscles also results in better posture.
Because the balance board is a static “exercise”, it’s a great thing to incorporate into rehabilitation training when recovering from injury.
What Part of the Brain Controls Balance?
While having strong muscles and great posture is important for balance, like all functions, your balance begins in your brain. There’s a section at the back of the brain called the cerebellum, which is responsible for fine muscle control, hand-eye coordination, and balance.
How Does Balance Help in Running?
Balance isn’t just important in stationary movements like standing. There are sensors called proprioceptors throughout our body, which help us to sense movement and body position.
The proprioceptors in our feet are sensitive to balance. When you’re off-balance, they pick it up and counteract it, for example, by sending signals to the brain to move the feet into a more stable position.
Improving your balance helps the proprioceptors to pick up on movement changes faster and more accurately. This lessens the time between you losing balance and your body stabilizing you.
As a runner, this helps you to run faster and more smoothly, as your body is well-balanced and well-prepared for those moments when you lose your footing slightly or bump up against a stone.