Balance disc workouts can offer you impressive benefits but what are some balance disc exercises you can do at home or in the gym?
A balance disc is a piece of balance exercise equipment you can describe as a plastic inflatable disc. You can use balance discs for a variety of exercises to train both balance and muscle strength.
Keep in mind that the goal of some of the exercises in this article is challenging your balance. This can also be a potential downside. Be careful when using a balance disc, especially when doing some of the more advanced exercises.
If needed you can start with the support of a chair, wall, person, any other stable object, and build up from there. Also make sure you do the balance disc exercises on a non-slippery surface.
That being said here are balance disc exercises for everyone from beginners to people more experienced with balance training. You can start with these examples and think of new ones yourself.
This first balance disc exercise is the most straightforward one and the base for many of the other exercises.
The goal is to stand on the balance disc without shifting your weight so that your feet touch the ground. You can focus your eyes on a static object to make the balancing easier. Something else that can help to balance is using your arms.
This first exercise is mainly for people who want to train their balance when standing up. If you are more experienced with balance training you can try standing on the balance disc with only one leg.
Initially, you can choose to stand for 5 seconds in this position your goal and with some experience work up to 30 seconds and more.
The walkthrough uses the version of the exercise where you put both of your hands on one balance disc. You can also use one balance disc for each hand or only put one hand on a balance disc. To do a balance disc pushup take the following steps:
- Put the balance disc on the ground, sit in front of the balance disc, and put one hand at each side of the balance disc.
- Move your feet back until your body is in a straight line from your heels to the top of your head. Keep your shoulders above your hands.
- Slowly fold your arms at your elbows until your face is close to the balance disc. Your upper arms should be at an angle of about 45 degrees or less to your sides.
- Stretch your arms again until you are back in the position of step 3.
Balance discs pushups will engage a variety of balancing muscles more compared to the regular pushup. Even so, the first muscles to fatigue will likely still be your chest, tricep, and shoulder muscles.
A potential downside of this exercise is that the balancing you will train with balance disc pushups does not resemble the most common daily activities as much as some of the other options on this list.
This next exercise uses the balance disc to make crunches harder for your ab muscles. In turn, this can lead to more and faster ab muscle gain compared to regular floor crunches. To do a balance disc crunch take the following steps:
- Put the balance disc with the flat part on the ground on a steady surface. Sit in front of it.
- Lie down on the balance disc so that it is positioned against your lower back. Put your hands against your chest, the side of your head, or stretch your arms.
- Raise your head and shoulders as much as possible while keeping your lower back on the balance disc. Make sure you don’t use your arms but your ab muscles to do this movement.
- Lower your head and shoulders until you are back in the position of step 2.
Keep your movements slow and controlled to make your abs really work hard and to avoid bad technique. Make sure you don’t jerk your head forward throughout the exercise, especially if you put your hands behind your head. Also try to make sure your abs are powering the movement, not the momentum of your arms.
To make balance crunches even more challenging you can stretch your arms above your head or hold weights against your chest.
Leg strength training beginners may be able to build some muscle with balance disc squats but the main focus of this exercise is improving your balance fitness component. Besides that, you will strengthen your ankles more with balance disc squats compared to the floor version.
To do a balance disc squat take the following steps:
- Put the balance disc on the ground on a steady surface. Stand in front of it.
- Put one foot on the balance disc.
- Put your second foot on the balance disc and move your feet to about shoulder width apart.
- Slowly lower your hips by bending your knees. How far depends on different factors like knee health but at your lowest point you ideally want your hips to be at or lower than your knee height. You will likely have to bend forward for balance.
- Push yourself up again into starting position by stretching your legs.
Bodyweight squats alone are often not enough to build a lot of leg muscle. Doing squats with weights is great for this but doing weighted squats on a balance disc is generally not recommended.
For the balance disc bridge variation you preferably want a yoga mat or other soft surface to lie on. To do a bridge with a balance disc take the following steps:
- Lie on your back on the floor or other soft surface. Place your feet on one or two balance discs at a distance where your lower legs are more or less vertical in the next step. If you want to, hold any weights on your body at the hip level. If not put your arms at your sides for balance.
- Move up your hips in a controlled motion until your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Make sure your arms are only used for balance, not for pushing yourself up.
- Slowly lower your body again.
Make sure you don’t raise your hips higher than a straight line to avoid any back injuries.
You can do both a hold at the top of the bridge or do up-and-down repetitions. In most situations doing more dynamic repetitions will offer the most muscle gain results for the least amount of time.
By using a balance disc you engage core muscles like your obliques more compared to a regular floor glute bridge. Besides that muscles like glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae will have to work more or less to the same extent.
6. Front-to-back tilt
The balance disc front-to-back tilt starts in the standard balancing position from the first exercise example. After that, the next step is to slowly tilt your feet forward until your toes touch the ground.
The next step is to slowly tilt your feet backward until your heels touch the ground. The last part of one repetition is returning to starting position. You can do a certain number of repetitions or keep doing repetitions for a certain time. There is not really a universal magic number of repetitions for optimal balance training.
The front-to-back tilt is another balance disc exercise that mainly focuses on training your balance and less on strengthening big muscles. This movement can also help you strengthen your ankles.
If this front-to-back tilt with 2 feet is not challenging enough for you, you can also try to do it on 1 foot.
7. In and outs
To do an in and out take the following steps:
- Lie horizontally on the balance disc with your butt as the contact point with the disc. You can hold your arms against your chest if you are relatively new to ab training, stretched above your head if you are more experienced.
- Move your upper legs toward your chest, let your lower legs hang down. At the same time curl up your upper body starting with your shoulders and continuing with the rest of your back until your upper body and upper legs meet in the middle or less far if needed. Make sure you use your abs and not the momentum of your upper body to power the movement.
- Slowly lower your legs and upper body again, stretch your legs again so they don’t touch the ground. If you will do more repetitions you can keep your feet hovering just above the ground. If you are done you can lower your legs and upper body to the ground.
Keep your movements slow and controlled to make your abs and obliques really work hard and to avoid bad technique. Also make sure you don’t jerk your head forward and backward, keep it in the same position relative to your upper body.
In and outs on a balance disc will mainly be a core exercise. In balance disc crunches, the disc served as a way to increase how much you engage these same core muscles. In the in and out exercise, the disc is mainly there to challenge your balance and engage balancing muscles.