If you sit for long periods of time at a desk, or want to step it up a notch in your fitness routine, a balance disc may just be the answer for providing more challenging moves to your workout, or to engage otherwise inactive muscles when sedentary. Whether you use a balance disc while sitting or standing, small movements made by the body to correct balance on the disc help to strengthen the core, in turn giving more structural support to the body.
An aeromat balance disc is a soft plastic apparatus generally filled with air, where one side is pebble-like in texture and the other side has plastic spikes on the surface. Both sides can help you keep balance and improve core stability. When doing exercises like crunches, squats, push-ups, or lunges, these moves use only a few muscles. However, actions done with hand-held weights and on a disc, more muscles are engaged to push off an unstable surface. The more muscles utilized during a workout, the faster the body will progress to where you want it to go. Certainly, if you are feeling blase about your training, the disc can take you to the next level of fitness.
To strengthen your lower back and abdominals, do bicycle crunches on a disc. This kind of exercise engages ab/hip/pelvic muscles all at the same time. Sitting straight up on a balance disc; feet hip-with apart and 6″ in front of the disc; hands behind your head; knees bent; lower your back to about 45 degrees. As you lift your left foot off the floor, draw your right elbow to meet the knee in a crunch. Return to your original position and do the same with the right knee and left elbow. Do alternating knee crunches for about a minute. To add intensity to a bicycle crunch, bring both feet off the floor and do the same movements.
Doing lunges with a balance disc can help improve lower body balance by working the glutes, thighs and hips. Placing your left foot on one side of the disc, bring your right foot backwards about 3 feet behind your hips. Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the floor. Try to keep hips and shoulders square to maintain the proper posture for a lunge. Before making contact with the floor, push up through your left foot and return to standing. Do 15 of these disc lunges, then switch to the right food and do 15 more repetitions.
This modification of a basic push-up can improve core strength, chest and arm muscles. Place both hands on the outer edges of the disc, while extending your legs straight behind you, with toes lifted on the floor. Check to make sure your body is in a straight line or plank position. Tighten your abdominal muscles and lower your chest towards the disc by bending your elbows until you come within 3″ of the disc. Push up and return to your starting position. If doing a real push-up is too difficult at the start, modify this posture by doing it on bent knees. Do 12 disc push-ups to complete one set.
As you can see, using a balance disc in your fitness routine can enhance, strengthen, and keep your body in good balance and bodily posture. By challenging more muscle groups and strengthening the core, this economical and innovative piece of equipment can help you avoid a potential plateau and kick your exercise regimen up a notch.