Part 3: List of Must Have Balance Training Equipment

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ADL Rumble Board for Static Balance Exercises

In the previous post “The Business Case for Better Balance,” I wrote that being the best at balance is a competitive advantage and includes excelling in 3 areas: knowledge (see 5-Point Check of Balance Knowledge post), equipment, and systems. In respect to equipment, I stated the best “have the equipment needed to treat various balance problems – a couple of tilt boards won’t cut it.” In this post I will expand on the equipment needed to effectively treat balance disorders (NOTE: vestibular-based balance problems are not included in this post).

1. Equipment recommendations for static balance. Having steadiness while standing in one place is important for many daily tasks: preparing a meal, taking a shower, cleaning the house, etc. Exercises are needed to replicate these tasks, and more. Exercises for static balance include 3 elements: surface (hard floor, soft surface, unstable surface, etc.), stance (normal, narrow, single-leg, etc.), and additional challenges (weight shifts, reaching, head movements, throwing, catching, nudges, etc.). Below are examples of equipment that are needed to challenge static standing balance:

  • Foam and/or other unstable surfaces (discs, BOSU, etc.)
  • Tilt/rocker boards (see ADL Rumble Board)
  • Hip Stick
  • ADL Balance Trainer
  • Items to place and retrieve (cones, rings, etc.)
  • Items to throw, catch, or kick (balls of varying sizes, densities, and weight)

2. Equipment recommendations for dynamic balance.  Having steadiness while walking around is important when interacting with the world. The world is full of potential hazards (uneven ground, steps, curbs, trip hazards, perturbations, etc.) and distractions (low light, glare, crowds, etc.). Dynamic balance exercises help prepare individuals for safe interactions with the world. Similar to static exercises, dynamic balance exercises are made up of 3 primary elements: surface (hard, gravel, soft, transitions, etc.), direction (forward, back, sideways, cross overs, etc.), and additional challenges (step over obstacles, curbs, stairs, head movements, carries, nudges, etc.). Below are examples of equipment needed to challenge dynamic standing balance:

  • Parallel bars
  • Overhead tracks/supports + harnesses
  • Curbs of various heights
  • Stairs of various heights
  • Various height blocks to step over or around
  • Ramps
  • Uneven surfaces (foam mats, carpet, turf, thresholds, etc.)
  • Items to carry (Perta-Tubes, boxes, cups, etc.)
  • Items to throw, catch, or kick (balls)
  • Clock Yourself App for improving stepping reactions

If you would like more information on balance equipment email me directly at Shane@ADLbalance.com or visit www.ADLbalance.com.