The best balance pad
Sometimes, all it takes to significantly elevate the intensity level of your exercise regimen is something small. A balance pad, for instance, provides a stability that engages your core as well as several ancillary muscles, which can turn an isolated exercise into a full-body workout.
The best balance pads are durable and feature nonslip surfaces. Our favorite is the SPRI Stability Cushion and Exercise Trainer for Physical Therapy. This thick super-soft foam pad can enhance the challenge of many exercises. You can learn more about this and other balance pads by exploring our buying guide.
Considerations when choosing balance pads
The thickness of a balance pad can range from 1.5 to 3 inches. The thicker the balance pad is, the more stability it will provide. The greater stability, the more intense your workout can be.
Size and shape
If you are just using one balance pad for a single foot, it can be a small rectangle or oval shape. The standard size is 20" x 16". That's so you can fit both feet on the pad. If you'd like a larger pad or one in a specific shape, such as long and thin, those are available as well but at a greater cost.
Whatever type of coating covers the inner material of your balance pad, you want it to be durable, so it doesn't easily wear and crack. Also it needs to feature a nonslip textured surface and be nonabsorbent, so it doesn't pick up an odor from your sweat.
How many balance pads do you need? One for yourself, one for each foot, enough for a friend, or a bundle that is adequate for an entire class? Only you know the answers to these questions.
Color can change your mood and make you more eager to engage in a task. It is important to choose a color that you like, so you look forward to working out on your balance pad. Additionally, a unique color can help your pad stand out if you bring it to a class at the gym.
You can find bargain balance pads for as low as $12. However, more durable models with a better build quality are available in the $18 to $35 range. As you move into $40 or more, the balance pads are larger, thicker, or come in different shapes, such as a balance beam (long and thin) for gymnasts.
Q. Are there any safety precautions that I need to take with a balance pad?
A. Because it's easy to become fatigued and lose your balance on a balance pad, you will want your exercise area free of sharp objects that would injure you if you fall on them. Additionally, when you are starting, it's recommended that you use a spotter or place the pad near a wall, so you can steady yourself if needed.
Q. Do I need to clean my balance pad?
A. Yes. After every use, simply wipe your balance pad down with a damp cloth. At least once each week you should do a deeper cleaning with vinegar diluted with water. Be careful because chemicals may dry out and crack your balance pad.
Balance pads we recommend
Best of the best: SPRI's Stability Cushion and Exercise Trainer for Physical Therapy
Our take: A versatile lightweight balance pad that is thicker than many other options.
What we like: This balance pad can be used indoors or outdoors, is tear-resistant, and is designed to hold up well with regular use. It's 2.4 inches thick and manufactured using a closed-cell foam that makes it nonabsorbent enough to be used in a swimming pool.
What we dislike: This particular model features a smooth surface, so it is recommended for barefoot-use only.
Best bang for your buck: Yes4All's Balance Foam Pad
Our take: An affordably priced balance pad that is larger and thicker than may be expected for the price.
What we like: This two-inch thick balance pad is 15.5" x 13.5". It features a textured non-slip nonabsorbent surface. Because the material provides additional grip even when you're sweaty, it works well for a wide variety of exercises ranging from lunges to pushups.
What we dislike: This item may be a bit firmer than you are expecting.
Choice 3: TheraBand's Intermediate Level Foam Pad
Our take: An oval-shaped intermediate balance pad that is designed for use with one foot.
What we like: This balance pad is part of the TheraBand progressive stability line. It's categorized in the intermediate level, providing a more intense workout than the beginner model. This balance pad is best for individuals who are looking to rehab or strengthen their ankles while engaging core muscles.
What we dislike: The "intermediate" level is a subjective label. Some users find it too firm for their needs, while others find it too soft.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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