With the continued popularity of yoga, Pilates and core conditioning, balance training is taking center stage in group fitness classes and personal training sessions. To facilitate balance training, manufacturers have debuted new equipment, like the BOSU[R] Balance Trainer and the Reebok Core Board[R], to much fanfare. On the other hand, many fitness professionals still rely on the old standards, such as foam rollers, stability balls, and traditional balance and wobble boards. Which types of equipment work best in the group setting versus one-on-one training sessions?
In the Group Setting
"I think the half foam rollers are the most practical equipment for three reasons: They are affordable, versatile and safe," says Ingrid Knight-Cohee, fitness coordinator for the YMCA of Vancouver in British Columbia. "As a group instructor, you can't always physically monitor everyone's technique. With the rollers, you can transfer unfamiliar movements with relative ease and feel confident that the majority of participants will be able to master the task in a short period of time."
"The Reebok Core Board works best for me," says Jeffrey Scott, a Southern California-based consultant for 24 Hour Fitness and a master Reebok trainer. "Its adjustability allows everyone in the room to work at a comfortable level, so participants feel successful. [The board] also has notches along the edge to allow tubing to be added for strength training." The fitness chain now features the Reebok Core Board in two 30-minute classes: "Oncore Circuit," which combines cardio drills with strength training, and "Oncore Interval," which teaches sports-inspired drills in an interval format.
As co-owner of Moves International in Mammoth Lakes, California, Candace Copeland Brooks prefers to use stability balls and the BOSU Balance Trainer in her classes. "I use stability balls in my 'Yoga on the Ball' classes and also for core work and stretching in step and cycling classes. However, I prefer the BOSU for core work done in the supine, prone, side-lying or seated position, because beginners don't fear rolling or falling off it. The BOSU is...
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