This all-around solid option was designed for effective daily use and earns our fitness expert's praise.
Designed with purpose. Can help improve your flexibility as well as confidence during routine activities that may require extra effort due to injury. Also a great choice if you work at a standing desk.
Not great for high-impact related exercises.
Recommended by physical therapists and also versatile in use; earns our expert's approval.
Consistent padding creates an ideal rehabilitation device that works especially well for those healing from knee problems. Adapts easily to your current lifestyle whether utilized when watching television or working out. Great for improved balance as well as stretching.
Can feel a bit stiff for some.
Lightweight and extra-large, sweat-resistant option made with durable material for fitness and physical therapy.
Wear and tear-resistant, so it tolerates rigorous physical activity. Made from closed-cell TPE material, so it is lightweight and easy to clean. Comes in an extra-large size for standing and kneeling on, as well as sitting.
Users complained that it tends to soften and compress over time.
Extra-thick set of pads that can be connected, which earns this our fitness expert's praise.
Aside from being portable and light, these products are also sweatproof. You can use them separately, on top of each other, or side by side. Come with hook and loop fasteners that will hold them in place as you move around.
Reviewers complained that the Velcro strips come off when you try undoing them.
Our fitness expert likes this pick because of the subtle, built-in details that help stabilize the user.
Ridged top ensures that you won't slip with or without footwear. It's large, leaving room for a versatile amount of workouts. Durable foam feels sturdy and will last you several seasons. Available in multiple colors, including black, pink, and blue.
Thick padding may not be the best for more challenging workouts.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Balance pads may look like simple exercise tools, but you can get many workout benefits from using one, and they will help you work up a sweat.
A balance pad is a square or rectangular piece of foam about two to three inches thick. The average size for a regular balance pad is around 20 x 16 inches. Larger ones come in sizes up to 38-inches long, and even longer ones are available for use on a balance beam. People mainly use them for strength training and physical rehabilitation.
In most exercise scenarios, you place one foot on the pad, keeping the other foot on the floor or lifting it off the ground entirely. The soft, spongy material of the mat encourages you to use all the muscles in your feet, ankles, calves, thighs, and core to maintain your balance while standing on it.
The first time you use one, you may feel your muscles start to tremble with the strain within just a few minutes. With repeated use, there are plenty of fitness benefits to be had.
If you’re serious about obtaining a low-impact workout that delivers results, there are several things you need to consider before getting a balance pad (or two).
Small: These balance pads are so small that you can only put one foot on them at a time. They are typically oval and measure no more than 16 x 9 inches. Some may be rectangular.
Regular: These are the standard 20 x 16-inch size. They are large enough to accommodate both of your feet at the same time when you’re doing squats or similar exercises.
Large: These balance pads measure around 38 x 16 inches. Some manufacturers refer to them as extra-large. They are intended to be used with both feet on them simultaneously.
Balance beam: These pads are intended to be used as a balance beam on the floor (so you don’t have a long way to fall) and measure around 63 x 10 x 2 inches, more or less. The base of these balance pads is usually wider than the top. Walking one foot in front of the other on these pads is a true exercise in maintaining your balance.
The number of balance pads you need depends on whether you’re working out by yourself or with a partner.
Single workout: Most balance pad exercises involve only one pad at a time. You may be performing maneuvers such as lunges. You switch from one foot to the other on the pad, or occasionally, you put both feet on the same pad to do deep knee squats with your arms raised in front of you. If you work out by yourself, one balance pad is all you need.
Partner workout: If you work out with a partner, you need a balance pad for each of you. The more workout partners you have, the more balance pads you’ll need.
Balance pads float. In fact, many people use them as flotation devices. Average-size balance pads make excellent kickboards. Large balance pads can serve as whole-body boards for small children and infants (provided you’re close by to keep them safe). A balance beam pad makes a good neck rest in the swimming pool, keeping your head and shoulders comfortably over the water while allowing you to relax.
By design, balance pads force you to strain your muscles to maintain your balance. Inevitably, you’ll lose your balance and fall while using the pad. To prevent injuries, you need to use your balance pad in a wide-open area, free from furniture or tables with hard, sharp edges. If you don’t have a mostly empty room to use as a dedicated exercise room, then you should make sure someone is available to spot you during your workout.
Balance pads are typically made from closed-cell foam of one sort or another. Some are made of EVA foam; others tout a latex-free construction. Some manufacturers even claim the material is non-toxic and eco-friendly. The takeaway is that all balance pads are made from a soft foam that works on land as a balancing pad and in the water as a flotation device.
Depending on the manufacturer, you may or may not have a choice of color. In those cases where the manufacturer offers only one color, it is usually some shade of blue. The primary colors offered for balance pads are black, blue, green, purple, and red.
Upgraded or “elite” balance pads have a non-slip material on them. Balance pads are best used when you’re barefoot, and the textured surface helps you maintain traction on the pad. Notably, a balance pad with texturing will likely cost more than one without.
$19 to $40 is the low-price range for balance pads. In fact, this is where you’ll find the bulk of all balance pads. Small and regular-size pads are in this category.
Average-size balance pads that are textured run from $64 to $75. The textured surface is the primary difference between this category and the low-priced category.
The high-end prices will be anything over $75 for large balance pads and balance beam pads. The higher price in this category is primarily a reflection of greater physical size.
A. It depends on what you’re using it for. If all you’re doing is standing on the pad, yes — a balance pad is fine for beginners. If you’re doing actual exercises, no — the balance pad adds a measure of instability to your stance that immediately engages the small muscles to help you maintain your balance. This automatically makes the exercises more difficult.
A. As previously mentioned, they make good flotation devices. Also, if you place one on the seat of your chair, the instability will engage your core muscles as you try to balance yourself. You’re actually getting a workout just by sitting one of them!
A. Balance pads are made of foam, whereas balance boards are made of a harder material. The softer material of a balance pad is great for engaging multiple muscle groups, but both are beneficial, and both provide a low-impact workout that can help improve your balance and strength.
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