Saturday, September 18, 2010

What is a balance disc?

First and foremost: Happy weekend! Doing anything exciting? I'm headed to Chicago today with Aly (sister) and Angie (friend) to catch a Dave Matthews concert at Wrigley Field. Super stoked, even more so because I'll have some time beforehand to swing by Whole Foods. Seriously, I die for Whole Foods every time I'm in the city. I'll be sure to take some pics of my visit, and I'll report back on all the yummy goods that will surely be purchased. In the meantime, let's talk about balance discs. If you recall, I mentioned these lovely little fitness toys in a previous post and one of my best readers asked me to explain exactly what they were. Drum roll, please...

The balance disc is a little pocket of fitness fun that looks very much like a sea urchin. One side has spikes (but they aren't sharp), while the other is somewhat smoother. There's nothing but air inside it, and most balance discs are usually about a foot wide.

Just like the BOSU, the balance disc can up the ante of just about any standing exercise as it challenges your core muscles. Your core, after all, is what keeps you balanced. Try standing on one when you do bicep curls or triceps presses. Even if you're doing them at a cable machine. And if you're doing stationary squats and/or lunges, place one foot on a balance disc and discover the difference. Just remember to alternate feet—one set right, one set left—in order to keep both sides of your body equal. If you have access to two balance discs, put one under each foot do sumo squats.

It's OK upper body, you can play, too! Put one hand on a balance disc when you do pushups. Or rest your forearms on it when you're in a plank. I know I say this a lot, but your options are endless! Oh, AND—I almost forgot. You can put one in the small of your back when you do crunches. A great option if you can't quite master the exercise ball crunch.

Seriously, make sure your gym has a few of these on hand. At least two, but more if at all possible. Once you display your core strength at the hands of a balance disc, others will surely want in on the secret. I'd hate for you to miss out on precious balance disc time. Ha!

Question: Does your gym have balance discs? If so, how do you use them?

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