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GiBoard Balance Board Review 
By Nathan Brown

When working with patients and runners as a physical therapist, we are regularly integrating rehabilitation and training strategies that treat runners holistically. This includes strength, mobility, sleep habits, mental health, stress levels, power, nutrition, and the list goes on. Another realm incorporated in training is proprioceptive and balance training, which typically results in finding creative ways to challenge people's balance with things around their homes like standing on unstable cushions or pillows. The GiBoard is a balance board that provides a stimulus for proprioceptive training that mirrors slacklining but in a much smaller and more mobile package. In this review, we will discuss the merit of proprioceptive training and what our experience with the GiBoard is like.



GiBoard Balance Board
Price: $149-200 at GiBoard

Pros: Fun, Advanced Tool for Balance Training, Large Variety of Exercises/Uses
Cons: Bulky Compared to Other Balance Products


EXERCISE TOOL SUMMARY


The GiBoard is a balance board created to give athletes of all kinds a portable and compact way to challenge their proprioceptive system. It looks like a wooden snowboard with a slackline connected between the curled-up tips on each end and usually features some fun artistic flare like you see in the skateboarding world. The slackline is taught, but the tension on the line can be altered depending on your preferences and weight. Balance training is more difficult when there is increased variability in the surface you're standing on, and the ability to change the tension on the line allows you to progress or regress the difficulty depending on the types of exercises you are doing. The GiBoard build is solid, with robust and high-quality wood, some grip components on the bottom, and a sturdy strap. The design is appealing and fun, with a lot of versatility in how to utilize the balance board.

GIBOARD PERFORMANCE


The GIBoard sits on the upper end of uniqueness, versatility, and cost of balance tools. It is similar in price to the well-known BOSU ball, yet provides a far greater challenge due to a narrower place to balance. Its size mirrors the BOSU, as it is larger and more difficult to transfer unlike smaller balance pads. Its uniqueness and ability to mirror the challenge of slacklines sets it apart from other balance tools. Most balance pads are wider and flat, with balance beams being extremely expensive and almost impossible to easily carry around. The GiBoard, while slightly bulky, can still be portable and provides a highly challenge balance situation that can be applied to almost any exercise. The bounciness of the slack allows additional jumping, plyometric, upper extremity and dynamic exercises to be executed, providing a high level of versatility for this product.

It is also eye-catching, which is helpful from an adherence and practice standpoint. From that standpoint, kids of our team members have loved having the GiBoard balance board to challenge themselves to see how long they can balance on it or add it to their favorite obstacle courses that they make in the basement. It has been easy for me to spend 3-5 minutes, twice a day working on this when it is next to the door. Every time I finish a run (I usually run twice a day), I spend a few minutes doing a variety of dynamic exercises to challenge myself. It has been a fun way to add a bit of balance work into my life, although my primary adjunct training method to running will still be heavy kettlebell lifts. I will continue using this to see if it can match my other favorite balance tool, the Slack Block. It provides a different and greater challenge that the more portable Slack Block cannot, but I will have to experiment further with both to see which one comes out on top. 



BENEFITS OF BALANCE TRAINING FOR RUNNERS

For those who like skateboarding or slacklining, the GiBoard provides a good, relatively portable way to work on dynamic and static balance. Its size and cost are a little larger/higher than simpler products but it overcomes this with the additional challenge and versatility it provides. It is far cheaper, more compact and more portable than balance beams. The slackline similarity provides a great challenge for those looking to add advanced balance training to their repertoire. While a fun tool, I want to remind runners of the SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demands) and specificity of training principles. Unstable surface training tends to improve balance on unsteady surfaces. Trail runners may benefit most from this type of training given the time they spend on softer, unstable surfaces.

However, the ride and popularity of high stack height, soft, unstable super racing shoes may make this product more relevant on the road scene. While working on balance will improve balance, it will not improve strength, power and force output unless those are added to this (and doing balance training with those will prevent you from getting the full stimulus from them). I would still encourage runners to prioritize strength training first given the known impact on injury rates. Balance training can be added as a secondary adjunct if time allows or if it is necessary for training on trails or for those having trouble with softer shoes. 

GiBOARD BALANCE BOARD CONCLUSION

We recognize the many limitations we have as people to incorporate all aspects of health into our daily and weekly routines. Therefore, our biggest encouragement is to nail the non-negotiables including sleep, stress management, and proper nutrition and hydration. On top of that, it is then important to build habits that allow us to sustain the demands of running that we want to do. This is where strengthening, mobility training, and balance training come into the mix. We believe that the best solution for any type of training is finding the one that you can access and enjoy doing.

On that front, the GiBoard may be an option for those who find the challenges associated with slacklining and boarding a more viable and fun mode of training than other options such as standing on pillows or the Slack Block. We also really appreciated the versatility of the GiBoard, as it allowed for static balance training, modifications to change difficulty, and the ability to leverage it for strength and plyometric progressions. If you're looking for a new, fun way to increase your engagement with balance training, the GiBoard can be a tool to check out.

References

Bielskytė, M., Petkutė, T., & Žumbakytė-Šermukšnienė, R. (2019). Changes in The Functional Parameters of Balance and Lower Extremities of Adolescent Short and Long-Distance Runners After Exercises on Unstable Surfaces. Baltic Journal of Sport and Health Sciences2(113).

Brachman, A., Kamieniarz, A., Michalska, J., Pawłowski, M., Słomka, K. J., & Juras, G. (2017). Balance training programs in athletes–A systematic review. 
Journal of Human Kinetics58(1), 45-64.

Freitas, L. J. D., Ignácio, S. M., & Bonfim, T. R. (2021). Effects of sensorimotor training on pelvic stability and balance in runners. Fisioterapia em Movimento34, e34125.

Vincent, H. K., Brownstein, M., & Vincent, K. R. (2022). Injury prevention, safe training techniques, rehabilitation, and return to sport in trail runners. Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation4(1), e151-e162.


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GiBoard Balance Board
Price: $149-200 at GiBoard (Use Code DOR10 for 10% off)

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at *** for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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