Using a balance board to perform push-ups can make the routine more effective. As with any push-up, the board push-up uses your body weight in order to develop the muscles in the chest, shoulders and arms. However, the board is more likely to cause you to self-correct your mistakes than using no tools, and will also give you additional resistance for a more comprehensive workout.
The Targeted Muscles
Push-ups are one of the most effective exercises for strengthening and toning the chest, shoulder and arm muscles. The specific muscles targeted by the push-up are the pectoralis in the chest, the deltoids in the shoulders and the triceps in the upper arms. The pectoralis is the muscle that benefits the most from the exercise.
The Exercise Basics
The balance board is a lightweight, conveniently small piece of equipment that can be used for a number of exercises. When using the board for a push-up, place the board horizontally on a stable surface and perform the exercise in the following manner:
- Sit on your shins on the ground facing the board and grip both ends of the balance board with your hands. Your fingers should curl around the edges of the board, with your thumbs placed flat against the top surface of the board.
- Stick your legs out as far as they will go behind you in the push-up position. Your toes should be positioned on the ground and your legs should be about hip-width apart.
- Keep your core and neck straight, with your head facing down toward the ground just beyond the balance board. The board should be positioned so that when you move up and down, your shoulders are in line with the board.
- Push down so that your shoulders almost touch the balance board and push up as fully as your arms will extend. Repeat. Any time you're not keeping your core straight, you may start to tilt on the board. Correct yourself so that the board remains level.
- If you're just beginning, start with five to ten push-ups at a time. Eventually, you can work your way up to greater numbers.
Make sure that the balance board is positioned on a stable surface--preferably one that can help absorb some impact, such as a gym or yoga mat or a flat expanse of grass. Do not place the board on a shag carpet or rug. Make sure that you grip the board tightly and do not perform the push-ups quickly until you've gotten used to maintaining your balance. Try to stop yourself from tilting over completely on the board, as you can injure your fingers if you tilt over too quickly and put too much weight on the board as it hits the ground.
Adding More Challenge
The best way to make the board push-up more challenging is simply to add more speed and more push-ups to your workout over time. You should gradually increase your speed and the number of push-ups you do and not try to add too much speed at once. Be careful, too, when adding speed that you don't forget to keep your core straight.