ElliptiGO riders know that balance is the key to safe, strong riding. In November 2022, ElliptiGO became the exclusive North American distributor for an exciting new balance training product: the GiBoard. Since then, we’ve sold nearly 10,000 GiBoards and the feedback has been nothing short of incredible. We are delighted that so many people, including many ElliptiGO owners, have incorporated this ultra-versatile tool into their fitness regimen. We — and our customers! — are discovering more and more benefits of this small-but-mighty piece of equipment. If you’re already doing balance training, find out how the GiBoard can take it to another level. And if you’ve never tried it, explore how the GiBoard can benefit your ElliptiGO cycling, improve your overall fitness and reduce your risk of injury.
What is balance training?
Balance training is a type of exercise that helps you improve your stability, coordination, and muscle strength, making everyday movements easier and reducing the risk of injury. You’ve probably seen or even tried balance trainers like the Bosu Ball, which looks like a plastic platform with half of a rubber ball on top of it. Balance training equipment enables you to practice standing or performing other movements on the unstable surface to improve your balance.
Want to quickly test your balance? Try this 10-second test.
What is the GiBoard?
The GiBoard is made in North America from sustainably cultivated, high-grade maple. It looks a lot like a snowboard! A slackline, a suspended strip of flat webbing, runs the length of the board. In stark contrast to other balance trainers, the GiBoard’s slackline is only a few inches off the ground when in use. If you lose your balance, no worries! You’re barely above the ground, so stepping down is safe and easy.
How do you do balance training on the GiBoard?
Despite its low profile, simply standing on the GiBoard’s slackline can be a challenge. In fact, our CEO Bryan Pate confesses, “When I first tried it, I could not stand on it for more than two or three seconds at a time!” Learning the fundamentals of balance completely changed Bryan’s approach, and now he can stand for minutes (“Yes, plural!” he says!) on the GiBoard. “It’s become almost a meditation tool for me in that regard,” says Bryan.
If you’re new to the GiBoard, try the foundational video series, which is available for free on the GiBoard website. Anthony Roumell, SlackFit Master Trainer and Owner of Center of Balance Training, leads the five short videos. He teaches basic balance skills using the GiBoard, from balancing on one leg to walking the slackline to balancing in the exposure stance, similar to the way surfers stand on a surfboard.
Why do balance training?
Everyone can benefit from balance training. It improves stability, posture, body awareness, muscle strength and coordination. As your balance improves, you’ll find that everyday movements are easier and you’ll reduce your risk of injury. Your overall fitness level will improve, and your athletic performance will be enhanced. You’ll likely notice that you’re walking a bit faster or riding your ElliptiGO with more control.
Bryan says that since he’s been training on the GiBoard, his track standing skills — staying on the bike when stopped at a light without putting a foot down — are noticeably better. “More importantly,” he says, “I have better bike handling skills now. It’s made me a better ElliptiGO rider for sure. I plan to continue to train my balance for the rest of my life.”
Service Manager Keri Cleeremans has also added the GiBoard to her training regimen. Sometimes she follows one of the GiBoard training videos. Other times, she simply stands on the GiBoard in front of the TV while watching sporting events. She shares, “I like the challenge of testing myself and I love how my core is getting stronger.”
Is balance training just for older people?
While it is critical for people over 50, balance training is important for everyone at every age. In fact, it’s great for kids! Balance training helps to support early childhood physical development. It also builds coordination, strength and agility in kids, which boosts their self-confidence and helps prevent injuries.
Erica Avalos says that her class of neurodiverse kids at Woodridge Elementary love the GiBoard in her classroom. She says the kids started off just standing on it and balancing, and she was pleased to see that they needed less and less assistance. “It became a sought-out activity for breaks and reinforcement after the kiddos were done with their work,” Erica shares.
Even athletes who actively work on their balance, like skateboarders and snowboarders, can benefit from GiBoard training. Boarders can safely practice tricks on the GiBoard before trying them on the street or mountain. The GiBoard website has more than 30 videos demonstrating beginner to advanced tricks, from hang tens to spins to kick flips, to challenge the most extreme boarder.
People 50 and older have the most to gain from balance training. Bryan says, “Our balance skills deteriorate as we age. I don’t like quoting statistics as a scare tactic, but the fact is that falling is the number one cause of injuries for people over 50 and the number one cause of death by injury for people over 65.” The best way to reduce your risk of falling or being injured in a fall is by improving your balance.
And the good news is that you don’t have to spend hours to see a difference. Bryan says, “There is no doubt in my mind that if you digest those foundational videos and practice for about five minutes a day on your GiBoard, you will absolutely see your balance improve.”
What else can you do with a GiBoard?
In addition to balance training, you can work your entire body with the GiBoard. Use this versatile piece of fitness equipment for deeper stretches, increased mobility and enhanced strength training. We recently released a playlist of 29 GiBoard exercises along with this 12-minute Upper Body Strength Workout that can help you take your fitness to the next level. Even more workouts will be added in the coming months. Or, find a gym that’s using GiBoards! More than a dozen gyms and fitness centers offer group classes or one-on-one training with the GiBoard.
Multiple physical therapy clinics are also using GiBoards to help their clients improve their balance, strength and mobility. Physical therapist and pediatric therapy clinic manager Melanie McKinney says the GiBoard is her “go to” equipment. She says, “The webbing strap enables certain balance activities that are unmatched by other equipment I have in the clinic. In the therapeutic setting, I am using the GiBoard with and without handhold supports for children, depending on their level of balance proficiency.” Melanie particularly appreciates the GiBoard’s small size and portability, which allows her to scale challenges up or down within a session.
There’s a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that says, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” The GiBoard has inspired us to modify that to say: To keep moving, you must keep your balance. And we think the best way to do that is with the GiBoard!