Balance Training: Indo Board 101

Indo Board 101

Right now as many if not most of us, continue to stay at home and find our regular training routines “modified” to some extent, it’s a good time to get creative. Or explore new tools that can make working out at home more enjoyable, if not effective.

Enter the Indo Board

Years ago when I first started getting “serious” about my paddling, my brain was a sponge. Long before the era of social media and great training plans like Paddle Monster, there were limited resources out there for the average Jane Paddler looking for sup-specific training info. That’s when I found Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui and learned about this balance board thing.  The Indo Board.  Suzie had a whole series of posts on using the Indo Board in combination with weights and other training tools that would merge strength training with balance training.

Using the Indo board has helped me in the following ways:

1.  By making strength training more fun and  better connecting my strength workouts. – in my mind anyway – directly to sup.

2.  By improving my overall balance which helps me paddle more efficiently, and helps me transition from various styles of boards and paddle craft easily and with confidence.

3.  Improved my surfing.

4.  And…it may or may not have been key to my winning an unofficial mechanical bull-riding contest, but that’s another story.

So, how do you start? For some, it might seem intimidating. But, if you can stand up paddle, you can use the Indo Board.  Here are some tips and tricks for starting out.

Choose your Indo

Indo Board has a variety of different styles of boards available.  If you are just starting out, choose the Original Board.  It is wider and easier to learn on.  Work your way up as you progress or want more of a challenge to the Surf Pro, the Rocker and the Kicktail, in that order as you get better. 

Surf Pro on the right with the stopper “lip” vs the Kicktail on the left, with no stoppers.

The Rocker and Kicktail are more “free float” in that they do not have the wooden stoppers or “lips” that keep the board from sliding off the roller.  If you want to up the intensity of your workouts, but are still unsure about using these advanced boards on the roller, you can use the inflatable Indo Flo cushions instead.  You’ll get a good burn on, but won’t risk falling.

Get the package that includes the cushions and the roller.  If you want to go all out, Indo has a set that also includes several foam rollers as well, that can help you progress.

Pick the right space to Indo

You’ll want plenty of room.  

Don’t try it on a smooth surface, like a garage floor, driveway or hardwood or tile floors. If carpet isn’t available to you, put down a yoga mat or some other mat to create more friction and slow the roll down.  Grass works well, too.

Barefoot for me…as I workout with the Kicktail model…

I prefer to be barefoot when using my Indo Board.  For the same reasons I prefer to SUP barefoot – board feel. If you are working out in a gym setting though, shoes might be a good idea. Up to you.

Start Low

Get a feel for the board underneath you first and use the Indo Flo cushions  These are great because you can also use these by themselves for balance work, rehab or your weight workouts.  The giant size cushions are also great for doing some “sit down” work that can help you with outrigger or surf ski paddling (or bull riding contests – but I digress. Again.)

The Indo Flo cushion on its own is a great tool.

Using the cushion with the board keeps your center of gravity lower and you will gain confidence quicker.

Once you get the hang of it, and feel ready, you can progress to the roller.

Indo has some great suggestions for beginning with the roller, so take a look.

Use a buddy, if you can, to steady you at first. If you don’t have a buddy, you can use a wall.

Just get a feel for what it is like to stand, balanced on the the board. 

Then shift your weight from side to side.  Keep your knees bent, and relax!

Here are the official tips from Indo Board’s website:

  Keep feet shoulder width apart

  Look forward, not down

  Hold your head and shoulders upright

  Neutral spine with hips rolled slightly forward

  Knees bent more than you think they should be

  Engage your core to keep your alignment

  Engaged shoulder blades and back, chest out

  Quiet upper body with no unnecessary arm movements

  Strive towards perfect top to bottom alignment of the ankles- hips- shoulders.

  Do not break/bend at the waist!

Keep your sessions short to start, to develop muscle memory.

Before long, you will feel comfortable trying new things with your Indo Board, like yoga poses, turning the board long-ways and getting practice with toe and heel side balance, as well as incorporating free weights or a weighted bar into your sessions.  The Indo Board add a new element to planks and push ups as well. 

If you paddle OC or surfski, place your Indo Board down on top of the giant cushion and then sit down on the board, knees bent and feet flat on one end of the board. Use a weighted bar, rip stick or a medicine ball and simulate paddling from side to side, and try to keep the Indo Board from touch the ground the whole while.

Beyond the Workout Session

The Indo Board is a great addition to your work space – whether its a home office or even a cube at your workplace.  I have used my Indo Board in conjunction with my stand-up desk workstation and I have even been known to make IndoBoarding a part of my daily routines – even brushing my teeth while standing on it. 

Another thing you can do during this time of staying at home is leave the Indo Board handy and jump on for a quick session while you are watching TV…that’s a great way to sneak in some training – instead of “Netflix and Chill” make it “Netflix and Train!”

It doesn’t take long sessions to get benefits from improving your balance using the Indo Board!