Airex Balance Pad


With balance training being the all the rage these days in fitness and conditioning, balance-challenging products are entering the market at a rapid pace. The Airex balance pad is from a Swiss company called Alusuisse, a subsidiary of Alcan composites, and is relatively new to the North American market.

It's simple enough: a square piece of closed-cell foam about 2 1/2 inches thick, about 20 by 16 1/2 inches, reminiscent of thick pads used on gymnastic floors, but softer. Its applications include club classes, personal training and personal use at home.

Already used in Europe in group-exercise classes, the Airex can be used a bit like a step or BOSU (that half-ball rounded balance trainer) where you step up and down from it, forcing your body to catch itself while on it and not wobble. The softness of the foam forces the muscles of the foot, ankle and lower leg to work to keep you upright and challenges the reaction of nerves that trigger muscles to respond to the challenge -- all so you don't fall over, a skill applicable to the real world of athletics and daily living.

We used one in a home situation for several weeks and found we liked it best not only for standing balance maneuvers on both one and two legs, but also to perform other sitting, lying or kneeling core strengtheners. For example, placing one knee on the pad, while extending the opposite leg behind you and then extending the opposite arm on the supporting knee added an extra challenge to this basic exercise. Even crunches and V-sits gain a new dimension, as do back extensions, when your mid-section or glutes are on the soft, thick pad. Its softness also makes it more adaptable to less experienced or less balance-proficient people than some wobble boards. More advanced users could stand on it while throwing or catching balls for an extra challenge.

A disadvantage we would perceive with multiple users in a gym setting would be the need for a towel to keep it clean and sweat-free -- who wants to share sweat? And we haven't used it enough to judge its durability and resistance to tears or other long-term abrasion.

Its backing allows it to stay put well on both carpet and wood floor -- without any danger of denting or marking floors.

SNEWS Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested retail: $49.95

For more



Spenco Sports Blister Pads

Finding something that provides blister relief or protection is akin to finding the pot at the end of the rainbow for blister-sufferers, which means most of us at one time or another. We think the Sports Blister Pads from Spenco could be that pot filled with gold for many. You more


MFT Trim training/balance disk

We’ve tried a lot of balance and wobble boards, disks and other devices in our day – partly because we are huge believers in the importance of balance and core training for performance, for health, for age, and for fun. The MFT disk series that Tunturi Fitness began promoting more


Fitter First Classic Balance Board

There are a lot of balance and wobble boards on the market these days, and it can be difficult to figure out which one is good or bad, or which may simply be better for you than another. The beauty of the Fitter Classic Balance Board is that it's taken many of the great more

BOSU Integrated Balance Trainer

With balance training and so-called "functional" workouts (stuff that crosses over to real life) so popular these days, the simplicity of the BOSU Integrated Balance Trainer makes you ask, "Why didn't I think of that?" An acronym for "Both Sides Up," BOSU basically looks like a more

How to Sell: Balance/Wobble Boards

This Training Center article is written by the editors of SNEWS® So your customers are coming in shopping for treadmills, home gyms, yoga mats, and bikes, as well as for gear for activities such as skiing and hiking. They want to burn calories, strengthen muscles, get flexible, more


FitDeck Balance Dome Exercise Playing Cards

Now five years old, FitDeck has come a long way from its first set of exercise playing cards that were stuck in a pouch pocket and were meant to be all things to all people. (Click here for a Jan. 10, 2005 SNEWS review.) Today, creator Phil Black has created a bit of a FitDeck more


New Balance N5 Max heart rate monitor

SNEWS® gear testers have used a lot of heart-rate monitors over the years, dating back to prehistoric time. Well, OK, maybe not quite that far but before they were as common and certainly before most knew what a maximum or target heart rate was. So having been through a more

H&F Biz show '04 -- Stretch, balance, mind-body

Companies whose focus, formerly, had been items like resistance bands or weight-lifting accessories (gloves, belts, etc.) had booths full of balance and stretching accessories, too. Unfortunately, a couple of companies that specialize in mind-body products such as yoga mats and more