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 in late 2009 includes three types for home use as well as a more advanced item for trainers, plus an interactive, computerized, game-oriented version that’s more for clubs and trainers. The three home-oriented boards (called “Fun,” “Fit,” and “Trim”) are all painted a combination of bright apple green and gray, are made of thick wood. They are either balance or wobble boards or a combination of balance, wobble and even twisting training.
We tried the “Trim” model since it allowed us to balance, wobble and twist (sort of like four boards in one) and is geared toward more athletic endeavors, but as folks who are not interested in losing weight or “trimming,” we found the name a bit off-putting. Still, we pushed ahead since it’s not the name we were testing.
This is one heavy board but, wow, it’s built solidly. The Trim model is actually two boards—a base that can be a wobble board (“wobbling” is in two directions, either front to back or side to side) or serve as a basic balance board that goes in all directions if you take off the top part and flip over the bottom part. With the “top part” set back in place you can then add a twisting motion to your balancing and wobbling—and this isn’t easy! It has an additional feature that allows a user to lock down the top part to eliminate the twist so it becomes a bit of a higher (and thus more difficult) step or wobble.
All in all, it’s a pretty innovative concept. We popped in the DVD to see what the trainers could teach us and to follow along with the exercises. The German-ness really pops out here. The woman who leads the workout speaks pretty good English but has enough of a German accent to cause a few giggles. And the totally silent “Terminator” type guy who is by her side never says a word and leaves you wondering what he is thinking. The setting is also, well, goofy since it’s kind of a yoga-like environment with a Buddha and Eastern décor. We aren’t sure of the application to balance, but… ok… well…on with the exercises.
The instruction was mostly pretty clear, but honestly so matter-of-fact and practically stern that it wasn’t all that entertaining to follow along. Our suggestion: Do it a couple of times, make some notes, and then just do the exercises on your own. You WILL need their instruction to start since the variety of exercises, even with the few they show, is also quite innovative and indeed challenging. The exercises are worthy of adding to an athletic training routine, but some are not necessarily suited for a beginner.
The large, foldout instruction flyer that comes with it has each of the six exercises described in six languages. Unfortunately, this mandates such small print and such concise instructions that they are rendered rather useless. And on the manual, the instructions and exercise names are very much written in what we here call “Germ-english,” sort of a mediocre attempt by Germans to write English—understandable but not music to the ears.
All of this sounds awfully negative but it’s really just a so-so frosting. The board, the way it functions, and the variety of innovative exercises are really quite good. And once you actually use the product you’ll recognize its benefits and how it differs from other boards out there. Now Tunturi just needs to work with its supplier in Germany to rewrite the instructions, re-jigger the names, redesign the manual and re-shoot the DVD to make it a bit more user-friendly for English-speakers.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.0 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: Trim Disk, $179.99 (Fun Disk, $89.99; Fit Disk, $139.99)