Surfing and Motocross:
The Indo Board Balance Trainer
By Tim Crytser
So you're not a surfer, a wakeboarder, and you don't ride a skateboard. Why should you care about balance? Well, for starters, it’s the basic skill needed in practically every sport, including motocross. From football and basketball to motocross and cycling, changing your center of gravity to match your moves is the key to efficiency in sport. The technical term is agility. Agility is what allows us to move gracefully, wasting little motion. It allows our joints to move through the full range of motion smoothly and confidently. Many of motocrosses top athletes are using balance training as an integral part of their overall training program, both for injury prevention and performance enhancement.

So Many Products ...So Little Time
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Surfer and creator, Hunter Joslin shows superior balance and control with the H Tube Stance!
If you think the fitness industry is crowded with ab machines promising the perfect set of abs there are just as many balance contraptions making similar claims. I have tried just about all of them never really getting too excited about any one in particular. But once I was introduced to the Indo Board I found myself getting excited about balance training. I think the thing I like the most about the Indo Board is the company's roots. It was developed by surfer, Hunter Joslin over a 30 year span beginning with the first proto-type in 1975. The Indo Board Balance Trainer officially entered the business world in September 1998 with its introduction at the Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida.

It has always been a secret dream of mine to live near the beach, own a surf board shop and be around surfers and beach bums. The sun, sand, surf and girls that go along with it seemed like a nice way to spend my time. As it turns out I don't live near the beach, I certainly do not own a board shop and my friends are about as far from the surfer/beach bum type as you can get. But every time I step onto my Indo Board it brings me a little closer to my dream, even if only for a few brief moments. The really cool thing about the Indo Board is that even though I have never learned to surf I can pretend I am preparing for the next World Championships (in the back of my wildly popular Board Shop no less) and all the while improving something that I actually do; ride motorcycles!

Most motocross athletes and even the general weekend warrior usually think of fitness in terms of cardiovascular efficiency, strength, and flexibility. Often overlooked is the key element of balance. For most of us staying steady under ordinary riding conditions is easy. But it is only easy because of years of experience beginning with those first tentative pushes of the pedal when you first had your training wheels removed. Gravity often prevailed but as time went by you learned balance and how to ride a bike. More specifically you were learning proprioception. Proprioception is the ability of your body to interpret and use information about your position in space. Through a complex system of environmental feedback translating cues from the bottom of your feet, the relation of your inner ear to gravity, and from visual cues, your body senses which muscles to switch on or off to maintain your desired position. Proprioception is a very important part of being fast on a motorcycle.

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The Indo Original Training Package combines the "Original" model deck, roller, and the IndoFLO Balance Cushion !
Balance is needed every time you strap on your helmet and go for a ride. There are different levels of balance called upon each time you ride. There is general balance which just about everyone has and then there is advanced balance that is needed when you get cross rutted, are pushed high in a turn by another rider or need to correct the bike's position while flying through the air. Each of these situations requires the execution of just the right amount of flexibility and agility at the right time and from the right areas of the body in order for us to execute the desired task, recover and then be able to repeat the same or similar tasks without crashing. With balance training, as with most training, the idea is to recreate and manipulate in a controlled environment what we do on the race track.

What is The Indo Board
The Indo Board Balance Trainer is actually a very simple piece of equipment. It consists of a board about the size of a large skateboard and a cylinder that is about 6 inches in diameter; that's it! The board is available in a variety of deck shapes, and you can progress to the cylindrical roller by learning on the IndoFLO® Balance Cushion first. Using the Indo Board for fun or as a serious workout helps the rider develop balance, coordination, and increased leg strength, while enhancing all important core fitness.  Indo Boards improve motor skills, making the Indo Board a great cross training tool for a variety of sports, from extreme board sports to all mainstream sports that require agility and innate balance coordination like motocross. The Indo Board Balance Trainers are simple, stable, and user friendly. Anyone can ride with a few basic instructions and something or someone to hold on to for support.

The learning curve is 10 to 15 minutes for most, after that, Indoboarding becomes routinely easy and fun. The Indo Board goal is to introduce a fun and challenging way to exercise the bodies balance control systems. Even though balance is so easily taken for granted, human movement is dependent on balance and coordination. In this new age of fitness awareness, the notion of balance training is essential, particularly in board sports and all physical activities utilizing the core muscles.

How to Use for Motocross
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Joe Gibbs Racing's Cody Cooper shows off his skills on the Indo Board. Here Cody uses the IndoFLO Cushion before advancing to the cylindrical roller!
The Indo Board can be applied to all phases of motocross training including the off-season, pre-season and in-season time periods. During the off-season the board can be utilized as a pure balance trainer to improve overall balance and coordination during those long periods of in-activity off the bike. The Board is also great for improving ankle and knee strength for those of you who may be recovering from injury. The pre-season is a good time to start using the board in conjunction with your interval training. At the end of an interval or other high aerobic output, try balancing on the board for 1 to 2 minutes without letting the ends touch the ground. As you get better at balancing you can progressively make it harder by adding movement and tricks with the board. During the in-season phase the Board can be taken outside and used not only for additional leg work but off-balance pushups as well. If you start now, by the time the in-season roles around you will be using the Board everyday whether it's part of workout routine or just to have fun.

I can't tell you how many hours I have spent on my Board wishing I could rewind the clock and start over as a young 16 year-old surfer. I think it's like the Hackie Sac of the boarder generation. Everyone gets a turn to show off to a ring of cheering friends; how cool is that to just hang out and vibe with friends? The options on how to incorporate the Indo Board into your daily routine are endless and by incorporating the Indo Board you can finally add some fun and excitement to what may otherwise be a boring and stale workout.

That's it for now. Until next time, good luck with your training and, as always, VT can be reached anytime on the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section , your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.  


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