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Gear: Exercise equipment for better balance

Small but effective
“Use it or lose it” goes for most things in life, including balance. Athletes use it to stick a landing, dodge a would-be tackler and score 9s on “Dancing With the Stars.” When de-conditioned folks lose it, they feel shaky on a bike, walk stiffly and slowly, and risk falling and breaking their hip while vacuuming the floor. Fortunately, balance comes back when you work the quick-reaction core muscles that coordinate a body in motion, traditionally with the assistance of stability products such as wobble boards and Swiss balls. Here are four new takes that strike a good balance of simplicity, challenge and fun.

-- Roy M. Wallack

Small but effective

Workout 180: Unstable half-circle platform with built-in stretch-cord mini-gym.

Likes: Fun, effective, compact. You get a nice core workout on the rocking, round- bottomed 24-by-14-inch platform while doing stretch-cord curls, overhead presses and especially tough squats. The platform makes push-ups and planks far more challenging. The clean, space-saving design houses three retractable resistance cords of varying difficulty levels to which the user attaches clip-on handles. You can use it with your own dumbbells too. The included frame stabilizer can be used as push-up bar. Easily stores in a closet or behind the sofa.

Dislikes: None

Price: $199.99. (888) 355-5335; workout180.com.
(www.workout180.com)

Reviewed: Workout 180, the Woggler, Bosu 3D Body Sculpting, TP Stability Pods.


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