A review by DiStefano, Clark and Padua of the effectiveness of balance training was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (vol 23, no 9, pp. 2718-2731, 2009). The article assessed the effects of training on the following 3 types of balance:
Static balance on a stable surface: For example, holding a stable body posture while standing on one leg on a flat floor.
Static balance on an unstable surface: For example, holding a stable body posture while ice-skating on one leg (the skate is the unstable surface).
Dynamic balance: For example, performing a dismount from a balance beam or high bar and landing stably; snow-boarding; skiiing.
Effective Exercise for Improving Each Type of Balance
The following training methods were shown effective for improving the various types of balance when performed at least 10 minutes per day, 3 days per week, for 4 weeks.
For static balance on a stable surface:
Wobble board (a board with a cylindrical roller under it)
Ankle disc (a board with a hemispheric ball attached to the underside)
Balance sandal (with a hemispheric ball under the midsole)
For static balance on an unstable surface:
Jump to hold (dynamic)
For dynamic balance:
Single leg balance with contralateral limb and trunk motion
Single leg balance with external perturbations
NOTE: The authors stated that effective balance programs started with comfortable, less challenging exercises (e.g. static, on two legs, on stable surface, eyes open) and progressed, according to the individual's ability, to more challenging exercises (dynamic, on one leg, on unstable surface, eyes closed).