move with huku
and ben hunt
and ben hunt
Ben Hunt is the owner and lead athletic therapist at Ben Hunt Sports Injury Clinic in Wexford Town. He has worked as a therapist in intercounty and club GAA, Rugby and Soccer and he is also a strength and conditioning coach with Wexford GAA.
Ben graduated with a first-class honours BSc (Hons) in Sports Rehabilitation and Athletic Therapy in 2016. During this time, he also spent some time working in the sports medicine department at Stanford University, California where he worked with elite international and Olympic athletes. He is a Certified Athletic Therapist (CAT) and a member of Athletic Therapy and Rehabilitation Ireland (ARTI). His expertise is Musculoskeletal (MSK), which relates to any tissue that allows us to move and gives us form. Think muscles, bones, joints ligaments, nerves and tendons!
The mission of Ben’s clinic is to guide clients to achieve their goals to recover from injury and to empower people to improve function in both sporting and everyday life. To do this, they use a hands-on assessment and treatment approach, employing evidence-based practice along with a comprehensive knowledge of strength and conditioning to help clients achieve their goals. The clinic has a comprehensively equipped gym on-site, and they place a lot of emphasis on gym-based injury rehabilitation and prevention.
Can you tell us what is happening in the body when you use a balance board?
While using a Huku balance board you are challenging a number of systems called sensorimotor systems, which are closely interconnected. These systems include visual input from the eyes, proprioception from receptors in joints, muscles and skin and vestibular input, which arises from structures located in the inner ear. Each of these systems feed information into the brain via neural impulses and produce an appropriate response, in the form of a motor output (which means changing your body position or orientation based on the sensory information that has been processed).
If there is a problem with one of these systems…there are clearly going to be some balance difficulties. An easy way to demonstrate this for yourself is to stand with your feet close together, hands by your sides and stay still for 20 seconds…easy? Now take away some sensory input by closing your eyes and try to stand still for 20-seconds again, much more difficult? That is because we have removed some sensory input and your brain is finding it more challenging to maintain balance and predict where your body is in space and time. Compromise to any of these sensory inputs may occur as a result of injury, which may be a sprained ligament, post-surgery or even from concussion among others.
The Huku balance boards are very accessible, and there are a range of applications from simple balance work, core work, resistance training and more. These exercises can be regressed or progressed to make them easier or more challenging depending on individual ability. The Corefit board is the most accessible and is a great starting point for even complete beginners. You will soon find that you will be looking to challenge yourself on the other boards in the range. As part of a comprehensive strength and conditioning programme, Huku balance boards are a fun and effective training adjunct for athletes from all sporting disciplines from field sports to the obvious crossover of surfing and other board sports as well as the person who just wants to improve balance and fitness.
Can you explain one challenge/exercise we can do with our Huku balance board?
The one exercise I like to use as an introduction to the Huku balance boards is a controlled side-side weight shift. This will challenge your balance and help to strengthen your adductors (groin musculature) quadriceps (thigh musculature) and glutes (hip musculature).
Make sure you are in a safe environment with no hazards in your area and you don’t have any injuries that may prevent you from using the board safely. If you are a complete beginner the Corefit is the best option for you, you can also perform the exercise on a soft carpet to make it easier and have a friend hold your hands for some initial reassurance (if you need it!).
Stand with your feet (I recommend in socks) as you would on a skateboard or a surfboard, start with your weight on the back foot down so the board is in contact with the ground and slowly shift your weight more onto the front foot. Your aim is to find the point of balance or equilibrium so that the weight is even on both feet. Try to maintain a slight bend in the knees and hold a ¼ squat position (this will engage your thigh and bum musculature).
While maintaining balance, slowly shift the weight onto one leg more than the other, the board will move laterally under your centre of gravity. Then slowly shift weight back to the other foot. Aim to repeat this for 40-seconds. If done correctly and in a slow and controlled way you will feel this working the muscle groups outlined above.
Get started with the Huku Corefit today!