Balance pads are large foam pads that allow feet to “sink” slightly and thus add further instability to balance training. Some martial artists use these pads when practicing “air” kicks or targeting kicking paddles in order to improve their balance. They also use this balance tool to strengthen their legs and ankles. It is somewhat similar to training in a sandy environment (i.e. practicing on the shifting sand at the beach).
Balance training is necessary for martial arts students in order to avoid falling during advanced martial arts kicks, generating increased kicking power and punching power (as being off-balance reduces your power generation) and possibly reducing potential injuries when an opponent has thrown or knocked you off-balance.
All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program. For additional balance exercises, please visit the section on Martial Arts Balance Training.
Example of Balance Pad Training