Da Vinci Bodyboard Review

Where Pilates Meets Total Body Training

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Da Vinci Bodyboard in action. Da Vinci Bodyboard

Finding the right piece of home fitness equipment can be tricky. You want something that's easy to use, easy to store, and won't kill your budget. But if you're not the type to lift weights, and you don't want to buy a cardio machine, what's the best option?

You might want to consider the Da Vinci Body Board.

When I received a Body Board to review for my personal website about a year ago, my initial thought was, "This is like a swimming pool backboard!" Having managed pools for eight years, the long, wide, wooden frame with handholds along the sides struck me as strikingly similar to the board we'd use to backboard a swimmer with a suspected head, neck or back injury.

 

But upon closer inspection, the board was quite different. First, the home-version of the board features hinges at the center so it can be folded up and put away. Second, the board is longer, wider, and more stable than an aquatic backboard, making it an effective tool to stand, jump, and perform exercises on.

The key to the board's effectiveness comes with it's multiple resistance bands, ankle cuffs and handles. The primary bands are attached at the corners of the board, then you clip the ankle cuffs and handles to the bands, as needed. There are also two long "dance bands" that span the length of the board - these are flat resistance bands that you grasp and pull or push against as you dance atop the board.

Truthfully, there's nothing groundbreaking about the Body Board. There's a heavy wooden board with attachable resistance bands. Seems pretty straightforward, right? The beauty is in the details.

The length of the board is perfect for creating significant resistance. The weight of the board prevents it from lifting off the ground when performing running, jumping, or pulling exercises. And the various attachments and handles make it possible to perform an endless array of exercises.

One of the best things about the Da Vinci Body Board is its ability to engage multiple muscle groups.

By strapping your ankles into the ankle cuffs and holding the handles in your hands, you can effectively work your upper body, lower body and core all at once.

For instance, I love performing rowing exercises on the board. Take the v-sit rows (see image). By sitting lengthwise on the board with my feet in front of me, I can clip my ankles into the ankle cuffs (from the resistance bands originating behind me) and grip the handles in my hands (from the resistance bands originating in front of me. When I lift my feet off the board, extend my legs straight and pull my arms back toward my chest, I'm effectively engaging my back, quads, glutes, and abs.

Because every exercise targets multiple muscle groups, you can get more done in less time. The Body Board inventor, Floery Mahoney, suggests performing a 20-minute routine every day. These routines combine cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises, making for a fast and well-balanced workout.

Da Vinci Body Board Considerations

When I first received the Body Board, I used it frequently.

I liked that it was easy to use and that I didn't need more equipment to complete a full routine. But over time, I incorporated it less often. It's not that I don't like it - I do, but I like working out alone, and the only place I had to set up the board was in my living room. I didn't like feeling like I was "on display" while exercising.

Because the board is so long, you need to have a space that can easily accommodate it in an area of your house where you want to exercise.

Also, while the Body Board isn't the most expensive piece of fitness equipment on the market (not by a long shot), it does cost $300 - that's not chump change. If used frequently, its effectiveness more than makes up for the price, but if you fold it up, store it away, and forget about it, that's money wasted.

Finally, the Body Board is probably more suited to those who prefer mind-body workouts, such as Pilates, yoga, and dance. While you can work up a sweat on the board, it's not going to make you sore the same way a heavy weight workout would, and it's not going to raise your heart rate the way a sprint workout would. If you're a CrossFit fanatic or a diehard basketball player, you might not appreciate the Da Vinci-style workout.

Overall Impressions

I really like the Da Vinci Body Board in the sense that it's a well-made piece of equipment that does what it says it will do. Given the sturdiness of the board and its well-planned craftsmanship, the price seems appropriate for what you get. The exercises are fun and effective, and it opens up a whole new world of combinations and possibilities because of its multi-muscle engagement.

That said, it probably isn't for everyone. Think carefully about the types of workouts you enjoy before laying out cash for a Body Board. If you love barre workouts, Pilates, yoga, or dance, you'll probably love the Da Vinci Body Board.

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