February 13, 2017

Pono Board Review (and Discount)

By Crabby McSlacker

What exactly is a Pono Board? Do you surf on it? Fling it? Predict the future by letting ancient Hawaiian spirits telepathically move aqua-colored balls around on its sleek wooden surface until your destiny is revealed?

Nope, it's none of these things. A Pono Board is a kinder, gentler balance board that can be used to add a bit of instability to various exercises in a way that is mercifully unlikely to send you sprawling on your face in an ignominious heap of kluzitude.

Ta da!

According to The Pono People, it was designed to feel like a beach workout, actively engaging the core, but not too difficult.

But that's not why I eagerly agreed to acquire and review a springy thingy of my very own. (Disclaimer: I didn't pay for it). What was the reason?

The Pono Board is also designed to function as a stand-up desk accessory, yay!

Here's some more info and a verdict on how I like my Pono Board.

Pono Board for Your Stand-Up Workstation

We've all known for years now that extended periods of sitting are unhealthy. You need to get up sometimes, and it's probably best to vary sitting, standing, and moving around throughout your day. Do stand-up desks burn extra calories? Well, possibly, though my results weren't impressive. But it's still a smart thing to do.

So as long-time readers may recall, I have done a lot of DIY wild-ass experimentation with stand up workstations. I face two challenges: (1) I am a cheapskate and (2) we travel and move around a lot so I have to be flexible about where to stick my stuff.

An incredibly ugly photo review of some of my stand-up workstations to demonstrate just how low tech one can possibly go? Sure why not!

Just for a couple days. Keyboard obviously wrong height.

Featuring Weird Adjustable Pole Found on Roadside

Capitalizing on Wall-Mounted TV

So yeah, it's possible to create a standing desk in a lot of settings, but getting a monitor and keyboard and some usuable workspace at the right height is challenging. But there's a further complication to contend with:

Standing up frozen in the same position for long periods of time isn't good for you either. Various body parts will object. Plus: varicose veins.

A few years back, I actually invented my own budget DIY solution to the problem of how to incorporate instability into a stand up workstation. Behold, the teeter board!

But I'd often forget to shift my weight enough to tip it, and standing slanted in the same position for long periods is even dumber than standing level, so eventually it fell out of favor.

So this winter I've shifted office locations yet again, and have a couple of other different set-ups that I figured could benefit with some some lower body instability.

This, as you can tell by the professional photography, man hands, and respectable office footwear, is not one of them:

No, I'm afraid my workstations would never make a magazine feature.

Stealing a corner from a Murphy Bed

Kitchen Counter. 
Not much cooking happening anyway so why not?

View From Above

So, now that I've dragged this whole thing out with a bunch of gratuitous blurry pictures, here's what I thought:

I love my Pono Board! It makes a great ergonomic addition to a stand up desk and I'd highly recommend it.

You can change settings by inflating or deflating the balls to make it more or less tippy. My setting is on pretty gentle, and unfortunately due to a shipping snafu I'm still awaiting a pump to attempt a more challenging experience. But I really like standing on a springy mobile platform while working. The motion is mostly horizontal, so you're in no danger of falling, yet you can still get some front-to-back tilting going if you feel like it.  It allows you to move around gently while you work, and subtly engages your core, but it's not the least bit distracting if you're trying to concentrate. Even though the bamboo is hard, the bouncy balls underneath give it a very cushiony sort of feel overall.

It's handy too for adding little micro-exercise challenges to a work day: standing on one foot, doing a few leg lifts here and there, that sort of thing. Otherwise it's all too easy to feel pissy and resentful about adding balance exercises to our busy schedules no matter how crucial they may become as we age.

I'm really glad I have my Pono Board now, and will definitely be taking it back with me when we switch coasts again in a few months.

One further evolution I'd like to see? An option for a smaller board. For those of us who aren't all that tall and don't need quite as much width, something a little sleeker would fit better into existing workspaces. 

The Pono Board for Cardio, Yoga, Rehab, and Strength Training?

So, um yeah, about that. 

Can I say again how thrilled I am with the stand-up workstation aspect, and that I love slipping some balance challenges in while working? Because I'm afraid I haven't done much with the board outside of workday use as far as exercising.

This is not the board's fault. I don't really do a lot of work with instability and don't have a lot of imagination. Doing pushups off the board didn't feel all that different than doing them off the floor, but again, that might be different if I just had bigger balls. (On the BOARD, ok? And I'm sure I will have gigantic balls when Amazon gets its act together and the pump arrives.)

But I can see there could be a lot of potential for doing all kinds of exercise on it.

I'm thinking for all the reasons one might want to work with a Bosu ball or other unstable surfaces but find them a little too unstable, a Pono Board would be perfect. Or, if you use a low stepper as part of your cardio routine, you could add some gentle instability by subbing out the Pono.

Mountain Range Sold Separately

Part of the challenge too is that this is a brand new product, and as attractive as the Pono Ola Website is, they don't have vast resources yet for hooking one up with yoga or strength training or balance exercises that would make this feel indispensable.  I'm sure that's probably coming. Also in the works:  "We’re creating accredited classes for certified trainers and yogis. We’re creating ‘Moments of peace and relaxation’ videos for work and home, so we can breathe life back into our bodies and minds." So I'm thinking if they're designing classes, these will have exercises in them, and hopefully some will appear on their website.

So, are you tempted? How about a special Cranky Fitness Pono Board Discount?

Fifteen Percent Off: Very Centering.

Here's the link to save fifteen percent on your Pono Board order: cranky15 (and please do let me know if it doesn't work for some reason).

Do any of you stand up to work, or do any sort of balance/instability challenges? Are you naturally balanced and graceful or are you klutzy like me?


  1. I am the most unbalanced person I know, well next to you maybe the second most.
    I've never used a balance board. I wonder if it would be bad for those with 'iffy' knees?

    1. I think this would probably about the most knee-friendly kind of balance challenge you could easily incorporate into everyday life Sherri, but I'd hate to be wrong and I know everyone's physiology is different!

  2. OK, I am no expert but the company I work for hired a kinesiologist/physiotherpist who's bussiness is office and factory assessments. She said wrist rests and standing desks are for the most part a money grab. She said the worst thing you can do for your body isn't sitting 8 hours it is standing for anything more that 6 hours. She said that standing desks are fine if you use them for no more that 2 hours at a time and you keep moving, otherwise it is hard on your heart. She didn't like sitting too much either and had all the usual rules about getting up regularly and walking around and looking away from the computer every 20 minutes.
    Anyway my company was all set to buy some standing desks but they backed off. We all had our workstations rearranged and I have to say I have no more neck strain or shoulder tendonitis as a result. Her big thing was that you needed to suck it up for 3 weeks and learn to mouse left handed by going cold turkey. That way you save your right side for when you really need it, assuming you are right handed.

    1. That's great Cindy that you found a great answer just by changing up a sitting workstation!

      I'm in total agreement that JUST standing doesn't work either. I didn't go into my total arrangement which incorporates sitting, standing and lots of breaks. But I do think standing really helps break up sitting, and doing it with the ability to shift around to me is a HUGE plus.

      I use a touchpad, not a mouse, but thanks for sharing the idea about balancing left and right motions, maybe I'll learn to drink my coffee left handed!

  3. It is weird!!!! Even though you have posted a few - this is the first notification I have got in a while! I don't get why I am not getting them. I tried to re-subscribe but said I was already subscribed....

    1. Oh shoot, I'm so sorry Jody! Wish I had some idea how to fix it...

  4. My balance isn't great. The only thing I've done about it is use the chakra grounding exercise.

    While this board sounds like fun, I totally see me not using it.

    1. Well chakra grounding sure sounds intriguing leah! I suspect my chakras are as clumsy as I am though...

  5. Replies
    1. Well, you've got great life balance Messymimi, I think that's far more important.

  6. The wine box sending desk is my favourite. Does it come in white? :)

    1. *standing damn you auto correct

    2. I could pretend I have no idea how that case of Two Buck Chuck got there Hanro... :)

  7. Oh! I love the standing on it when at your desk aspect! I have a stand up desk, this would be perfect for me!

  8. I think I'd like it for the balancing practice more than using it as a standing desk. I've made it a rule that I get up from my desk and walk around for about 15 minutes after 2-3 hours of work. Otherwise, I'll sit at my desk for 8 hours. For some reason, this is seen as a sign of a Good Worker. Dedicated. Ha! It's the sign of someone who's letting herself become unhealthy for a pat on the head.
    Hmmn... what am I doing up on this soapbox? Oh well. At least it's rockin' ;)

  9. I find balancing on the plain old floor enough of a challenge, I think. Also, of course, at work I hardly ever stand still, much less sit down. (I've had a horrible sinus infection and missed three days of work, and after I came back, less than completely well, I sat down a few minutes waiting for something instead of going off to do something while I waited, and a co-worker went past and asked "Mary Anne! Are you all right???")

    Crabby, I admire your ingenuity and the variety of systems you've come up with. Standing at a desk is not for me, and neither is sitting. Right now, and most of the time I'm using the laptop, it's in my lap, as I sit in an arm chair with my feet up on a foot stool.

    Must go write some politicians.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  10. I think i 'd like it but As a unbalance person always i weird on it.I take it
    beside my working desk and walk around 20 minutes after 3-4 hours othewise
    i'll sit at my desk for 8 hours.
    I'm really glad to find your post and also glad i have my Porn Board now.

  11. Does it really work for me Right now, and most of the time I'm using the laptop, it's in my lap, as I sit in an arm chair with my feet up on a foot stool or chair whatever i found comfortable for me.

  12. I'd really like to read your post, thank you!

  13. I used it for last two days and feeling good because it is also fun and tip to lose weight.....Thank you for this.

  14. Suggest me is it really helpful because I am going to use it now.........

  15. I would like to thanks admin to sharing a valuable article.I already practice on it someday so your post really inspire me,

  16. Very nice blog i would like to thank you for this blog

  17. The discount code cranky15 worked for me, but the link did not automatically apply it. You have to manually enter the code when going through checkout.

    Thank you for the review and discount code!


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)