The gym is one of my favorite places, mostly because I can't really work out at home. Sure, I can do a few yoga flows or short ab workouts, but the fact is my apartment is very small and workout equipment is either hard to come by (see: my 15-pound dumbbells that arrived a full three months after I ordered them), extremely expensive, or just too big to fit in the tiny living room I share with my roommate.
That's why I was intrigued by the Board30 Mini. I'd heard of Board30, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout class with resistance bands, but I didn't have access to a Board30 studio to see what all the hype was about. So when the company asked me to try its brand-new home version of the workout, the Board30 Mini, I jumped right on board. (Get it?) I completed one workout with Board30 founder Floery Mahoney and one using the brand's online workout platform. Here's how it went.
What Is the Board30 Mini?
The Board30 Mini ($250) is a small workout board (two feet by two feet) with four resistance tubes and two wider resistance bands attached. It looks confusing when you first get the board because none of the bands are hooked on yet, but the setup only took me about 10 minutes after watching the company's instruction video.
You can't work out with the board unless you have some instruction. Like I said, it's pretty intimidating at first glance (just a lot of bands going on), and I personally would've gotten hurt if I'd tried to jump in by myself. Instead, Board30 offers hundreds of virtual workouts, led by the brand's instructors, through its app and website ($200 annually or $20 monthly, with a two-week free trial). If you have the Board30 Mini, you definitely want to subscribe to the app to make sure you're getting the most out of your board. The workouts are fun, functional, efficient, and unique — and all based off of the original, in-studio class.
What Is a Board30 Mini Workout Like?
The format of a Board30 Mini virtual workout is pretty much the same as an in-studio one: a minute of work followed by about 20 seconds of rest. Many of the moves feel familiar, like Boat Pose and side lunges, but they all have some sort of resistance variation that makes it about five times harder. Instead of just holding the Boat Pose, for example, you hold it while doing resistance-band bicep curls. Instead of just standing up from your side squat, you stand, balance on one foot, and perform a lateral raise with resistance bands. All the moves are compound, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at once.
It's easier to store and more portable than dumbbells, and just as useful.
The "30" in Board30 stands for the duration of most of the workouts, although on the virtual app, there are also options for 25, 35, 45, and 60 minutes. You can also try different workout styles. "Our workout videos incorporate a full-body workout plus cardio in most classes," Mahoney told POPSUGAR. The Board30 Mini is really designed to help with all fitness goals, she said, including strength training, cardio, flexibility, balance, weight loss, and stamina. Most of the Board30 Mini workouts are also low-impact, or at least have low-impact modifications, which is great if you (like me) have downstairs neighbors to think about.
What's the Difference Between Board30 and the Board30 Mini?
One thing you might be wondering: how do the Board30 Mini workouts compare to Board30 studio classes? For one thing, Mahoney said, the studios use bigger boards and have a few more bells and whistles, like resistance bands on the walls and ceiling. "For those that experienced the studio setup, it's a bit more dynamic and you benefit from a trainer and other clients for motivation," she explained.
However, Mahoney said Board30 had always planned on releasing an in-home option that required very minimal space; the pandemic just accelerated that timeline. The virtual workouts are meant to mimic the in-studio experience as much as possible, and you can also buy home add-ons like a resistance band bar ($65) and a door-anchored overhead system ($55) to further emulate that set-up. (These aren't mandatory for the virtual workouts, though.)
Did I Like the Board30 Mini Workouts?
I loved my Board30 Mini workouts for a few reasons. For one, the virtual workouts are made to accommodate many different fitness levels. I'm coming off an injury and was able to stick with low-impact, beginner-friendly routines, and Mahoney recommended that all beginners start on the app's level one workouts. Even those modified moves were extremely challenging, and my muscles were shaking in a way I wasn't used to, especially in my core, arms, and glutes.
I'm also kind of obsessed with the Board30 Mini itself. For reference, when I say my apartment is tiny, I mean that my workout space is about the size of a yoga mat. The fact that the board is so small, light, and easy to store is a huge plus for me, because I can actually get in a good workout in that limited space and can just slide it under the couch when I'm done. It's easier to store and more portable than dumbbells, and just as useful when paired with the virtual workouts. There is a price tag, but even with cost of the app subscription, it's less expensive and much smaller than a lot of home workout equipment. Personally, I'm sold.