If you want to add a dose of core and ab work to every exercise you do–not to mention, up the intensity level–then it’s time to try a BOSU ball workout. If you have a gym membership or you’ve taken a stroll through the fitness section of a sporting goods store, then you’ve likely seen a BOSU ball, which looks like half an exercise ball mounted onto a solid plastic platform.
When this apparatus first debuted in 2000, BOSU stood for “both sides up,” as you could perform exercises while standing atop the dome-shaped side or flipped over with the platform on top. However, as the BOSU ball has made a name for itself in the fitness industry for being not just about physical balance but also mental balance, the term “BOSU” has evolved to mean “both sides utilized.” While yes, this still applies to the ball versus platform sides of the equipment, it now extends to include how the body and mind are also both involved with BOSU ball workouts.
BOSU Ball Workout Benefits
There are quite a few benefits to moving your exercises from stable ground to the BOSU ball. For one, regardless of which side is up, you’ll add in the element of instability, which requires your core and other stabilizing muscles to engage. For example, try doing a no-weight air squat on a flat surface and then switch to the BOSU ball. You’ll quickly see how much more mental and physical strength goes into maintaining good form, while at the same time, you’ll likely feel new muscles fired up.
Need variety? Of course you do! The same old exercises gets boring when repeated over and over again–plus, your body can stagnate the more repetitive the motions become. By adding in the BOSU ball, you instantly add variety and give your body the new challenge it needs to overcome any plateau.
Last, when it’s time to cool down, the BOSU ball is good for helping with mobilization stretches. For example, stretch the chest and front shoulder muscles by lying with your back atop the dome and letting your arms open overhead or out to the side. If you have tight hamstrings, sit on the floor with legs extended forward and heels on top of the dome. This might be enough of a stretch on its own. If not, bend from the hip toward your toes, doing your best to keep a flat back.
The BOSU Ball Workout
Now that you’re sold on everything the BOSU ball can do for you, it’s time to put it to work on your entire body. Here are the exercises:
BOSU Mountain Climbers: With the dome side down, place your hands on the outside of the BOSU ball platform so that they are below your shoulders. With your legs extended back in a plank position, begin by lifting your left knee toward your left elbow and then returning it to the start position. Then lift your right knee toward your right elbow and return to start. This should feel like running in place while in a plank position.
BOSU Balance Sprawls: This movement is similar to a burpee, except instead of going all the way down to the floor, you’ll hover in a plank position. Start with the dome side up and the BOSU ball placed in front of your toes. From a standing position, bend forward and place your hands on the dome beneath your shoulders and then jump both feet straight back. Jump your feet back to the start position, but as you stand, jump onto the ball and raise your arms up overhead. Land back on the ground in the starting position. This is one rep.
BOSU Ball Rear Lunge and Press: Start in a standing position holding the BOSU ball with the platform facing your chest. On one leg, step back into rear lunge, so that your front knee is at a 90-degree angle above your ankle and your back knee bends to touch the floor. Return to the standing position, pushing the BOSU ball up and overhead to finish one rep. Alternate lunges between each leg.
BOSU Ball Side-to-Side Squat Jumps: With the dome side up and BOSU ball on the left side of your body, place your left foot on top. Squat back and down so that your butt dips below parallel of the leg on the floor. From the squat position spring up into a jump, landing on the right side of the BOSU ball with your right foot on top as you lower into another squat. Alternate back and forth between sides.
Complete five rounds of the following exercises and reps, taking a 30-second rest between each round.
- 100 BOSU Mountain Climbers (50 reps each leg)
- 10 BOSU Balance Sprawls
- 20 BOSU Ball Rear Lunge and Press (10 reps each leg)
- 20 BOSU Ball Side-to-Side Squat Jumps (10 reps each leg)
- 30-Second Rest
Do you have a favorite way to use the BOSU ball? Share it with others in the comments!