Heaven forbid, but if my fitness studio were ever on fire, the one piece of equipment that I’d run in and save would be my BOSU. Funny named and funny looking, that bright blue half ball, half stair-stepper. The BOSU hit the market in the year 2000 and quickly became a fitness staple in fitness centers and home gyms across the country, and well worth its $100 price tag for the fact that all major muscle groups can be worked using the BOSU.
What I love about this handy little piece of equipment is that it helps teach my clients the idea that for peak efficiency, the muscles of the body must work as a team. BOSU training is also functional training, which means that it strengthens muscles used for activities performed in everyday life and for specific physical activities. In essence, the BOSU trains my clients to move more efficiently and skillfully overall.
Learning to stabilize your core is the foundation for BOSU training. Your core is the epicenter of all your movements – 29 muscles that give you better balance, stability and agility no matter what your age. But the BOSU provides more than core stabilization. You can use the BOSU to work your arm, leg, abdominal, back and gluteal muscles. I’ve provided a few basic BOSU exercises below, but if you’re new to BOSU training, you’ll want to begin by simply standing on it to become familiar with its feel. Once that becomes easy, practice stepping off and on the BOSU from the side, then marching in place. Until you’re able to balance easily on your BOSU I recommend situating it next to something that you can grab or hold onto in case you lose your balance.
Now, try some of these exercises:
- BOSU Pushup: With BOSU flat side up, get down in the push-up position with hands spaced about shoulder length apart and your feet on the floor. Slowly lower your chest toward the BOSU the press up. Do 15 reps.
- Booty Bridge: Lie face up on the floor with both feet flat on top of the BOSU. Extend your left leg straight up toward the ceiling, arms extended to the side with palms up. Press your right foot into the BOSU and lift your torso. Hold for two counts then lower back down into the start position. Do 15 reps on each side.
- V-sit: Sit on the dome of the BOSU with hips slightly forward. Lift your legs into a V and lean your torso back with your abs contracted. Hold for a count of 30-60.
- Dumbbell Squat: While standing on the dome side of the BOSU, with a pair of dumbbells in hand at your sides, lower yourself into a squat and push back up. Do 10 reps.
- Forearm Front Plank: With the dome side up, rest your forearms on top of the BOSU and come into the plank position. Keep your body in a straight line and pull your abdominals in toward your spine while squeeze your glute muscles. Hold for one full minute.
- Forearm Side Plank: With the dome side up, rest your forearm on the BOSU dome and lift your body off the floor, keeping it in a straight line. Contract your abs and squeeze your glute muscles. Hold for 30 seconds then switch to the other arm.
- BOSU Bicycle: Balance yourself in a sitting position on the dome half of the BOSU. Place both hands behind your neck for support. Bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor then pump them as though peddling a bicycle. Extend your left elbow to your right knee and your right elbow to your left knee as you pump. Peddle 20 times to start and gradually increase your reps.