10 Beginner BOSU Balance Trainer Exercises

This tool adds an element of instability to workouts, so you work harder

If you want to add both intensity and a little more fun to your workouts, try incorporating a BOSU Balance Trainer. With one side a flat platform and the other a flexible dome, kind of like half of an exercise ball, the BOSU allows you to work on multiple aspects of fitness and exercise.

Indeed, the BOSU is known for helping you focus on balance, stability, and core strength while working on other things like cardio endurance and strength. You can use the dome side for everything from cardio moves to strength training exercises, and use the platform side for core work. This versatility isn't surprising: After all, BOSU stands for "both sides utilized." 

If you've never used a BOSU, it's important to take some time to get to know it. The following exercises offer some basic, beginner moves on the BOSU to help you get used to the surface. You'll find standing moves, ​lower body exercises, and core exercises

Tips and Tricks for Using Your BOSU

  • If you're using it on wood or another hard surface, add a mat or a folded towel to serve as extra padding. You'll appreciate the additional cushioning when your hands and knees are on the floor. 
  • It's normal for your feet to get tired and ache. If that happens, take a break and walk around to work it off.
  • Be prepared to step off the BOSU a few times as you get used to these exercises. Add a contact point if you feel too unstable—a wall, chair, or bar can help you keep your balance. Or, remove a contact point if the exercises are too easy.
  • Always keep your body in proper alignment during each exercise. It's normal to shift to keep your balance, but make sure you don't slump.
  • Take your time. It takes a while to get used to standing on such an unstable surface. You'll never really catch your balance, so try going with it instead of fighting it.

1
Heel Digs

People standing on BOSU balance trainer
RichLegg/E+/Getty Images

This move lets you get used to the dome side of the BOSU, so it's the easiest one to start with. 

Stand in front of the BOSU and place the right heel on the dome. 

Return to start and repeat with the left foot, moving as quickly as you can and allowing the heel to bounce off the dome.

To make it harder, add a jump and switch the feet in the air.

Repeat for about 30 to 60 seconds.

2
Push Step

Stand a few feet away from the BOSU.

Step forward with the right foot right into the bull's eye (center) of the dome. Push back to start and repeat on the left side.

As you get used to the exercise, move more quickly or make it harder by bending into a lunge. You can even add a hop as you push off the dome.

Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds. 

3
Basic Stance

For this one move, you might want to have a chair or wall to hold onto as you get used to the movement. 

Step both feet onto the dome, placing them on either side of the bull's eye.

By simply standing, you'll feel your feet moving and your torso contracting in order to find your balance.

Add difficulty by letting go of the chair, raising the arms overhead or closing your eyes.        

Hold ​for 30 to 60 seconds. 

4
Compressions

From Basic Stance, shift weight from foot to foot using arms for balance.

Keep the shoulders and hips straight and feel how your ankles move to keep you on the BOSU. If you need to, take a break, and step off if your feet hurt.

To make it more difficult, march or run on top.

Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds, then step off the dome and march in place to rest your feet.  

5
Squats

Stand on the dome with feet slightly forward of center.

Bend your knees and squat, as though you're sitting back in a chair.

Keep your back straight and your torso up and extend your arms out to help your balance.

Lower as far as comfortable and push up.

You may need to put your feet in different positions to find one where you can maintain your balance as you squat. This one is harder than it looks.

If you want more intensity, hold weights, or a medicine ball.

Repeat for 8 to 16 reps. 

6
Hip Extension

Get on all fours with knees on the dome, hands on the floor. The knees should be under the hips, the hands directly under the shoulders.

Contract the abs and lift the left leg up to hip level, keeping the knee bent, and press the heel towards the ceiling.

Lower and repeat for 8 to 16 reps before switching sides.

Make it easier by keeping the toes of the bottom foot on the floor for balance.

7
Basic Crunch

Sit on the dome with the hips towards the bottom of the dome, knees bent.

With hands behind the head or across the chest, roll back until you feel a stretch in the abs. 

Then contract the abs and curl up.

You may need to shift your position to find a spot that works for you.

Repeat for 8 to 16 reps.

 

8
Dead Bug

Sit with your hips a little forward of the bull's eye and lie back, drawing the knees in towards the chest and keeping the hands on the dome for support.

Take your hands away and see if you're balanced. If not, shift until you find a position you can hold without tipping. Finding this "sweet spot" may take some trial and error. 

Once you're balanced, straighten your arms and bend your knees at about 90-degree angles. 

Balance for 20 to 30 seconds or, to add intensity, lower the opposite arm and leg towards the floor, return to start, then repeat on the other side. That's 1 rep. Do 8 to 12 reps.

9
Ball Tilt

Now you're going to use the flat side of the BOSU to work your core.

Flip the BOSU over and grab on to the handles on either side. Shift into a plank position, either on the knees (easier) or the toes.

Keeping the body in a straight line and without bending the arms, tilt the BOSU forward and back, repeating 8 to 12 times.

You can also rock it in a circle going forward, right, back, and left to add difficulty.

10
V-Sit

Sit in the center or slightly forward on the dome with the hands on either side for support. You can also take the arms behind you on the floor, which may offer more stability.

Lift the legs with the knees bent and balance, keeping the torso straight, the shoulders relaxed and the abs engaged.

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and add difficult by taking the hands away, straightening the legs, or adding a lower leg crunch. 

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