How to Use a BOSU Balance Trainer

man standing on bosu ball

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The BOSU Balance Trainer has become a staple in many health clubs and home gyms. It's perfect for targeting multiple areas of fitness like endurance, balance, strength, and stability.

The squishy dome side offers a bouncy surface for everything from cardio to strength training. Flip it over and there's a flat side you can use for upper and lower body exercises. Both sides offer plenty of options to work your core and improve flexibility.

How to Use a BOSU Balance Trainer

The BOSU is like an exercise ball that's been cut in half with a platform on the bottom. You can use it dome-side-up almost like a step: Stand on it, sit on it, lie down on it or bounce around on it for cardio, lower body strength, or core moves.

You can also turn it over and use the platform side for upper body exercises, like push-ups, or more core moves, like planks. The possibilities are endless.

Cardio

Use the BOSU trainer for short bursts of cardio such as side lunges, plyo-lunges, over-the-top squat jumps, and more. You can also use it as a step for choreographed workouts.

Strength Training

Add a whole new challenge to your strength workouts by incorporating the BOSU into moves like squats with an overhead press, lunges with biceps curls, or push-ups. You can even use it as a weight bench to add a balance challenge during traditional weight work like chest presses.

Flexibility

Stand or kneel on the dome while doing traditional stretches like hamstring stretches or hip flexor stretches. Since this also instability to the exercise, you should practice these while standing next to a wall until you get used to the feeling.

Sports Conditioning

Use the BOSU balance trainer to perform sports drills, like jumping or plyometric movies like side leaps. The BOSU helps challenge you to increase performance and agility.

Core Training

Perch on the BOSU for abdominal exercises like dead bug and v-sits, or for lower back exercises such as back extensions to target the core muscles.

What the BOSU Does for You

Doing exercises on the Balance Trainer requires you to maintain your center of gravity over a surface that is constantly changing. Just standing on it is challenging, as your body moves and shifts into and out of balance. In addition to cardio fitness and stronger muscles, the BOSU builds other skills, such as:

  • Balance: Because the BOSU is never stable, you're constantly engaging the smaller stabilizer muscles in both the upper and lower body to keep you balanced and in place.
  • Kinesthetic awareness: Sometimes called "kinesthesia," kinesthetic awareness refers to your sense of joint movement—which can decline as we age. The Balance Trainer can help you stay connected with how your body moves.
  • Proprioception: This is your awareness of joint position in response to the body's actions. When you stand on a Balance Trainer, the stabilizer muscles in your ankles co-contract with your primary muscles to stabilize the joints and maintain your balance. This helps to make normal daily activities easier.

In addition to its versatility, the BOSU adds fun to your usual workouts. You can use it in place of a step for aerobic workouts (very tough) and while doing some traditional yoga poses, like Warrior II and Triangle.

BOSU Exercise Videos

Your BOSU Balance Trainer comes with an instructional video, but there are many other videos available to help you integrate the BOSU ball into your workouts:

Rob Glick's Cardio Fusion

This cardio routine offers a choreographed workout similar to a traditional step routine. The workout is a bit dance-like but includes sports-like moves as well. This is a great introduction to cardio on the Balance Trainer, though some reviewers say you may want to have some experience with the BOSU ball first.

BOSU Equilibrium with Jay Blahnik

This DVD offers a great yoga and Pilates hybrid workout that can be both challenging and relaxing. Jay does some traditional yoga moves (like warrior poses and sun salutations) using the Balance Trainer and also includes some core work as well.

You can view more BOSU training DVDs at BOSU's site.

A Word From Verywell

The BOSU Balance Trainer is available at a variety of sporting goods and department stores and online. You can also find detailed exercises and other BOSU products at BOSU.com. The Balance Trainer is a great addition to any home gym, offering a variety of activities and exercises to push you past your comfort zone.

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5 Sources
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