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Do you ever see lean, muscular folks at the gym gracefully balancing on a blue ball that looks like an alien pod? If you’ve ever walked by a gym rat doing curls on a BOSU ball and thought, “what the heck are they doing?”, this article is for you. BOSU balls are not just for elite athletic training anymore. Incorporating BOSU training into your routine can lead to significant performance gains. Here, we answer common questions about the mysterious BOSU.
What is a BOSU ball?
A BOSU ball is an inflated exercise ball that has a flat plastic surface on one side. Instead of a round ball, it more closely resembles half of a ball. It can be used inflated side up, or flat side up. BOSU stands for “both sides up”, which is a reference to the versatility of the ball. You can find at least one BOSU in most gyms.
What does it do for you?
Training with a BOSU allows your to work on stability and balance by forcing you to maintain your center of gravity over a surface that is constantly changing. Dynamic stabilization and balance training with a BOSU has been shown to increase “measures of neuromuscular power and control” according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Why are balance and stability important if I just want to lose weight?
Balance and stability are a part of a holistic foundation of fitness. When combined with flexibility, strength, endurance, and power training, balance and stability training contributes to overall conditioning. For example, completing a crunch on a BOSU forces additional muscles to activate to stabilize the trunk. The obliques and transverse abdominis are activated, not just the rectus abdominis.
Balance training also helps to prevent sports injuries like ankle rolls and ACL injuries. Sports injuries in teenage girls especially has recently become an epidemic. As the number of girls participating in sports like soccer at the elite level has skyrocketed, ACL injuries have similarly increased in this population. BOSU training is now recommended as an integral part of both rehab and prevention.
What are some exercises that I can do with the BOSU?
Here are 4 exercises that you can do with the BOSU ball to increase your stability and balance:
Place the small of your back on the BOSU with your feet on the ground. Perform crunches with standard form. You should be able to feel all of your core muscles actively engaging as your body works to keep you from rolling off the ball.
Perform a dumbbell chest fly with the center of your back on the the ball. You’ll be strengthening the chest and core muscles during this exercise.
Turn the ball over and grasp the sides of the flat surface of the ball. Perform a set of 50 mountain climbers. This exercise will work your shoulders, core, arms, and legs as your upper body works to keep you steady.
Similar to mountain climbers, grasp the sides of the ball on the flat side. Complete push-ups with standard form. The muscles of your upper body will work twice as hard to stabilize you.
We asked the DailyBurn community how they incorporate the bosu into their workouts, and here are some of our favorite answers:
“I use one to stand on for squats (I know it says not recommended but great for balance and core), and also hold the edge ball side down for extra burn pushups and prone planks.”
“My trainer has had me stand on one upside down for balance while doing some weights, like bicep curls.”
“I have it in my home gym. Wonderful piece of equipment to change it up. Use it for burpees and lunges and pushups and then flip it over and do balance squats.”
“As my pregnancy is progressing, and I’m having to alter my routine a bit, I’m using one to stand and to make standing pushups (over a bar) more challenging. I used to love doing ab bicycles using one- you can really feel the difference!”
“There’s a woman at the gym I go to, does this crazy squat jumps + burpees on 2 bosu’s = fantastic legs, I was thoroughly impressed.”
“I use mine every day! Great thing to do crunches on during TV watching or balance on during a conference call.” – @elizabethterry
“Bosu balls make for great core work for baseball players. Somedays we use Bosu balls in the majority of every exercise.” – @jetgarcia24
“I love the way #bosu balls forces my body to use numerous core & stabilizing muscles in order balance. Great for athletes!” – @DPasini13
Have you ever tried BOSU training? Why or why not?
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