Get a full workout using a Bosu Ball
Not only will the Bosu add variety and a functional component to your training, it will add a balance and core element to every exercise! By challenging and training your balance, you also fine-tune your proprioception. Proprioception is the feedback loop between the body and the brain — it’s the mind-body connection that allows your brain to know where you are in space and thus how your body should appropriately react. This proprioceptive neurological feedback loop is vital for everything from athletic maneuvers, to fall prevention, to improved posture, to injury prevention and foot strength.
Add the Bosu into your warm-up
Try “cardio” exercises on the Bosu such as step-ups, sideways step-ups, or marches.
Step-ups: Face the Bosu, dome side up. Step your right foot and then your left foot up onto the Bosu. Balance with your core. Step your right foot and then left foot back down onto the ground.
Marches: Step up onto the Bosu, dome side up. Stay on top of the Bosu and march.
Side step-ups: With the dome side up, stand perpendicular to the Bosu with your right foot close to the Bosu. Step your right foot up onto the Bosu. Balance momentarily. Step down. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides.
Push yourself to feel a little unstable so that you can use your muscles to “right” yourself. Yes, safety is key, but compare balance training to weight lifting: If you lift 2 kilos forever you will never get stronger. A balance exercise you can already do is not a balance exercise. To improve your balance you have to — within safe limits — work outside your comfort zone.
As part of your strength routine
Why mix things up? Boredom is the kiss of workout death!
A few ideas:
Instead of doing bench presses on a bench, do the exercise with your head and shoulders on a Bosu, your feet on the floor, and your bum lifted in a bridge.
Instead of doing push-ups on the floor, put your hands on either side of a Bosu that is flat side up. Try to keep the Bosu stable as you do your push-ups.
As part of your core work
Do front planks on either the dome or the flat side of the Bosu. If using the dome, place your forearms on it. If the flat side is up, plank from your hands — hands on either side of Bosu. Either way, don’t arch your lower back. Engage your core.
Do side planks with your forearm on the dome side. For an added challenge place your feet on the dome and your forearm on the floor.
Try V holds. This is easier with the dome side up. Sit your bum on the dome. Lean yourself backwards, chest out and core engaged. Hold. Play around with leaving your feet on the ground, or lifting one or both legs up. For all, keep your chest out and core engaged.
A sample full workout
Do all the exercises back-to-back without resting. Once the full circuit is complete rest for 1 minute. If you are a newbie, do the circuit twice through. If you are more advanced, complete it three times through.
Warm-up: 1 minute of step-ups on each leg, 1 minute of side step-ups on each leg, and 1 minute of marching on the Bosu.
- Push-ups with your hands on the flat side of the Bosu. Knees or feet on the floor. Use your core to stay stable. Lead with your chest not your tummy. Don’t arch your lower back. Attempt to keep the Bosu stable. 10-15 reps.
- Squats on the Bosu, dome side up. With squats make sure to bend at your knees, hips, and ankles and sit backwards like you are sitting into a chair. If it is too challenging do the squats on the floor. To make it harder hold weights. 12-15 reps.
- Bent-over rows with dumbbells, dome side up. Start standing on the Bosu holding a dumbbell in each hand. Chest out. Hinge forward at your hips. Engage your core. Don’t round your back. Pull the weights up initiating with your upper back. Slowly return the weights back down. If it is too challenging do it on the floor. 12-15 reps.
- Lunges with front leg on the dome side of the Bosu. Hold a free weight in each hand with your right foot on the middle of the Bosu and your left leg behind you. Bend the back knee towards the floor. Chest out. Core engaged. Engage the bum of the front leg to stand back up. Repeat 10 times then switch sides. To make it harder hold at the bottom after your 10 reps and pulse.
- Core exercise of your choice. Try front plank, side plank, or V hold on the Bosu.
- Burpees. Stand facing the Bosu, flat side up. Bend down and grab either side. Jump your legs back into a plank. Use your core so you do not arch your lower back. Jump your feet back in and stand up. To make it harder lift the Bosu up over your head when you stand up. To make it easier step your feet — vs jumping — back into your plank. 5-10 reps.