Exercising with the BOSU

The BOSU Balance Trainer hit the fitness market just over three years ago, and has attracted fitness fanatics, regular home users, and fitness class fans alike. BOSU stands for ‘Both Sides Up’ and is the term used to describe the actual Bosu Ball, the Bosu Balance Trainer. The Bosu Balance Trainer is a variation of of a stability ball and step trainer. One side is a rounded ‘half ball’, inflated for cushioning, while the other is flat and stable enough to work as a step trainer.

The BOSU revolution has taken fitness classes to a whole new level, as aerobics and strength training can be combined for optimal performance with just one piece of equipment. The BOSU Balance Trainer works as a stability ball and helps build core muscle strength, improve posture, coordination, and overall balance, and also helps with cardio with its flattened side working as the step trainer. The BOSU Balance Trainer is portable and easy to use, but it will challenge you!

You are easily able to perform a variety of exercises using both sides of the Bosu Ball. The ‘Ball’ side is best used to perform squats, ab work, pushups, stretches, and core stability poses. Your body will naturally shift to accommodate for the ‘strain’ and need to stay stable, and this is how BOSU differs from other fitness equipment. The ‘Flat’ side is best used to perform full aerobics, cardio, and step exercises. These are all completed at higher-than-normal calorie burn rates since you are adjusting and shifting constantly to balance your body while doing the exercises. Although it may seem like you will simply fall off, you will quickly learn to adapt well to this variation of step exercises. Testing your balance in this way is a great way to increase your strength and learn a new style and technique in working out!

The BOSU Balance Trainer does come with how-to videos and tips to get started, and currently retails for $100-$120+. There are a variety of health clubs and gyms that offer strictly Bosu classes, so do check with your local fitness center to try it out before you buy your home version.

If you do decide to purchase one for your home gym, here are five great exercises with descriptions to get you started on the BOSU Balance Trainer. Remember that it does take time get comfortable with your best balance pose and posture, so take it slowly and keep your body in proper alignment at all times to avoid injury:

Plank: This will use the platform side, and you can perform a plank exercise by using the Bosu as a pushup platform. Hold in your abs tight, and lower your chest over the middle of the BOSU; lower, lift, and repeat.

V-Sit: This will use the ball side; sit in the middle of the ball, with your hands behind you. Lift your legs forward, lean back slightly, and create a ‘scissor’ V with your legs while you contract your abs; hold, lower your legs, then repeat. This is a fantastic ab workout, and will help strengthen your back muscles also.

Tilt: Get comfortable in the plank position, and simply tilt/rock forward and back using your arms. This will increase strength in your abdominal area.

Squat: Stand on the platform side, and maintain balance. Slowly bend your knees, and lower yourself as you ‘sit’ in an imaginary chair. Keep your back straight at all times, and lower, then slowly lift up. Repeat. This is a very good thigh and back strengthener, and works extra well with the balance component of the BOSU.

Side Lunge: Stand on the platform side, and turn your right or left foot out, and ‘step’ onto the ground. Press and hold for a count, then switch. You will use the BOSU for resistance, and maintain balance at the same time.

With these five easy exercises, you’ll be on your way to learning the ways of the BOSU workout! Do make the best of your experience by practicing, and be patient; learning to coordinate each move takes time, but is well worth the commitment when you can complete entire cardio and strengthening sequences successfully!

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