article discusses in detail what the Bosu ball is, how to use it and
its many exercise benefits.
was invented by David Weck
and debuted in 2000 quickly becoming one of the most successful pieces
of fitness equipment. Originally 'BOSU' stood for 'both sides up' which
is a primitive way of explaining how the Bosu can be used on either
side as a dome or platform.
Shaped as a half ball, one side of the Bosu forms a dome and the other
a hardened platform which you can stand on. It can be used to
strengthen joints, recover from and prevent injury and provide variety
into any exercise routine.
The benefits of using a Bosu ball instead of flat
ball engages more muscles in each movement so it can increase your
be used for a variety of body zones such as upper body, lower body and
can be worked on by improving dynamic (not static) stability and
alter the level of difficulty by inflating (making it tougher) or
deflating the air.
can be used on both sides in one workout saving time running around the
gym for different pieces of equipment.
variety and flexibility in your routine instead of sticking to the same
fun and you will look pretty impressive in the gym (just don't fall
to use the Bosu Ball
With the flat
surface up the Bosu can
provide a brilliant platform to do push ups on, giving added difficulty
by the instability of the surface. This can be beneficial as it
emphasises dynamic stability and encourages the user to engage the
upper body as a whole instead of weights machines which can focus on
only a few muscle groups, overdeveloping them.
Other upper body
exercises that can be
done on the Bosu include: 'the plank', 'the side plank' and 'push offs'
(where you literally try to push off from the Bosu).
Many balance drills
can be performed on
the Bosu on either side. Using the flat surface as a platform you can
perform squats and using the dome side up you can use it to step onto
in a lunge adding a little more difficulty.
To add a bit of
variety to these lower
body exercises try incorporating weights. Performing a series of squats
on the Bosu with weights strengthens joints and adds difficulty which
you can work up to. Single leg squats although difficult at first can
also be achieved and give great benefits. Similarly lunges can be done
with weights to engage core muscles at the same time. Try even
incorporating a side twist at the end of each lunge to engage the
Bosu has been used to
alleviated knee pain and rehabilitate from many lower leg injuries. The
muscles that stabilise the knee as it moves connect to the hip and
ankle. With an incorrect alignment this can lead to knee pain.
Performing exercises on a flat surface can sometimes limit the range of
movement in a particular action whereas the Bosu can enable more
movement and therefore a quicker improvement in joint strength by using
a wider variety of tendons and ligaments around the hip, knee and ankle
The Bosu can
therefore be seen as a
great tool in strengthening joints to recover after injury and
correcting bad posture and leg alignments.
Many core exercises can be performed on a Bosu in a similar fashion as
normal but with an added benefit of extra instability which works the
muscles in your core a little harder.
Pilates teachers, fitness coaches and yoga instructors all explain the
importance of a strong core and the Bosu can be a great way to achieve
this. Here are a few ideas of how to work your core with the
rotation - standing with
knees slightly bent hold the bosu with both hands and rotate your torso
slowly to the left then right with the Bosu held out at arm’s
length. Repeat 8-12 times.
rotation - just like a
normal plank start with both arms on the Bosu. Here remove one arm and
raise it to the ceiling to create a T shape in your body. Hold for 5
seconds before bring in back down and the repeat with the other arm.
Repeat 5 times.
crunch - sitting on the Bosu
just slightly forward from the centre, lift your legs slightly off the
floor to create a V- shape in your body. This should engage your
abdominals. Hold this position for between 15-30 seconds and release.
Repeat 5-8 times.
pose - with the Bosu
dome shape up, put one knee on the middle of the dome and both arms out
in front of you on the floor. Lift the other leg out flat mid-air
behind you and when you are stable lift the alternating arm (left arm,
right leg then right arm, left leg) up to make a superman pose. Hold
for 10 seconds then repeat with the other arm and leg.
ball Bosu twist - just
as in the Bosu crunch sit on the Bosu but with an exercise ball held in
front of you. When you are steady slowly twist your core using the
exercise ball out in front, from side to side but hold your lower body
still. This should act to strengthen your abdominals, back and oblique
muscles. Repeat 5 times.
The Bosu has definitely been a success in the fitness industry giving
added benefits and an alternative to many strength routines and injury
rehabilitation programmes. However, it has received some criticism from
those who believe that compared to flat surface weight training the
Bosu may distract and reduce the intensity of the movement as using
dynamic movements instead of static weight lifting can lessen the load
and workout received. Here they opt for flat floor weight training as
each movement is controlled and performed with calculation so the
correct muscles are targeted specifically.
This criticism may have some substance to it by showing how for
particular uses the Bosu may lead to more injury and damage if used
incorrectly (or through accident by falling off). However, compared to
the benefits of incorporating the Bosu in your workout routine, this
disadvantage is small. Overall the Bosu is a great success and can
encourage people of all ages and skill to try strength training where
regular moves may be intimidating and boring.