You have probably seen fitness bloggers or people at the gym use the Bosu ball, but what does this workout tool have to offer? Exercising with a Bosu ball helps you build strength and balance simultaneously. You also get a more intense workout. There are no limits to which exercises you can do with a Bosu ball. So be it cardio or resistance exercises, a Bosu ball is a piece of excellent equipment to use. We explore 10 Bosu ball exercises you can incorporate into your workout routine.
Basic Bosu Ball Exercises For Balance
A Bosu ball resembles an exercise ball cut in half. It has a flat surface, and the other side is inflated and is hemispherical. The Bosu ball is a balance trainer that provides an unstable platform on which an individual can do different types of exercise. Research shows that exercising on unstable surfaces improves trunk stability and neuromuscular functions (3).
Using a Bosu ball adds a challenge to any workout. With a Bosu ball, you can perform any exercise: a full-body, upper body, lower body, or core workout. One can often find this equipment at their local gym, but you can purchase one for yourself.
Below are great Bosu ball exercises for balance that you can try out:
The main goal of Bosu Ball exercises is to master balance. Single-leg holds are an excellent place to start. You can learn how to maintain your balance on an uneven surface.
How to do it:
- Place the Bosu Ball on the ground, flat side down.
- Stand with one foot on the Bosu ball and balance on it.
- Hold and balance on that leg for about 30 seconds. Try to keep your other foot from touching the ball or the floor.
- Repeat on the opposite leg.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 5 reps on each leg.
Another one of the effective Bosu ball balance exercises for beginners is hip raises. This movement targets your quads, abdominals, hamstrings, lower back, and gluteal muscles.
How to do it:
- Lie down on the floor, bend your knees, and place your feet on top of the Bosu ball. Your arms should be on the sides, palms touching the floor, and your head looking up to the ceiling.
- Lift your hips towards the ceiling as you engage your core.
- Hold for a few seconds when your hips are at the same level as your thighs.
- Then lower your hips but not completely. They should not touch the floor.
- Push your hips up towards the ceiling again. Don’t tilt your body to either side.
- Do 2 sets of 15 reps.
Opposition Arm And Leg Raise
Great Bosu ball balance exercises for seniors include opposition arm and leg raises. This exercise helps strengthen the lower back and core muscles. To make the exercise easier, perform legs or arms only. To make the movement more challenging, lift your toes off the ground.
How to do it:
- Kneel on the Bosu ball with toes in contact with the floor.
- Place hands on the floor with a quadrupled floor.
- Extend one leg behind at the level of your hip. Then lift and straighten the opposite arm in front of you. Your thumb should point to the ceiling.
- Bring the extended leg’s knee towards your chest and touch it with the extended arm. Maintain a neutral position so that if a bottle is placed on your back it does not move.
- Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
- Do 5 reps on each side.
Using a Bosu ball to lunge requires way more stability and balance. Bosu Ball lunges primarily target the quads, but they activate the glutes and hamstrings to an extent. You can hold dumbbells in your hands as you do the lunges to increase the intensity.
To do a Bosu ball forward lunge:
- Place the ball on the floor, flat side down.
- Stand facing the Bosu ball, about 2 to 3 feet away. You should be able to step onto the middle of the Bosu ball comfortably.
- Keeping your chest up, step forward onto the center of the ball into a lunge. Ensure you maintain good balance. Your knee shouldn’t go past the front of your foot.
- Return to the start position and repeat on the opposite leg.
- Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
One of the best Bosu ball balance exercises for legs is jump squats. This exercise works your glutes and the muscles in your anterior thigh (quadriceps femoral) and posterior thigh (hamstrings). You can choose to do squats, but jump squats are a little more challenging.
To do a jump squat:
- Stand about one foot away from the Bosu ball with your feet hip-width apart.
- Tighten your core muscles, bend your knees and keep your chest high. The hemispherical side of the ball should be up.
- Then jump up and land on the surface of the ball. Ensure you are in the squat pose, your spine is straight, and your knees are not extending over your toes.
- Pause for a few seconds, then get up and jump back on the floor. Squat as soon as you land.
- Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
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Mountain climbers are often categorized as a lower body workout, but they also engage your arms and core muscles. They are among the best Bosu ball balance exercises for runners as they challenge your agility and balance.
How to do it:
- Place the Bosu ball on the floor, flat side down.
- Begin in a high plank position, placing both your hands placing your hands on the Bosu ball.
- While engaging your core, bring your knees to your chest. Your back should remain straight.
- Once you master the movement, you can increase the speed. But do not sacrifice form for speed.
Bosu Ball burpees require a little more coordination and balance than regular burpees. The ball also adds some weight to the exercise. To get a good leg workout, ensure you squat low enough.
To do Bosu ball burpees:
- Place the Bosu ball on the ground with the hemispherical surface down.
- Get into a high plank position, placing your hands on the edges of the ball.
- Jump your feet up toward the Bosu ball, and as soon as they touch the ground, lift the ball overhead.
- When your arms are fully extended, bring the ball back to the floor and get back into the high plank position.
- Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
This is an effective upper body workout that helps to build strength in the shoulder and arms. The distance between your feet and the Bosu ball determines the complexity of the task. To make the exercise harder, increase the distance between the ball and your feet.
To do tricep dips:
- Place the ball flat surface down and hemispherical surface up.
- Sit in front of the Bosu ball and place your hands on it shoulder-width apart. Flex your knees and lift your bottom up off the floor.
- Keep your elbows tucked in, bend your arms and lower your body towards the floor.
- When your bottom touches the floor again, push up through your hands back to the starting position. You should feel your triceps engage. Your elbows should point backward and not to the sides
- Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions.
You can try Bosu push-ups if you want to do something other than traditional pushups. This variation is beneficial for your abs and shoulders, and it activates more muscles. It is also beneficial for shoulder stabilization as it adds the aspect of balance (2). You might want to be careful if you are a beginner.
How to do it:
- Place the Bosu ball flat surface up.
- Place your hands on the edges of the Bosu and grip it. Straighten your legs and keep your spine neutral so that it is in line with your neck. Do not dip to either side.
- Engage your core muscles, breathe in, bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest is close to the flat side of the ball
Seated Oblique Twist
This is an advanced exercise and may not be suitable for beginners. To maintain good form, ensure your core muscles are engaged.
- Place the Bosu ball flat surface down.
- Sit at the center of the Bosu and get into a v position. You should raise your legs and extend your arms out in front of you.
- Balancing your body on the body, start moving your arms side to side, twisting your torso as you move.
- You can drop one leg as you twist to make the workout easier.
- Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
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Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Workout
Here are a few things you should always have in mind when working out:
- Warm-up before working out and cool down afterward (1).
- Practice proper technique to reduce the risk of injury.
- Start slow as you gradually build up the intensity of your workout. Ensure you are only doing what your body can handle.
- Drink lots of water. Water flushes out toxins and ensures your body fully recovers. Electrolyte drinks are also a great option (4).
- Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
- If you feel sick or have persistent pain, hold off on working out for a while and get proper rest.
The Bottom Line
Just like resistance bands, Bosu balls are a versatile tool to use. You can incorporate them into any exercise. They help you build balance and strength. So, if you are looking for a challenge, try any Bosu ball exercises. Just make sure to practice good form to get the most out of your workouts.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Aerobic exercise: How to warm up and cool down 2021, (mayoclinic.org)
- Efficacy of Abdominal Control Feedback and Scapula Stabilization Exercises in Participants With Forward Head, Round Shoulder Postures and Neck Movement Impairment (2019, journals.sagepub.com)
- Instability resistance training for health and performance – ScienceDirect (2017, sciencedirect.com)
- Practical Hydration Solutions for Sports (2019, mdpi.com)