How to exercise with a bosu

September 29, 2016

 

 If you go to the gym once in a while, you will probably have seen a bosu there: a half ball with a balancing platform. It's catching dust somewhere in the corner. Most people won't touch it, but only because it intimidates them since they have no idea what to do with it. It's one of my favorite toys at the gym! Here is why I think you should try it, too: 

 

Everyone can benefit from better balance 

When you see children learning how to walk, their core is working hard to get the balance just right. As we become more efficient with our movement, as well as more sedentary, we lose the ability to balance well. As we age, falls and broken bones often happen because we don't have good balance anymore. Everyone - no matter what age - can benefit from better balance. That is why I love all exercise forms that improve our balance, be it standing on your toes at Barre, flying through the air in aerial yoga, or using a bosu during your gym workout. 

 

Shock your muscles 

If you have ever started a new workout routine, remember how sore you felt after the first workout? Your muscles got shocked - in a good way - into trying new kinds of movement. This means they grow, adapt, and get stronger quickly. If you are doing the same exercises over and over again, you will not see the same kind of results you did when you first started. You are likely to hit a plateau. In my exercise classes I always talk about how important it is to find a balance between movements you know how to do and something new. Adding a bosu to your next workout may just give you that extra new kick for your regular squats or push ups. 

 

Keeping it interesting

Not wanting to get out of bed. Not leaving work early enough. Not being able to workout with kids running around. These are all good excuses why people give up an exercise routine, but the most common one is: it gets boring! Trying a new class or hiring a personal trainer can help getting you out of the monotone exercise rut. However, adding a new piece of equipment like the bosu to your routine is a simple, cheap way of having some extra fun! 

 

 

My favorite bosu workout

Now that we know we should all workout with the bosu, here is one of my favorite routines: 

All you need is a bosu and a medicine ball or a set of dumbbells. 

The routine is, do each exercise for 1 minute, that gives you a total circuit of 9 minutes. If you are in a hurry, do 1 round. With a bit more time on your hands, try two rounds. And if you really want to give it your all, go for 3 rounds!

 

 

 

1. Burpee push up with bosu

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart, holding the bosu in your hands with the ball side facing down. 

  • Place the ball on the ground, while maintaining a straight back going down. 

  • Jump your feet back together, so you are in a plank balancing your hands on the side of the bosu.

  • Lower your chest down towards the bosu in a push up move, being careful not to overarch your lower back here. 

  • Jump your feet back forwards hip width apart to either side of the bosu. 

  • Stand up, and reach the bosu overhead, being careful to use your core, so you don't arch your lower back. 

Make it easier: 

Instead of doing the push ups on your feet, you can lower down on to the knees after the jump back into the plank. Then do the push up on your knees, while the hands are still on either side of the bosu. 

 

 

2. Squats on top of bosu

  • Turn bosu so the ball side is down on the ground. 

  • Step on top of bosu with feet hip width apart.

  • Squat with a straight back as low as you can, and straighten legs to stand back up. 

Focus: 

Really tighten your core by drawing your belly button in, so you feel strong and balanced from your center. Make sure your hips sink back, and your knees don't slide forward over the front edge of the platform. 

 

Make it harder: 

Hold a medicine ball or dumbbells in your hands, bringing them down towards the bosu as you squat down. 

 

Getting on top of bosu: 

Trying to get to a standing position on top of bosu can be challenging. Place bosu next to a wall, so your hands can steady you. Step the left foot on the left side of the bosu, so it tilts towards the left. Then use your hands on the wall to balance, step your right foot up to the right side of the bosu, and voila, you are on top! You can even do the squats while holding on to the wall to start with. 

 

 

3. Squat pulses on top of bosu

  • Once you have finished the squats, hold the last one down at the bottom. 

  • Pulse here for an entire minute. 

Focus: 

During pulses, the move never comes from the knees, but from the hips moving up and back. Your knees shouldn't move forwards or backwards at all. While pulsing, try to keep your back as straight as possible. 

 

 

4. Burpee push up with bosu

 

 

5. Lunges with overhead press 

  • Place the bosu with the platform side down. 

  • Place one foot in front of the bosu, the other on top (right in the center of the ball). 

  • Hold a medicine ball in your hands in front of your chest (alternatively you can hold a dumbbell on either side). 

  • Lower the back knee down towards the floor in a lunge position. 

  • Lift up out of the lunge, and push the ball up over your head slightly in front, so it is in your vision. 

Focus: 

When doing lunges, always focus on the back knee bending down towards the floor. The front knee should always stay above the ankle, and never drop forward towards the toes. 

 

Make it easier: 

Lose the ball or dumbbell and move the arms without extra added weight. 

 

 

6. Lunges with overhead press on the other side 

 

 

7. Burpee push up with bosu

 

 

8. Abs slides sitting on top of bosu

  • Place the bosu with the platform side down. 

  • Sit on top of bosu, just slightly behind the center point. 

  • Your hands are on the side of the ball. 

  • Exhale and slide the legs out straight in front of you, really engaging your abs and the front of your thighs.

  • Inhale and draw the knees back to the chest. 

 

Focus: 

As the legs slide out, draw the belly button in as tightly as you can. This will help to protect your lower back during this move. If you feel any pain in your lower back, don't slide the legs out all the way. 

 

Make it easier: 

This exercise is tough without the bosu, too! If you are struggling with your balance here, take it to the floor first. 

 

Make it harder: 

Let the hands come off the bosu, and stretch your arms straight in front of you. 

 

 

9. One leg hip bridge lifts on bosu

  • Place bosu with the ball side down and lie down in front of it with your butt as close to the edge as possible. 

  • Place your left foot in the center of the platform, and reach your right leg straight up to the ceiling. 

  • Lift your hips up to the ceiling, while pushing the left foot down into the bosu. 

  • Pulse the hips up and down here. 

  • After 30 seconds switch the side. 

 

Focus: 

Try to keep the bosu as still as possible, without letting the edges of the platform touch the floor. Make sure your hips don't drop down to one side. 

 

Make it easier: 

Keep both feet on the bosu on either side of the little hole in the center of the platform, and do the hip bridge lifts. 

 

 

 

High five, you made it!

 

 

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© 2019 Martina Zand