Back in 1999, the BOSU ball was introduced into the fitness world. Before the BOSU ball, trainers and therapists used regular exercise and medicine balls to train people, but the BOSU was a little more inviting to the masses.
The BOSU ball is an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform. The device is often used for balance training, but often is thought to help out with strength and muscle building.
It is nothing these days to look in a gym and see a BOSU ball laying around, and even being used (especially improperly used). The BOSU ball was marketed to help out with strength and even muscle building along with balance, but in the years since its conception, most people believe the benefits of it lie solely in balance.
Balance is very important though when it comes to strength and strength leads to building muscle, so in a way, the BOSU ball contributes all the way around. A big issue with this piece of equipment is it is usually misused, which can mean a lot of trouble. A major problem is people flipping the ball upside down and standing on the flat surface. The manufacturer even puts warning signs on the BOSU ball to not do this because the ball could pop. Another issue is the thought that if any exercise is performed on the BOSU ball, it will be intensified and in some way engage more muscles which in return will make someone stronger. This too is not true. One has to be extremely careful when stepping on an unstable surface like the BOSU ball period. Adding resistance training to the mix can lead to disaster.
The BOSU ball is best utilized with body weight only and core movements. Studies have shown that doing sit-ups on the BOSU ball shows slightly higher core involvement than doing them on a flat surface like a bench or the floor.
With all of this being said, if you are looking at giving the BOSU ball a shot, here are some movements that will not waste your time:
Tighten your stomach and lift with your core as you sit up. As you release back towards the ground, don't let your back arch over the BOSU ball. For proper form, keep your back flat with the ball.
Stand on the ball with your legs hip-width apart and squat. Hold the squat for three seconds before standing. This works your legs, glutes and core.
You can either do one leg at a time or switch legs during each set. Make sure your foot is sturdy on the ball, and don't let your knee go over your toe when you lunge.
- Boat Pose
Sit in the middle of the BOSU ball and find your balance. When ready, lift your knees up to a 45-degree angle and balance. Try to hold this position for 15 seconds and build from there.
This move is just like a squat except you jump on the ball side and then jump off. When you jump onto the BOSU ball, hold the squat for two seconds before you jump off. Try to work your way up to 10 seconds
- Side Lunges
Start with your right foot sturdy in the middle and step your left foot out to the side. Squat. Bring your left foot into the middle of the ball and step your right foot out to the side. Squat. Keep switching legs until you do 12 reps on each side.