By: The Fitness Crab
A BOSU ball does not look much like a piece of fitness equipment but it is a multipurpose physical fitness tool. It is great for core strengthening since it forces you to enhance your balance and stability.
What Is A BOSU Ball?
A BOSU ball looks like the bottom third or fourth of a large round ball. It can be used for an array of fitness exercises and can be used both round side up or down. “BOSU” is an acronym for “both sides up.”
What Is Your Core?
The main area of the core is made up of rectus abdominis, inner and outer obliques, erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings.
The main role of your core muscles is to keep you stable. Therefore, whenever you have to compensate for stability, your body is working the core. Whichever way you use the BOSU ball (with the dome part or flat surface facing up), it offers a very unstable platform. This forces your core muscles into continuous compensation.
Reasons Why Working Your Core Is Essential
Failing to work your core might lead to:
- Lower back pain
- Bad balance
- Postural distortions (rounded shoulders, excessive lower spine curvature or external foot rotation)
- Weak glutes by causing your femurs to rotate outward. This effect moves to the feet and does the same thing. This is the reason for duck-feet.
A strong core keeps your back erect when sitting and standing. It also helps you remain upright for long when riding a bike. Additionally, force production is another important factor. When riding a bike up a hill, you will struggle miserably when your core is weak. This is because you need power to push hard as you climb the hill. You will experience lack of stability. Power is also important when performing martial arts, playing sports like basketball and football where you need to make hits, fend off opponents, and maintain stability at all times.
Exercises You Can Perform With A BOSU Ball
Here are some exercises you can do with a BOSU ball:
I am sure you already know how to do a pushup. Rather than placing your palms face down on a flat surface, you will grab either side of the BOSU ball, with the curved side on the floor. As you push up the same way you do your conventional pushups, your stability will be greatly tested. Several parts of your body will be receiving a workout at the same time. These include your arms, your lower back, your abs, and other core muscle groups. Carry out sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.
Arm and Leg Raise
Place your BOSU ball with the flat surface facing downwards. Sit down in front of it, and gradually lean back. The BOSU ball should support your lower back. Gaze at a place high above you and at the same time lift your right leg and left arm. Keep both your arm and leg straight and bring them together if you can. Do 5 to 10 reps, then lift your left leg and right arm and do the same.
Position the BOSU ball with the round side down and step on it. You will instantly feel your core compensating in order to give you stability. While at this position you can carry out toe raises, squats, and barbell curls.
With the flat side up, grip the sides of the BOSU ball, and hold a plank with your arms extended. Take your left knee to your right elbow and draw it up all the way. Go back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds. Do the dame with your right knee.
Side Plank Hip Drop
With the flat side down, do a side plank on your right side by balancing on your elbow. Your shoulder and elbow should be lined up. Stack your legs together and push your hip high up. Drop your hip and return to the starting plank. Do this for 30 seconds on both sides.
With the curved side up, sit low on the BOSU ball. Hold a 3 to 10 pound dumbbell in both hands and extend your arms behind your head. Without arching your back, keep your core tight and pull your belly button to your spine. Crunch up like you are reaching for the ceiling while maintaining your arms in a straight position. Return gradually, extending your arms backwards every time you come back down. You will feel your abs shake on the rear side which is a good sign. Do this 25 times.
You might want to do these exercises without a ball first if you are beginner. This way you will get a feel of the movements.
Shop here for a good BOSU balance trainer.
About the Fitness Crab:
“I am the “Fitness Crab”, a Toronto-based fitness coach and yoga instructor. I’ve been helping my clients improve their health and set up their home gyms for over a decade. BOSU balance trainers are a must for any home gym as they are the perfect warm up exercise, and a great low impact cardio workout. I teach people how to achieve perfect form with bodyweight exercise as well as machines like rowers and climbers.”