11 Body-Rocking BOSU Ball Exercises
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2017
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Want the best body you’ve ever had? OK, yeah. Silly question. But if you want something you've never had, you have to do some things you've never done. It’s time to change up your boring old workout routine with a BOSU ball. No matter whether you’re a beginner or an elite athlete, you can get a full-body workout with just this single piece of equipment. So if you’re ready to pump up your workouts, here are 11 exercises you’ll want to incorporate into your current routine. Or go big by using all these moves in one workout! Do each move for 45 seconds straight, keeping good form the entire time, then rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the next move. Be sure for the single-side exercises (side planks, lunges, one-leg bridges, etc) that you work both sides before starting the next exercise. Do all of these in row and you've got yourself a 17-minute, full-body workout.
SO WHAT'S A BOSU BALL?
The BOSU Balance Trainer, often shortened to just BOSU ball, was invented in 1999 by David Weck as a more stable alternative to the traditional stability ball. BOSU, which stands for “both sides utilized,” has a flat platform on one side and a squishy rubber hemisphere on the other, making it look a little bit like a stability ball cut in half. You can switch which side is facing down depending on the exercise you're doing. BOSU workouts add an element of instability, since one half is filled with air and more difficult to balance on, which forces your body to recruit more muscles from your core. That ultimately means that every exercise is an ab exercise, not just the crunches and sit-ups.
Related: 3 Benefits of the Bosu
Switch the BOSU ball around so that the hemisphere is on the ground and the flat platform is facing up. With your wrists underneath your shoulders, place your hands on the outside rim of the platform in push-up/plank position. Spread your feet apart about 12 inches to give yourself more stability and make this exercise easier. Engage your core and slowly lower your body down to the BOSU so that your chest touches it, then drive back up to the starting position.
Related: 10 Push-Up Variations for a Stronger Body
SIDE FOREARM PLANK
Set the BOSU ball down with the flat side on the ground. Place one forearm on the BOSU ball and extend your feet out so that you are lying on your side. Tighten your core and lift up into a side bridge/plank. Pulse up and down at the top or hold statically for 30 seconds or more to feel the burn.
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With the flat side down on the ground, lie on your back and place one foot firmly on the BOSU with your knee bent. The other leg should point straight out at a 45-degree angle and in line with the planted leg’s thigh. Squeeze your glutes and thrust your hips up to the sky. Hold, then slowly lower back down.
Related: 8 Unilateral Exercises to Challenge Your Balance
Place the BOSU ball down with the flat side facing up. Start in the push-up position on top of the flat platform with your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet behind you. While keeping your hands in place, drive one knee up toward you chest, then bring it back down to meet the other one. Quickly alternate with the other side and continue alternating for at least 30 seconds.
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Place the BOSU ball with the flat side on the ground. Stand behind the BOSU ball and step onto it with one leg. This will feel funny because the BOSU will give way a bit. Slowly lower down into a lunge, keeping your knee behind your foot. Push through your front leg and drive off the BOSU to stand back up and repeat on the other side.
Related: 20 of the Best Body-Weight Exercises
SINGLE-LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFTS
Place the BOSU with the platform side down. Stand on the BOSU on one leg with a slight bend in the knee. Bend at the hip and extend your free leg behind you for balance. Lower your upper body until it’s parallel to the ground. Then return to the upright position slowly and with control. Make sure to keep your hips in a steady position without letting them sway to one side. To make this more difficult, you can hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in the opposite hand of the leg that is standing.
Related: The Top 15 Moves to Tone Your Glutes
Place the flat platform on the floor and place your forearms on top of the BOSU ball. Step your legs back into a plank position. Lift one leg off the ground and hold in a static position. Your core should be tight so that you don’t let your stomach or hips droop. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
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Stand holding the BOSU ball in your hands with the flat side facing your body. Bend at the waist and slightly bend your knees as you place the BOSU on the ground. Making sure that your hands are secure, jump back into a push-up. Perform a full push-up (or skip for an easier variation). Keep your core tight and jump your feet back to the BOSU ball and stand up. Raise the BOSU up to the sky and repeat.
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For the advanced BOSU baller, place the ball side down on the ground with the flat platform facing up. Carefully step onto the platform with one leg, letting the BOSU sink to the floor for more stability. Then carefully step on with the other leg. If you need to use a hand on the ground (or a partner) for stability, that’s fine. When you stand up, you’ll immediately feel the instability. If you are comfortable, slowly hinge from you hips and send your butt back into a squat. Keep your knees facing out and drive them out as you stand up. If you are uncomfortable lowering down, you can slightly bend your knees and use this as a static balance test.
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Stand with your feet underneath your shoulders and a BOSU ball next to you. Step out to the side onto the BOSU ball so that one foot is on the ground and the other is on the BOSU. Your feet should be parallel to one another. Send your butt back as you descend into a side lunge with all of your weight on your lunging leg. Squeeze the glutes and drive back up to return to standing.
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For a variation on the last move, try alternating side lunges with a hop. Instead of returning back to standing after lunging to the side, after completing a side lunge, explode off of the BOSU ball and switch feet in the air, returning to a side lunge, but on the opposite side. Continue alternating sides.
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ADDITIONAL EXERCISES FOR YOUR BOSU BALL
When it comes to exercises you can do with your BOSU ball, the options are nearly limitless. Get creative and see if you can add the BOSU to some of your favorite existing exercises. Or try one of these: Russian twist, forearm plank, shoulder raise, sit-ups, side plank with leg lift, back extensions, oblique crunches, boat pose, bicycle crunches, bent-over rows, triceps dips, reverse lunges, ab roll-back, push-ups with one hand on the BOSU, plyometric push-ups and biceps curls.
Related: 3 Ways to Boost Your Ab Workout With a BOSU Ball
CAUTIONS WHEN USING A BOSU BALL
Because of the BOSU ball's inherent instability, it's important to exercise caution when working out with one. Use your core to stabilize your entire body and if you've never used a BOSU before, start out slowly and get a feel for how these exercises compare with their bodyweight counterparts before going full speed. And if you're more the bodybuilding type, don't rely on the BOSU for massive muscle gains. Besides, you shouldn't be lifting heavy weights on the BOSU to begin with. Weighted squats, lunges, hip thrusts and deadlifts are challenging enough on their own without the added instability of the BOSU. In that situation, you're better served focusing on perfecting your form and progressing your weight.
Related: Drawbacks of the Bosu Ball
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Have you ever used a BOSU ball in your workouts before? What exercises have you done with it? Now that you have a new way of challenging yourself in your workouts, which exercise will you choose first? Do you have any favorite exercises that would benefit from adding in instability from the BOSU ball? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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