3 Benefits of the Bosu

Ninety-six percent of trainers offer balance training as a session option, according to a 2008 survey by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association. In other words, these fitness professionals are putting balance aids like the Bosu trainer to work, helping their clients coordinate muscles and nerves to balance on the type of unstable surface you can easily encounter in real life, but that's not the only benefit Bosu trainers offer.

About the Bosu

The Bosu trainer looks like half an exercise ball mounted on a rigid plastic base. You can use the Bosu ball with the dome side facing up, so it sits flat on the plastic base, or as a wobble board with the dome side facing down. Bosu trainers are versatile enough to use as stretching aids, balance-training equipment, rehabilitation equipment and even strength-training and plyometric training tools. The Bosu takes up less space than a stability ball, and because it's flat on one side, you don't have to worry about a Bosu trainer rolling away from you the way that stability balls frequently do.


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Balance Training and Workout Intensity

Most gym weight-training machines position you to push and pull on handles that move through set tracks, building muscular strength and endurance, but not the sort of coordination you need to stabilize free weights as they move unrestricted through space. Using free weights like dumbbells and barbells forces your muscles to stabilize and guide the weights, and doing your workout on the Bosu trainer takes it a step further, forcing your core to work constantly throughout the entire motion. This is also an excellent way to make easy exercises more challenging; if you can do a full set of pushups, lunges or squats with good form, try doing them on the Bosu trainer and you'll find yourself working harder.

Flexibility Training

Like a stability ball, the Bosu trainer's rounded top -- when you place it dome-side up -- offers good support for back and abdominal stretches. Just drape yourself over the trainer's soft dome, facing down or up, and relax to feel the stretch. You can also place the Bosu trainer dome-side down and use it as a "slant board" to stretch your calves; place the ball of one foot on the edge of the rigid plastic, and rest the heel of that foot on the floor. The Bosu trainer will tilt beneath you, supporting your foot as you stretch your calf muscles.


Workout Variety and Entertainment

Switching up your workout every few weeks is one of the best ways to keep from hitting a plateau. The changes in your routine force your body to continue adapting to new stimuli, but, perhaps more importantly, they also keep you entertained. You can easily plan and carry out workouts without the Bosu trainer, but if incorporating it keeps you entertained enough to keep working out, or just makes exercising fun again, it's a worthwhile investment.




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