The BOSU – Both Sides Utilised – balance trainer is a common sight in most gyms these days, but it’s not, contrary to popular opinion, just about sitting on and working on your abs. No, in fact, it’s a fantastic way of helping you balance under high-stress situations, helping you move and change direction more quickly and with more agility.
In these videos, our Master Trainer, Sue Wilkie takes us through five exercises to help build that balance and help you move more quickly and with greater agility.
Six BOSU Balance Trainer Exercises
Balance is a key part of loads of different sports and the BOSU balance trainer is a great way to help improve this. First, you need to step up onto the balance trainer, platform side down and find what’s known as your steady point where you feel comfortable. If you feel as if you’re going to overbalance or fall at any point during any of these exercises, just step off the BOSU, reset yourself and start again.
You then need to engage your core, place your hands out in front of you – palms up – and focus on your middle finger. You then take your hand back behind you, tracking that middle finger all the way and maintaining your balance on the BOSU. You then bring it back in front of you, tacking it again. Repeat this with each arm a few times. To make it a little bit harder, take your hands round above and behind you, rather than horizontally.
Benefits of the Balance Exercise
Although this exercise may have little or no benefit to your fitness or weight loss, it’s great training for any number of sports. Balance is key whenever you need to make quick direction changes, such as in sports like football, hockey, basketball or rugby.
To take on the travel squat, you first need to make sure that the pointy bit on the rim of the BOSU is pointing away from you, with the platform side flat on the floor. You then stand to the side of it, place one leg on the BOSU, do a squat and then step up onto the BOSU, put your other leg down on the other side of the BOSU and squat again, then do the very same but in reverse. Do this a few times.
Then, if you want to make it a bit more difficult, we can add a little more dynamism into the exercise. Do exactly the same as the standard travel squat as described above, but when traveling from side-to-side on the BOSU, reach down and touch it in the squat phase and jump up with your hands in the air during the travelling phase.
Benefits of the Travel Squat
As with any squat, this is a great general leg workout, as well as helping to improve your balance, while the explosive, jumping (or plyometric) element of this workout is fantastic for increasing the power of your leg muscles.
For this exercise, you can either place your hands on top of the BOSU platform, or grip the sides, then extend into a plank, holding your shoulders directly over the BOSU platform. From this position, you need to bring one foot forward and place it to the side of the BOSU and drop your hips as far as possible and then do the same on the other side, making sure you’re maintaining the plank throughout the whole motion and keeping that platform as steady as possible.
Benefits of the Hip Opener
With so many of us leading relatively sedentary lifestyles, especially with the proliferation of office jobs, it’s important we work our gluteal muscles to help our hips loosen up a little bit to improve joint flexibility and strength.
Second Balance Exercise
Now we need to put the BOSU platform side sown again for another balance exercise. This time, kneel on the BOSU, with your toes off the floor with your back nice and straight. Place your hands on your hips and step up into a standing position on the BOSU without touching the floor, then return to a kneeling position. Then, repeat, but leading with the opposite leg. Keep alternating for a few repetitions.
Benefits of the Second Balance Exercise
Just like the first balance exercise described above, this exercise is great for any sport that requires quick changes of direction. Furthermore, it’s also really good for improving your core stability, which is also vital for so much fitness work.
Alternating Reverse Curl with Lunge
Begin atop the BOSU with both feet and your shoulders set. Step back with one foot off the BOSU, drop your knee towards the back of the dome, step back up again and repeat with your other leg. Make sure you get your knee as close as possible to the dome and make sure your heel stays pointing upwards.
Benefits of the Alternating Reverse Curl with Lunge
This exercise is fantastic for improving your symmetrical toning, as well as boosting your hip flexibility. It’s also great for toning your glutes, improving your core stability and it’ll also help put less stress through your spine.
The BOSU balance trainer is great for abdominal work and for this exercise, just sit on top of the dome and place your hands behind your back flat on the dome. Staying sat up nice and straight, bring your knees up towards your chest and then, once you’re balanced and comfortable in that position, extend your legs out at the same time as leaning back. Once you’re laid out flat, reverse the operation, sitting up and bringing your knees up at the same time, then repeat. If this is a bit tricky to begin with, try doing it one leg at a time before working up to both legs.
Benefits of the Abdominal Exercise
This is an absolutely fantastic exercise for anyone looking to really build and tone their abs for that washboard stomach look and a great, strong, stable core.
Next time you’re in the gym and you spot a BOSU, why not give one of these exercises a go and see how you get on? Better yet, how about incorporating them into your regular workout?