Bosu Ball Training
The bosu ball is one of the most versatile pieces of training equipment that can be found in gyms or easily storable for an at home workout. Personal trainers often use the bosu ball to challenge their clients’ stability and keep training fun. The bosu ball is similar to a swiss ball, except the bosu ball has a dome side and a flat side.
Benefits of Bosu Ball Training
The bosu ball is such a great tool for personal trainers to incorporate into a training program because not only does it help build muscular strength and balance but it also challenges a clients proprioception which is the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body. The exercises that can be done on the bosu ball are endless, and to make it even more challenging weights like dumbbells, kettlebells and even a barbell can be incorporated to use with it. There are two sides, the flat side and the dome side, both of which can be utilized in different exercises.
Bosu Ball Balance Exercises
The bosu ball itself isn’t what trains a client’s balance, but what it does do is cause instability, which causes gains in core strength and overall strength which leads to improved balance. When programming the bosu ball into a clients program it is important to make sure they are ready for it. There are bosu ball exercises that range from very easy for the beginner clients all the way through advanced. It’s always a good idea for a personal trainer to do a balance assessment prior to introducing the bosu ball into a training program.
Below we will walk through some of the more popular bosu ball exercises to start utilizing in your clients program.
The walkup is one of the most basic exercises on the bosu ball. This is great for a beginner client as well as the older clients strictly looking to improve balance and stability. The exercise is performed by laying the bosu ball on the ground with the flat side down. Alternating legs just like a step-up, placing the right foot on the ball and then the left and step back down. It’s always best to have your clients alternate legs when they step to ensure even work on both sides. An alternative is to have the client balance with one leg on the ball.
Lateral walk over
The lateral walk over is very similar to the walk ups, the only difference is that instead of stepping forward like the walk ups, have the client step laterally onto the ball until both feet are on top and then step down on the opposite side. This is also a great beginner level exercise.
The lunge exercise on the bosu ball is one of the most common exercises you will see, and a great lower body strength exercise. With this exercise, the ball is placed on the flat side down. While alternating legs, have your client lunge forward placing one foot on the ball, and then returning to the starting position. If you want to make this more challenging without adding weight you can have your client do all reps on the right leg and then do all reps on the left leg. This exercise can be progressed over time starting with body weight then adding dumbbells or kettlebells. For advanced clients you can move the weights to a front rack position, making this exercise not only help strengthen the legs but the core muscles as well.
The squat is also one of the more popular exercises, and will be for the more experienced client. This is done with the dome side of the ball on the ground and the flat side on the top. Have your client stand on the bosu ball then squat down and stand back up in a controlled tempo. When you first incorporate this exercise, it may be a good idea to have the client get used to standing on the ball before squatting. To make this exercise more challenging, dumbbells or kettlebells can be added and positioning of the weights can be changed. To make this a very advanced exercise, you can make this a squat to overhead press exercise, and then it goes from just a lower body exercise to a full body exercise.
The mountain climber exercise is a great total body strengthening exercise and is also used for incorporating cardio into the training program as well. This exercise can be incorporated at most levels of training. For this exercise, you will place the dome side of the ball on the ground with the flat side up. Place hands on the outside of the ball while alternating legs and bringing the knee as far as possible to the elbow. This exercise can be made more challenging by bringing the knee to the opposite elbow, ensuring that the spine stays neutral the entire time.
The push-up is a great upper body exercise while at the same time really working the core muscles. This exercise is performed with the round side down, with the same grip on the outside of the ball. With a controlled tempo, lower the chest to touch the exercise ball and then back up. There are many variations to this exercise but this is the basic form and is extremely challenging.
The chest press is also a great upper body exercise. For this one you will place the flat side on the ground and have the client lie centered on the ball side of the bosu ball. Have your client perform a standard chest press exercise, this can be done with dumbbells or for the more advanced clients, even a barbell.
The russian twist is performed on the round side of the bosu ball. The starting position for this exercise is the flat side placed on the floor, have the client balance in the middle of the round side, keeping the feet up off the ground. Then have them alternate their hands side to side, keeping the feet elevated. This is a challenging exercise without weights but as the client progresses you can add weight to this exercise.
The bosu ball plank can be done as either a high plank where the client is on their hand or a forearm plank. The forearm plank will be more stable and likely a better starting exercise for a beginner on the bosu ball, as the high plank requires more stability in the shoulders. The forearm plank is performed with the ball side facing up, and the high plank is performed like the push-up with the flat side up and the hands on the outside of the ball.
For the bosu ball crunch, place the flat side of the ball on the ground, and have the client find a comfortable position in the middle of the ball. From there, perform a standard crunch exercise. This can be made harder by adding weights such as a dumbbell or kettlebell.
As you can see, the bosu ball is an incredibly versatile piece of equipment, and these are just a few of the exercises that can be performed. The exercise options are endless, and the bosu ball adds an extra level of balance and stability while keeping exercises challenging and fun.