Bosu balls might sound like a tasty side dish that you would order from your local takeaway, but they are actually an innovative piece of equipment that can be used to train your muscles and aid injury recovery.
In this post, we are going to run through 7 benefits of Bosu balls so you can decide if they’re worth it for you.
What exactly is a Bosu ball?
Despite the name, Bosu balls are not balls. They look like the top portion of an exercise ball has been sliced off and affixed to a sturdy base.
They are mainly used to perform balancing exercises, either solely focusing on maintaining balance or disrupting your equilibrium during other exercises.
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#1 – Super-charge your core strength
Bosu balls are core strength magic because, even when you are not using them to do core-focused moves, they train your core muscles. The reason for this is the instability that they add to exercise requires your core muscles to constantly engage and adjust so that you maintain your balance.
#2 – Get ripped abs fast
- With the flat side of the Bosu ball on the floor, lie on the ball with your spine in line with the curve.
- Begin stretching out your spine by slowly extending yourself until your head is fully back.
- Then, contract upwards while supporting your head with your hands or reaching your arms out in front of you, squeezing your abs as you do so.
- Do not perform a full sit up.
#3 – Recover faster from an injury
If you are recovering from an ankle or hip injury, or have an ongoing condition that affects these areas, or if you are experiencing balance problems, then working with Bosu balls can a massive benefit.
A simple way to begin is to place the Bosu ball on the floor and then try to stand upright on its centre. A cane or a walking stick can be used to aid balance if needed; think of it as the equivalent of stabilisers on a bike.
You can either have the flat side facing up, giving you a flat surface to stand on or the flat side on the floor, giving you the curved surface to standing on.
The latter is more challenging and provides growing room to further build up your stability. Once you have mastered standing upright with your feet in the centre, try marching on the spot.
Bosu balls are ideal if you have a shoulder injury
The scapula muscles are made up of the rotator cuff muscles, teres major, subscapularis, teres minor, and infraspinatus. They play an important role in shoulder rotation.
If you have a shoulder injury, perhaps from the gym or a more serious event like a car accident, then your recovery process will be greatly aided by gently working these muscles to restore strength and fluidity.
Start in a press-up position, with the curved side of the Bosu ball on the floor and your hands gripping onto the flat surface at the ‘9 and 3’ position. Slowly tip one side to the floor as far as you can go, then switch and tip the other side. Repeat.
The instability of the Bosu ball will train the tiny muscle fibres throughout your scapula muscles and help to reduce the pain associated with injury in this area.
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#4 – Build bigger, stronger legs with Bosu ball squats
Squats can be the next step for people who are using a Bosu ball for rehabilitation or for those who just want to step up their game.
As compared to squats performed on a stable surface, Bosu ball squats constantly challenge the core stabilising muscles and create a more intense workout. Try holding your arms out in front or above your head to add a little something extra.
#5 – Work hard-to-reach lateral with Bosu ball catches
If you have a training buddy, get them to throw a ball to you while you are standing on a Bosu ball. The smaller the ball, the more challenging this is.
You can mix things up by having them throw the ball at different spots, so you have to reach up and down to catch the ball, and by standing at different angles so that your lateral muscles get some attention (it is best to get off the Bosu ball to change position rather than try to shift your feet). To get a double workout, you both could be on Bosu balls.
Build super-thigh strength with one-legged lats
To target your lateral muscles, stand on a Bosu ball using only one leg and try to remain balanced for 30-60 seconds. This one is particularly tricky! Again, you can incorporate a game of catch to further challenge yourself.
#7 – Bosu balls are super-easy to store
One final great point about Bosu balls is how easy they are to store. They are perfect for people who do not have a lot of space around their house. Bosu balls can be put in a cupboard or a wardrobe slid under a bed, or even slipped behind a sofa!
For the range of exercises you can do with this odd-looking bit of kit, they’re really simple to stash and bring out when you need them.
Reference and Further Reading
- NCBI – Instability resistance training for health and performance
- Wikipedia – BOSU
- Effects of Strength Training Using Unstable Surfaces on Strength, Power and Balance Performance
- Physical Culture Study – The History of the Bosu Ball
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning – Effects of BOSU Ball(s) During Sit-Ups With Body Weight and Added Resistance on Core Muscle Activation