10 Bosu Ball Exercises That Can Make Any Workout Better

Sport & Activity

Experts share how this piece of workout equipment can be an excellent stability challenge.

Last updated: 1 September 2022
7 min read
10 Bosu Ball Exercises That Make Any Workout Better

The Bosu ball may seem like an intimidating piece of workout equipment—but if used correctly, this versatile tool can be a great addition to your training. In case you're unfamiliar, a Bosu ball looks like a stability ball cut in half. The flat side is covered in dense plastic, which can be used as an alternative surface. Both the dome side and flat side can be used to take your workouts to the next level.

"The Bosu ball gives endless opportunities for strength, agility, speed and balance", said Hayley Akradi, CPT, Life Time Fitness personal trainer and Ultra Fit coach. "From training to rehabilitation, this piece of equipment is simple to use and easy to have on hand".

Benefits of Doing Bosu Ball Exercises

"To continue to grow properly in strength and conditioning, it's important to implement stabilisation training in your workout plan", said Drew Stauffacher, NASM-CPT and director of Fitness Programming at 9Round Fitness.

Even if you're someone who feels comfortable doing Squats with weights, Stauffacher recommended starting out with Bodyweight Squats on the Bosu ball before adding resistance into the mix. "This changes how the body is able to do the movement and will be an important training method for proper strength gain moving forwards in your training", he said.

(Related: 10 Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises, According To Experts)

A Bosu ball workout can be used to activate your entire body—whether that's your lower-body muscles (quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings), your upper-body muscles (back, chest, shoulders, triceps and biceps) or your core, Akradi said.

Best of all, it's a great mental workout too. "The Bosu ball can be paired with cardiovascular training and/or musculoskeletal training", Stauffacher said. "But the neurological aspect is what creates a well-balanced, comprehensive workout".

The body creates new neurological pathways when you introduce more balance training into your workout routine. In fact, research has demonstrated that balance training using equipment like the Bosu ball can help improve memory and spatial cognition in healthy adults.

RELATED: 5 Benefits of Regular Exercise for Your Body and Mind

The Key To Perfecting Your Balance

It goes without saying that one of the most challenging parts about using a Bosu ball is maintaining your balance.

"When you begin training with a Bosu ball, your muscles, body and mind are not used to the unstable environment", Stauffacher said. So how do you establish this mind-body connection? As with most things: practise, practise, practise, both trainers emphasised.

Akradi recommended standing on both the dome side and the flat side of the ball for 30 minutes—or as long as it takes—until your body starts getting used to the instability. This will help activate those small muscles, which can get neglected in everyday movements. As you get used to the sensation, your neurological system will start to power up and send signals to the brain to help your muscles calm down and adapt, Akradi said.

Once you get used to this sensation, you'll have much better control over those "shakes", Akradi said. "Training those small muscles will help with balance, just as training the big muscles will help with power. The neurological response is the fastest adaptation".

10 Bosu Ball Exercises That Make Any Workout Better

10 Trainer-Approved Bosu Ball Exercises To Try

Intrigued? Below, Stauffacher and Akradi share 10 Bosu ball exercises to try the next time you're looking to ramp up the intensity of your resistance workout.

  1. 1.Cross-Body Mountain Climbers

    Place the Bosu ball dome side down. Grab the handles on the flat side with both hands and assume a High Plank position. Keeping your back straight and neck neutral, drive your right knee towards your chest, tapping it on your left elbow. Return to a High Plank position and repeat on the other side without pausing in between.

    Repeat for 20 reps total, 2–3 sets.

  2. 2.Burpees

    Start in a standing position with feet hip-width apart. Hold the Bosu ball at chest level with the round side facing out. Extend your arms and bring the ball overhead. Hinge at the hips and bend over to bring the Bosu ball down to the floor. Press down on the Bosu ball and jump your legs back to assume a High Plank position. Perform a Push-Up before jumping both feet in and returning back to a standing position while lifting the Bosu ball back overhead.

    Repeat for 10 to 15 reps, 2–3 sets.

    RELATED: A Beginner's Guide to Burpees, According To Personal Trainers

  3. 3.Single-Leg Glute Bridge

    Place the Bosu ball flat side down. Lie on your back and place your right leg on the ball and raise your right leg into the air so that it's perpendicular to the floor. Push through the heel of your right foot to lift your hips up until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Pause and slowly lower back down to your starting position. Switch legs and repeat.

    Repeat for 10 reps on each side, 2–3 sets.

  4. 4.Heisman

    Place the Bosu ball on the floor, dome side down. Place your left leg on the platform side of the ball. Engage your core and bend at the hips. Shift your weight onto your left leg and extend your right leg behind you until it's parallel to the ground. Simultaneously, extend your left arm in front of you. Pause, engage your core and then bring your left elbow to meet your right knee. Return to standing. Switch sides and repeat.

    Repeat for 10–15 reps on each side, 2–3 sets.

  5. 5.Squats

    Place the Bosu ball flat side down. Stand on the dome side of the ball with feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower down into a Squat position so that your legs form a 90-degree angle. Bear in mind your knees should not track over your toes. Push through your heels and return to a standing position. For more of a challenge, perform the same movement with the ball dome side down.

    Repeat for 10–15 reps, 2–3 sets.

    RELATED: The Reason Your Squats Aren't Growing Your Glutes—And How To Fix It

  6. 6.Split Squat Jumps

    Place the Bosu ball dome side up, about 30cm behind you. Bring your left foot back and place it on the ball, toes pointing down. Keeping your back straight, lower into a Lunge until your left knee is about 3cm above the ground. Explosively jump up, extending both legs in the air. Land softly and immediately drop down into a Lunge position.

    Repeat for 10–15 reps on each side, 2–3 sets.

  7. 7.Back Extensions

    Place the Bosu ball flat side down. Lie down on the ball, facing down, so that the dome is right underneath your hips. Your legs should be extended out behind you. Keep your ankles flexed and make sure your toes are in contact with the ground throughout the entire movement. Extend your arms directly in front of you. Engage your core, keep your spine neutral and lift your upper body as high as you can before lowering back down. Repeat the movement slowly and with control.

    Repeat for 10 to 15 reps, 2–3 sets.

  8. 8.Side-Plank Hip Dips

    Place the Bosu ball flat side down. Assume a Side Plank position, balancing your left elbow on the dome side of the ball. Your elbow should be in line with your shoulder and your hips should be stacked so that your body forms a straight line. From here, lift your left hip up as high as you can before returning to a Side Plank position. Switch sides.

    Repeat for 15 reps on each side, 2–3 sets.

  9. 9.Single-Leg Pistol Squat

    Place the Bosu ball on the floor, dome side down. Stand on the platform part of the ball with feet hip-width apart. Raise your left leg off the ball and use your right leg to drop down into a Squat. Simultaneously, bring your left leg out in front of you and squat as deep as you can without losing form.

    Repeat for 10 to 15 reps on each side. If that's too strenuous, consider starting with 5 to 7 reps on each side. Try and cycle through 2–3 sets.

  10. 10.Bosu Ball Up-and-Overs

    Place the Bosu ball flat side down. Stand to the left of the ball with your right foot on the dome and your left foot on the ground. Lower into a 45-degree Squat. Using the momentum of your arms, jump explosively up and over the ball. Switch your feet mid-air and land on the right side of the ball, this time with your left foot on the dome and right foot on the ground. Continue jumping back and forth with no breaks in between.

    Repeat for 15–20 reps. Start with one set and add in another if you can, but bear in mind this exercise is higher impact.

    Words by Faith Brar

10 Bosu Ball Exercises That Make Any Workout Better

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Originally published: 1 September 2022

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