Posted on : 04-08-2009 | By : Health Promotion | In : Fitness Tips
Yes, stability training has been a standard in our industry for several years now and most individuals have had some exposure to it via group fitness classes, personal training sessions or maybe just sampling it out on your own at the gym. Fortunately there are many balance tools that are available to train the novice and advanced exerciser, but my all time favorite at this moment is the BOSU Balance Trainer.
BOSU, which stands for both sides up, is a . ball . platform apparatus that gives you the option to train with either the dome (ball side) up or down. It provides you with the challenge of stability training, but on a doable surface that doesn’t roll away from you, slip out from under your butt or torture you with its too little surface area for limb support. Not only does it improve your balance, but it also trains muscles deep within your body that are responsible for joint stabilization and core strength. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that core muscle activation is increased up to 30% or more when training on an unstable surface. Fabulous!
The BOSU is user-friendly and allows exercises to be done in standing, seated, side-lying, prone (on belly) and supine (on back) positions. Its versatility lends itself to many creative ways to exercise all your major muscle groups as well as do some fantastic balance, agility, sport specific and aerobic conditioning moves. Whether you use the BOSU with bodyweight alone or with external resistance in the form of dumbbells, medicine balls, tubing or machines You will receive a very core powered, proprioceptive balance workout.
Below are five of my favorite bodyweight exercises that can be done on the BOSU along with a brief description of each move. I’ve also included some challenges for those of you who master the exercise and are ready for more. One special cautionary note: be certain to pay attention to levels of joint fatigue and stabilization efforts. If you feel unsteady, tired in any joint or are losing form release yourself off of the BOSU to prevent a fall. It is not that far if you do.
TOP 5 BOSU EXERCISES : Goal is to find fatigue between 12-20 repetitions
1. Bodyweight Squat with a Jump- Stand with feet on top of the dome (dome up), core engaged and eyes forward. Slowly lower into a squat position then jump up while swinging arms overhead. Land back into squat position with hips, knees and ankles bent and stick the landing for a few seconds before you proceed into next jump.
CHALLENGE- add a . turn to each jump, hold a medicine ball in hands for external resistance, or do both for the ultimate challenge.
2. Push Up with a Tilt- Place dome side down and grasp the sides of the BOSU with hands. Start on your knees and place your chest over the center of the platform. Perform a push-up then hold at top of position and tilt the ball down toward the floor to your right. Repeat, but tilt the platform to the left.
CHALLENGE- perform push-ups on your toes, or lift the opposite leg during the tilt phase (tilting right, lift left leg)
3. Side Lying Hip Hiker- Lay on your side with your bottom waist over the top of the dome, hips, knees and ankles stacked, bottom elbow and forearm on the floor for balance and top hand resting lightly on the dome for balance. Keep your shoulders stacked, core engaged and legs together tight while you lift both legs off of the floor to height of your hip, balance for a few seconds and release.
CHALLENGE- Try adding a lateral trunk curl by placing top hand at temple and bending waist sideways as you raise both legs to balance, or balance on top of dome with legs up and arms crossed over chest.
4. Bike Trunk Curl- This exercise is tough if you have a long torso! I’m speaking from experience. Place your lower back on top of the dome and hands behind your head for support. Start with both feet on the floor, then bring right knee up and twist left elbow toward knee, switch sides and repeat. The harder version is to bring both knees to your chest and balance on the dome while you extend one leg out and bring the opposite elbow in toward the knee.
CHALLENGE- Balance on top of the dome and extend one arm straight behind you and the opposite leg straight in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides.
5. Opposite Arm and Leg- Be certain to get into hands and knees position with right knee on top of the BOSU and both hands on the floor. Extend your left leg back and up until it is parallel to the floor and reach forward with your right arm, engage your trunk and stabilize in this position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
CHALLENGE- Touch the right hand and left knee together underneath your trunk while performing a trunk curling motion up toward the ceiling, perform 12 reps or so then end in the balance position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
There you have it! The BOSU Balance Trainer- a great fitness and stability training tool for improving your balance, core strength and stability and a functional, versatile piece of training equipment. The options are endless and there are many progressions to dozens of different exercises you can do with the BOSU. Make sure to get started with my top 5, then when your hungry for more I’ll make sure to have some dessert ready for you; more versatile moves to challenge you.
Bottoms up, or down depending on the way you use it!