You'll find many pieces of exercise equipment in a typical weight room. Some are great. Others are not the best use of your time. In this series, we will show you some of our favorite exercises using equipment we believe can improve your sports performance. First up is the BOSU Balance Trainer.
A BOSU Balance Trainer looks like a physioball that's been cut in half with a flat disc fused to the bottom. You can position it either ball-side-up or flat-side-up, depending on the exercise. Both positions create instability, so your body has to work harder to maintain balance when you perform an exercise. The added instability is the primary reason why you should use a BOSU.
Moves you can do on, or with, a BOSU will challenge every part of your body. Here are nine that are exceptionally good.
1. BOSU Med Ball Chest Pass
Rather than building explosive power with a traditional Med Ball Chest Pass, this variation improves stability, body control and deceleration—critical skills for maximizing strength and preventing injury.
- Stand on a BOSU with your feet hip-width apart. Have a partner stand 5-10 feet in front of you holding a lightweight med ball.
- Your partner throws the med ball toward your chest.
- Keeping your core tight, catch the med ball at your chest and decelerate its momentum by lowering into a Quarter Squat.
- Simultaneously drive out of the Quarter Squat and throw the med ball to your partner.
2. BOSU Med Ball Rotational Throw
Like the one above, this exercise helps you maintain control of your body, but in a rotational movement, which improves power and accuracy in skills such as throwing a ball or swinging a racquet.
- Stand on a BOSU with your feet hip-width apart. Have a partner stand 5-10 feet to your right holding a lightweight med ball.
- Your partner throws the med ball to the front of your torso.
- Keeping your core tight, catch the med ball with both hands in front of you and decelerate its momentum by bringing it to your left hip.
- Toss the med ball back to your partner by throwing it across your body.
Sets/Reps: 3x8-10 each side
3. BOSU Perturbations
A perturbation is anything that tries to knock you off balance. In this case, it's a partner who tries to nudge you off the BOSU. The exercise is a great way to improve your core strength, since your core's primary job is to prevent movement. BOSU Perturbations will help prepare you (and your core) for the unpredictable nature of sports.
- Stand on a BOSU with your feet hip-width apart.
- Clasp your hands together with your arms straight in front of your chest.
- Have a partner stand in front of you pushing your hands in random directions.
- Keeping your core tight, resist your partner's attempt to knock you off balance.
Sets/Duration: 3x30 sec.
4. BOSU Dumbbell Squat to Dumbbell Front Raise
This move strengthens your lower body, upper body and core at the same time.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart on the flat surface of a BOSU, holding dumbbells at your sides.
- Bend your hips and knees to lower into a Squat, and simultaneously raise the dumbbells in front to shoulder height.
- Drive up out of the Squat and lower the dumbbells to your sides to return to the starting position.
5. BOSU Push-Up Variations
The BOSU adds an instant challenge—especially for your shoulders and core—to Push-Up variations.
- Position the BOSU flat side up, and place your hands on the flat surface to assume a Push-Up Position.
- Keeping your core tight and your body in a straight line, perform Push-Ups.
6. BOSU Bulgarian Split Hops
Bulgarian Split Hops are one of the best single-leg plyometric exercises. Using a BOSU has two benefits: the height is lower than a bench, so it makes the move easier to perform if you have tight hip flexors; and it forces you to focus on your balance because your back foot might not touch the same spot on the ball every rep.
- Assume a split-squat position with the toes of your rear foot on top of the BOSU.
- Keeping your front knee behind your toes and your chest up, lower into a lunge position until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Drive through the heel of your front foot to jump into the air.
- Land with a soft front knee and repeat.
Sets/Reps: 3x5-6 each leg
7. BOSU Barefoot Single-Leg Holds
This exercise is simple—stand on a BOSU on one leg. Your foot will be constantly adjusting to keep you balanced, strengthening your ankle muscles. To increase the challenge, close your eyes.
- Stand with one leg on the BOSU with a slight bend in your knee.
- Keeping your core tight, maintain balance on the ball for the specified duration.
Sets/Duration: 2-3x30 sec. each side.
8. BOSU Toe Tap Variations
Substitute a BOSU for hurdles to improve your agility and footwork. There are a number of drills you can perform, such as Toe Taps, Lateral Switches and Lateral Hops (described below).
- Stand with your right foot on a BOSU and your left foot on the floor beside the BOSU.
- Hop up and to your right, landing with your left foot on top of the BOSU and your right foot on the floor beside the BOSU.
- Continue hopping back and forth.
Sets/Reps: 3x10 each side
9. BOSU Single-Leg Squat
This is an extremely difficult exercise, but it's great if you can do it. Adding instability fires the stabilizers in your lower-body, which increases stability around your knee—a key for preventing injury.
- Stand with one leg on a BOSU.
- Keeping your core tight and your chest up, sit your hips back and bend your knee to lower into a Single-Leg Squat.
- Continue lowering until your thigh is parallel to the ground, or you can't go any lower.
- Drive through your heel to stand up and return to the starting position.
Sets/Reps: 3x5 each leg
RELATED: Troubleshooting the Single-Leg Squat
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