The BOSU Balance Trainer offers much more than its name implies. This versatile piece of exercise equipment—which has become a staple in gyms across the country—can be used to boost cardiorespiratory endurance and build strength, effectively working your entire body in fun and innovative ways. To help add variety to your workout routine, five of the country’s leading master trainers share their favorite full-body, go-to moves using the BOSU.
The move: Burpee Bonus
What’s to love: “This move does everything: core, strength, cardio and balance, all rolled into one,” shares Shannon Fable, BOSU master trainer coordinator.
How-to: Begin standing behind the BOSU with the platform side up and your feet positioned wider than the rim. Squat down and grasp the edges of the rim, jumping (or walking) the feet back to a high-plank position. Without allowing the dome to rock, perform a push-up and then jump (or walk) the feet back to a wide starting position. With control, stand up while lifting the BOSU off the floor with both hands. Next, squat down to flip the BOSU over, dome side up. Once again stand up and jump (or walk) both feet atop the dome. Jump (or step) back down, flipping the BOSU back to its starting position with the platform up and repeat the sequence.
The move: Sprouting
What’s to love: “This particular ‘game,’ which I teach as part of a session called “BOSU Balance Basics and Beyond—Keys to Active Aging,” is rewarding, challenging and fun to do,” says Bernadette C. O’Brien (a.k.a., Super Betty), BOSU elite master trainer and mindful movement instructor. “It’s great for working the entire body in one sequence of movements that can be adapted to different ability levels.”
How-to: Stand in front of the BOSU with the dome side up. Position the feet hip-width distance apart with the heels one to two inches in front of the rim. With the arms extended forward at shoulder height and the palms facing one another, hinge the hips and bend the knees, squatting down to sit atop BOSU. Press into the feet to rise to standing, keeping the left arm extended forward while rotating the right arm open to the right side and turning the head to gaze toward the right hand. Return the arms to the starting position and repeat sequence on the opposite side.
The move: Bow Pose Variation
What’s to love: “Given that we spend so much time in flexion, this yoga-inspired movement offers balance, extension and total-body integration,” shares Lawrence Biscontini, mindful movement specialist and award-winning international fitness educator. “This movement series opens up the front of the body, improves posture, and assists with overall spinal mobility and health.”
How-to: Lie atop the BOSU with the dome side up, aligning the naval on or near the BOSU logo at the top center. Bending both knees, reach the right hand toward the right ankle and the left hand toward the left ankle, finding balance fully atop the BOSU for several breaths. Slowly reach the left arm forward and the right leg backward, looking over the right shoulder toward the right foot. Hold this position for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
The move: Single-leg Get-up
What’s to love: “This is a progression of a get-up exercise that I include in every class and training session I conduct, as I think there is nothing more important for mobility than being able to stand up and sit down comfortably and without pain,” says Ashley Varol, Ph.D., ACE master trainer and wellness coordinator at the University of Cincinnati. “When building strength toward a single-leg squat, the BOSU can offer a soft place to land.”
How-to: Stand in front of the BOSU with the dome side up; position the heels approximately one inch from the rim. Balance on the right leg and lift the left leg off the floor, extending the leg in front of the body. With the palms facing the floor and the arms extended in front of the body at shoulder height, hinge the hips and bend the knees, lowering into a pistol squat position until the glutes touch the top of the dome. With control, press firmly into the right leg to return to standing. Complete desired number of repetitions before switching sides and repeating.
The move: Booty Pop
What’s to love: “The booty pop is my favorite exercise because it hits a lot of muscles all at once using compound movements,” says Linda McDonald, BOSU master trainer and ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. “It’s also super fun to teach as part of a group fitness class because it works well with 32-count music.”
How-to: Hold the BOSU in front of the body with the arms bent, dome side facing out. Perform a squat, extending the arms to place the dome side of the BOSU on the floor. While continuing to hold the BOSU, straighten the legs, maintaining a neutral spine as the hips lift and draw the tailbone toward the ceiling. Bend the knees to return to a squat position and lift the BOSU to hover just above the floor as the core stabilizes. In this position, perform a rowing motion two times, pulling the BOSU toward the navel. Return to standing, performing a biceps curl to return the BOSU to the starting position.