Everybody wants to get fit, but getting to the gym can be hard and standard body weight exercises can get repetitive. A Bosu Ball is a great addition to any fitness circuit, whether you’re training at a gym or getting a workout in before you leave the house in the morning. Featuring a flat plastic surface on one side, and a portion of an exercise-ball on the other, a Bosu Ball makes your exercise moves more dynamic, forcing you to engage stabilizing muscles to tone and strengthen.
- Managing Difficulty with a Bosu Ball
- Using Free Weights
- Take Advantage of Both Sides
- Upper Body Bosu Ball Exercises
- Push Ups
- Around the World Push Ups
- Walk Ups
- Tricep Dips
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
- Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
- Dumbbell Flyes
- Dumbbell Rows
- Lower Body Bosu Ball Exercises
- Bosu Ball Squats
- Jump Squats
- One-Legged Squats
- Wall Sits
- Jumping Lunges
- Forward and Back Lunges
- Over the Top Squats
- Cross Behind Side Lunges
- Core Bosu Ball Exercises
- V-Sit Up Touches
- Ab Hugs
- Bicycles and Reverse Bicycles
- Russian Twists
- Leg Scissors
- Full Body Bosu Ball Exercises
- Static Planks
- Mountain Climbers
- Crossbody Extensions
- Squat, Curl, Press
- Lunging Twists
- Bullfrog Push Ups
- Cardio Building Bosu Ball Exercises
- Speedy Toe Touches
- Around the World Toe Touches
- Side Steppers
- Crossover Side Steppers
- Straddle Jumps
- Hopscotch Jumps
- Plank Jacks
Managing Difficulty with a Bosu Ball
Although a Bosu Ball is commonly used with body-weight exercises, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still alter the difficulty to match your fitness levels. There are two simple tricks you can use to turn up the difficulty of your exercises and bring your workout to another level.
Using Free Weights
The best way to turn up the difficulty of your Bosu Ball exercises is to add weight to them. This can be done for many exercises using free weights, barbells or kettlebells. If you are performing an exercise which leaves your hands free and want to crack it up a notch, just grab some weights and hold onto them as you exercise for that little extra kick you’re looking for. For exercises like pushups where your hands are busy, pick up a weight vest and strap it on before working out to increase the difficulty of your circuit.
Take Advantage of Both Sides
Another way to modify the difficulty of your exercise which is unique to the Bosu Ball is the ability to flip it over. Effectively it comes with a “normal” side and a “difficult” side. Although both sides provide a challenge, as even standing with your feet on the ball side forces you to stabilize throughout your workout, performing an exercise with the plastic side up will engage your body even more. By placing the rounded bubble on the ground the Bosu Ball becomes significantly more unstable, making your exercise that much harder and more effective.
Upper Body Bosu Ball Exercises
The Bosu Ball is a great option if you’re looking for an exercise circuit to help build your upper body. No matter what upper body muscle group you are looking to target there are options to incorporate a Bosu Ball and increase the effectiveness of your exercise.
One of the most basic exercise moves in existence, the push up is an enduring part of so many workout routines because it combines ease of access with effectiveness. Adding in a Bosu Ball just makes the push up an even more effective exercise. You can perform the standard Bosu Ball push up with the ball under your hands or your feet, with the latter option providing a slightly more difficult exercise.
Around the World Push Ups
If standard push ups are beginning to feel like they’ve become routine, switch it up with some around the world push ups instead. Start with your body in the standard push up position, only with just your left hand on the Bosu Ball. Perform one push up, then walk your hands and feet sideways until your right hand is now on the ball and your left hand is on the floor. Perform another push up, then walk forward while maintaining the push up position until your left foot is one the ball. Perform another push up and another sideways walk to get your right foot on the ball and perform your fourth push up to complete one set. Walk yourself backwards to reset to your original position and start your next set.
Walk ups are a great exercise to build your triceps. Lay your forearms down on the ball parallel to each other and extend your body straight out to reach a plank position. Lift your left hand and place it palm down down on the ball, then extend the arm to lift yourself higher off the Bosu Ball. Repeat with your right arm so that you are now in the top of a push up position. Reverse the motions to lower yourself down into plank again to complete one rep.
Sit down in front of the Bosu Ball with your legs extended out straight in front of you with your heels down, or bent in front of you with your soles down for a reduced resistance option. Place both palms on the Bosu Ball behind you, then extend your arms straight, driving your body up off the ground. To increase the resistance, place a weight onto your lap.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Changing up the angles of your bench press allows you to engage your chest muscles in varying ways. For an incline dumbbell bench press, lay the Bosu Ball down then sit with your lower back laying over the top of it and your back straight. Hold the dumbbells at chest height so that the ends of the weights are facing each other, then extend your arms up to complete a rep. Be sure to complete the press with a slow and steady motion so that you are in control. If the weights are banging together at the top you’re going too fast.
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
For a decline press you will complete the same pressing motion, but your body position is changed up. Instead of your upper body being on the Bosu Ball, place the soles of both of your feet on the ball. Engage your hips by pressing them up off the ground so that your body is a straight line from your knees to your shoulders which are flat on the ground. Hold the weights so their ends are facing and press them up with a consistent and controlled pace.
Position the ball underneath your upper back, then plant the soles of both feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips up so that your upper body is parallel to the ground, then hold the weights with your arms extended out to either side. Bring your arms together above your chest until the weights nearly touch, then lower the weights back down to the side at a controlled speed to complete a rep.
Kneel down then place the palm of one hand atop the Bosu Ball and hold a dumbbell in the other hand. Lift the dumbbell straight up off the ground until it is level with your upper body, then lower it back to the ground. To make the stabilization more difficult, complete the rows with your lower body supported on your toes instead of your knees.
Lower Body Bosu Ball Exercises
Any exercise circuit aimed at increasing the muscles in your legs and glutes greatly benefits from incorporating a Bosu Ball. Every exercise becomes more effective because the instability of the Bosu Ball forces you to engage the secondary muscles around the primary muscle group to keep yourself steady throughout the exercise.
Bosu Ball Squats
Stand atop the Bosu Ball with both feet atop it, approximately shoulder width apart. Squat down until your butt has reached a depth just below your knees, then extend your legs back up. If adding weight to increase the difficulty, use dumbells with one in each hand and held up by your shoulders or a barbell with the weight supported across your upper back. This keeps the weights stable and safe throughout the squat.
A slightly more explosive variation of the standard squat, the jump squat helps you to build explosive strength in your legs. Begin with a deep squat as you would for a normal squat, but when standing back up increase your speed on the way up and extend from your calves at the top of the squat to complete a small jump. Make sure both feet are set after landing before performing your second squat.
These squats offer a real test of your balance and are a great way to increase the difficulty of the exercise. Stand atop the Bosu Ball as you would for a standard squat, then bend one leg at the knee leaving you standing on one leg. Perform a squat on that one leg allowing the raised leg to move slightly behind you as a counterweight if needed. For a more difficult squat, extend the raised leg in front of you as straight as possible.
Even without a Bosu Ball the wall sit is a killer leg workout which will have your legs burning, but the extra challenge of balancing makes this exercise a real test. Position the Bosu Ball near a wall so that, when your back is on the wall and your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle, the ball is directly underfoot. Hold the position for an extended period to feel the burn. Start with a short stay, such as 10 to 20 seconds, but increase the time as your legs develop. Turning the Bosu Ball over is particularly effective as a complicating factor with wall sits.
Stand with your right foot on the Bosu Ball and left leg extended back behind you. Squat down slightly then jump up in the air. While you are still in the air reverse the position of your legs so your left lands on the ball and right leg is back. Repeat to return to your starting position and complete one rep.
Forward and Back Lunges
Stand with both feet atop the ball, then step forward with your left leg and sink down with a slight squat to complete the forward lunge. Step the foot back atop the Bosu Ball and then back behind it and perform another short squat to complete the back lunge. One set of of the exercise with each leg counts as a rep.
Over the Top Squats
Stand next to the Bosu Ball about one pace to the side. Step the foot closest to the Bosu Ball onto it then perform a slight squat. Step up with your second leg, then step off with the first leg on the other side of the ball and complete another squat. Step down off the ball, then repeat in the opposite direction to finish one rep of the exercise.
Cross Behind Side Lunges
Stand as if you were going to perform over the top lunges, then move a half step forward to find the ideal starting position. Cross your outside leg behind your inside leg and place the toe down atop the Bosu Ball and perform a slight squat before resetting. Complete the exercise as many times as desired for your set all on the same leg, then move over to the other side and repeat for your other leg.
Core Bosu Ball Exercises
No part of the body benefits more from the instability of the Bosu Ball than the core. Every muscle in your midsection is engaged while you perform your ab exercises with the ball, getting you trimmed down and toned up like never before. Including these workouts in your circuit training will help you build strength where you need it most.
Lie atop the Bosu Ball with your knees pulled in and your hands behind your head. Bend your upper body up so that your elbows touch your knees to complete the exercise. Although this is the most basic core exercise it is also very effective.
V-Sit Up Touches
Sit with your butt on the Bosu Ball and your legs extended out as straight as you can. Extend your arms straight in front of you. Bend forward and touch your toes with your hands, then lower your upper body back to reset.
Sit with your butt on the Bosu Ball, your legs extended together in front of you and your arms straight out at your sides. Pull your knees in to your chest and bring your hands together so that your arms make a loop around your legs. Complete the exercise by extending your arms and legs back out to the starting position.
Bicycles and Reverse Bicycles
Lie with your lower back on the Bosu Ball. Extend your right leg and bend the left one so that your knee is pulled up near your chest. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows forward then sit forward and turn your upper body so that your left elbow is nearly touching your right knee. To perform the exercise pedal your feet as if riding a bike while twisting your upper body so that each time a knee comes up to your chest the opposing elbow nearly touches. Reverse the direction of your legs to change the exercise or for respite if you are getting tired in one direction.
Sit with your butt on the Bosu Ball and your knees tucked in. Hold your palms together or hold a weight between your hands. Bring your hands to the left side of the ball and lower them down without fully touching the ground. Lift your hands up then rotate and repeat the exercise on the right side of the ball. Continuing to move from side to side is an excellent exercise for building your oblique muscles.
Lie atop the Bosu Ball with your upper body and legs extended straight. Raise your left foot up about four inches while lowering your right foot the same amount, being sure your heel does not hit the floor. Rapidly move your legs up and down, reversing which is high and low with each repetition of the exercise. To perform a horizontal scissors exercise, position the legs with one high and one low, then move them side to side instead of up and down, changing which leg is on top with each pass of the exercise.
Lie face down atop the Bosu ball so that your upper body and legs are both extended straight out. Lower your left hand towards the ground slightly while raising your right hand slightly, while doing the opposite with your legs. Pedal your arms up and down without hitting the ground. Be sure to keep it so that when one hand is up, the matching leg and your other hand are both down, and vice versa. This is a fantastic core exercise which engages your entire midsection.
Get in a push up position on the ball then stagger your hands by moving your left hand back on the ball and your right hand forward. Engage your core by bringing your left knee forward and out to the side so that it touches your left elbow. Reset then switch your hand position to repeat for your right side.
Full Body Bosu Ball Exercises
One of the great things about a Bosu Ball is how many exercise options you have which engage your legs, core and upper body all at the same time. This lets you get a full body workout in using nothing more than a Bosu Ball and some free time. Work these moves into your next circuit routine for a full body workout that can’t be beat.
Stand with the Bosu Ball held between your hands and the ball side facing out. Place the ball side on the ground then hop your legs back into the push up position. Perform one push up and jump your feet back up next to the ball. Lift the Bosu Ball up as you stand and perform a hop when upright.
Lay the Bosu Ball down with the ball side facing up then stand in front of it. Lower yourself into a squat so that your lower back rests against the ball, then extend your upper body back over the top. Perform a sit up to regain your upright position then stand back up to finish the exercise.
It’s easy to see a plank and think it’s not much of a workout, but that misunderstanding goes away as soon as you you try holding it. Lie down with your forearms atop the Bosu Ball and your feet extended back. Keep your entire body straight from your feet to your shoulders and hold the position. While it may not feel like much of an exercise at first, as you hold the position you will realize you are engaging your whole body to remain steady.
Take the push up position with your hands atop the Bosu Ball. Hop your lower body slightly and bring your left knee forward toward your chest, landing on both feet. Repeat the hop to bring your right knee forward and your left foot back to the starting position. Continue to switch between the two positions.
Another static exercise, crossbody extensions get exponentially harder the longer you hold them. Place both palms flat on the ground and your knees atop the Bosu Ball so that your upper body is straight. Extend your left arm forward and your right leg back, then hold the position for ten seconds. Repeat with your right arm and left leg. Increase the length of your holds to increase difficulty.
Squat, Curl, Press
Stand atop the Bosu Ball while holding a dumbbell at in each hand with your arms relaxed. Squat down until your butt is just below your knees, then extend back up to standing. Curl the dumbbells up so that they are at shoulder height. Extend both arms over head and straighten your arms. Lower the weights back to your shoulders, then reverse the curl motion to reset the exercise.
Stand with the Bosu Ball in your hands and the ball side facing out. Step forward with your left leg and perform a lunge, holding in the down position. Slowly rotate the Bosu Ball first to your left, then to your right, then back to center before stepping back to standing. Repeat with your right leg.
Bullfrog Push Ups
Place the Bosu Ball on the ground with the Ball side down, then assume a push up position with your hands holding the sides of the ball. Lower your chest down until it is just over the ball, then shift your weight back toward your feet. Hop your feet forward until they are just behind the Bosu Ball, then lift the ball and extend forward to again reach the push up position.
Cardio Building Bosu Ball Exercises
Often overlooked by beginners, your cardiovascular health is an essential part of any exercise program. You don’t have to just stick to the stationary bike or treadmill, however, as your Bosu Ball offers plenty of opportunities to work on your cardio. Each of these exercises can be completed for time for a high number of repetitions to get your body burning calories.
Speedy Toe Touches
Place the Bosu Ball down with the ball side facing up and stand next to it while facing it. Place your left foot gently atop the ball. Hop slightly, switching your feet so your right foot is on top of it and your left foot is on the ground. Continue switching as quickly as possible for 30 seconds to a minute.
Around the World Toe Touches
Similar to speedy touches, begin with one foot atop the ball. Each time you hop propel yourself slightly to the left, so that you move around the exterior of the ball in a clockwise direction with each touch on the ball.
Facing the Bosu Ball with the ball side up, stand a half pace away. Jump with both feet onto the ball, then jump off a half pace to the right. Hop back on the ball and repeat the process by jumping off it forward, then to the left and finally to the back.
Stand atop the Bosu Ball and and enter a relaxed squat stance. Extend your left leg off to the side of the ball and tap it on the ground before returning it to the top of the ball. Repeat with your right leg, then continue alternating back and forth.
Crossover Side Steppers
Stand on the left side of the Bosu Ball with the ball side facing up. Step up onto the ball with your right foot first followed by your left, then continue off onto the other side of the ball with your right foot going first again. Return to the left side of the ball by repeating the steps with your left leg first this time.
Stand atop the ball and hop slightly then spread your legs out so that you land with one foot on either side of the ball. Hop back up and bring your feet back in to land atop to the ball to complete one rep.
Stand atop the ball and hop up, tucking your left foot up behind your butt and landing on just your right leg. Hop again and land on two feet, then repeat with your right foot tucked up and landing on your left leg. Hop one last time, back onto two feet, and repeat until you have hit your target time or reps. These are difficult to balance with so don’t be afraid to look down and aim for the center of the ball on your one-footed jumps.
Take up a plank position with your forearms resting parallel atop the ball and your feet extended straight behind you and parallel to each other. Hop your lower body slightly and spread your legs out to the side as if you were doing a jumping jack. Hop again and bring your feet back together to reset the position.