Anyone who’s stepped foot inside a gym or physical therapy clinic in the past several years has probably seen one of these blue-domed objects pictured below in the pictures. For many, the sight of such an inherently unstable contraption produces two thoughts: What can I do with it, and can I use one without ending up in the ER? The answers are 1. Lots and 2. Yes.
The BOSU (acronym for BOth Sides Utilized) was developed as a safer, more versatile alternative to the stability ball. In fact, story has it that the inception for the BOSU occurred as its creator lay splayed out on the floor recovering from a nasty spill from said stability ball. Since then, it has quickly become one of the most effective tools for developing balance, proprioception, neuromuscular control, and functional strength.
In short, the instability offered by performing exercises on either the dome or platform sides of the BOSU challenges your body to recruit additional muscles to maintain stability. The BOSU can be used for a wide variety of activities from basic (simply standing on either side) to advanced, sport-specific agility drills, and can be incorporated in any upper body, lower body, core, balance or cardiovascular training regimen. With proper instruction, it can be safely used by the entire spectrum of ages and abilities: from an 80-year-old patient working to reduce their risk of falls to a high-school athlete preparing for soccer season.
OK I’m interested, now what?
Just like any other new activity, it pays to start with the basics. If you’re intention is to perform standing exercises on the BOSU, start by simply standing with both feet on it while maintaining your balance. Practicing stepping onto and off the BOSU will also improve your ability to safely and confidently use it. Generally speaking, it’s best to start with the dome side up and then progress to using the platform side as your balance improves. Once you’re comfortable with simply standing on the BOSU, the possibilities are endless. Pictured below are just a few of the potential exercises incorporating the BOSU.
Grip edges of platform side. While maintaining neutral spine posture, perform push-up keeping elbows tight to body.
Can be performed on either the dome or platform side. Maintain neutral low back posture while performing full or partial squats.
Assume starting position for push-up. Keep core tight and maintain neutral spine posture while slowly bring right knee forward. Don’t allow low back to rotate or round. Return right leg to starting position and repeat with left.
Additionally, visit the links below for additional exercise ideas: