Fit Check: Bosu Balance

Mint’s Will Noel shares five exercises on a half-dome Bosu ball to help keep you fit and balanced

You know that piece of gym equipment that looks like an exercise ball sliced in half? Well, it has a name, and since its debut in 2000, the Bosu Balance Trainer has become a popular tool among trainers and athletes. But some gym-goers rarely know what to do with the inflated blue hemisphere. Will Noel, a personal trainer at Mint in DC, offers an entire workout using just a Bosu.

Exercise 1: Uneven Dome Pushup
Muscle Areas: Arms, chest, shoulders, and core.
Reps: Two sets of 10 to 20.

Preparation: Kneel on the floor, a mat, or a padded surface. Place one hand on the floor next to the Bosu with your arm straight. Place your other hand in the center of the Bosu with the elbow bent at 90 degrees. Straighten your legs so your body is in a plank position.
Movement: Slowly do a pushup, lowering your chest toward the ground. More of the body weight will be on the arm that’s supported on the floor. Keep your head down and back straight. Switch arms and repeat.

Exercise 2: Hip-Abduction Squat
Muscle Area: Legs.
Reps: Two sets of 10 to 12 on each side.

Preparation: Stand with both feet on the Bosu, hip width apart. Keep your arms in front of you to help you balance.
Movement: Slowly lower yourself into a squat. As you come up, lift one leg off to the side and pause. Lower the leg and return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat. Noel says balance is key during this exercise, and you should avoid tipping the shoulders or pelvis, which may cause you to flail and step off the ball.

Exercise 3: Kneeling Front and Lateral Raise
Muscle Area: Shoulders.
Reps: Two to three sets of 12 to 20.

Preparation: Kneel on the center of the Bosu with your torso erect, arms at your sides. Slowly lift your toes off the floor until your shins are parallel to the floor. If you have dumbbells, hold then in each hand.
Movement: Slowly lift your arms—both at once—in front of your body until they’re at shoulder height. Lower your arms to the starting position, then lift them to the side until they’re shoulder height. Alternate between front and lateral raises. Be sure to contract your core firmly throughout this exercise for stability, Noel says.

Exercise 4: Supine Bicycle
Muscle Area: Core.
Reps: One to two sets of 25 to 30.

Preparation: Lie on your back, with the small of your back in the center the Bosu. Lift your legs until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, aligned over your hips. Place your hands behind your head for support.
Movement: Alternate your legs as if you’re riding a bicycle, reaching your elbow for the opposite knee. To increase difficulty, pull one knee in toward your chest while extending the other leg parallel to the floor.

Exercise 5: Supine Open and Tuck
Muscle Area: Core.
Reps: Two sets of 20.

Preparation: Sit on top of the Bosu with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Place your hands on the side of the Bosu for support. Lean back slightly, keeping your spine straight. Lift your legs off the floor until your knees are chest level and your shins are parallel to the floor.
Movement: Lean your upper body back slowly while simultaneously extending your legs. Try to extend until your body is almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then return to the starting position and repeat.

Do you have a favorite Bosu ball exercise? Share it in the comments!

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