The BOSU Balance Trainer, AKA the BOSU Ball, was invented in 1999 by athlete and fitness product developer David Weck, as an alternative to a traditional stability ball. An acronym that stands for “both sides up,” the BOSU ball can be used with either the flat or curved side resting on the floor, depending on the exercise you want to do.
BOSU ball workouts improve core strength, balance, flexibility, coordination and cardiovascular fitness. This versatility has led to it becoming a standard fitness tool in gyms across the world.
The concept behind this simple training tool is that exercising on an unstable surface engages small, as well as large muscles. This means workouts are comprehensive and extremely effective.
What Exercises Can be Done with the BOSU Balance Trainer?
Resembling a rubber stability ball that has been cut in half then attached to a rigid plastic platform, the BOSU Balance Trainer can be used to perform exercises such as Crunches, Planks, Presses, Squats, Bicep Curls, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Hip Extensions and more. It can also act as a stepper during cardio workouts.
Read on, to find out more about the BOSU Ball.
Why is the Bosu Balance Trainer so popular?
The BOSU Balance Trainer is popular with exercisers of every age and fitness level. This is largely due to it’s versatility, which enables user’s to perform a vast range of toning and balancing exercises.
While you can create your own routines, most BOSU balls come with two total-body workout DVDs that demonstrate cardio, toning and stretching exercises, along with moves designed to improve balance and coordination.
The BOSU Ball can be used with its curved or flat surface resting on the floor, depending on the exercises you wish to do. Two balance balls can be utilized simultaneously, by resting your feet on one and your hands on the other. Used this way, you will further increase the benefits of exercises such as Planks and Push-Ups.
Using a BOSU Ball myself, one of the things I like most about it is that there is no adjustment phase as there can be when using a regular stability ball, which has a tendency to roll across the room until you get the hang of it. Excellent for promoting good posture, I often use my BOSU Ball as a seat when watching TV.
Is the Bosu Ball more effective than a regular stability ball?
A couple of studies concluded that when used for strength training, the BOSU Ball provides no extra benefits than a traditional stability ball. Research has yet to be undertaken to determine if it delivers superior balance and coordination benefits. Studies also need to be done to see if it provides a better core workout than a regular stability ball.
Personally, I find the BOSU Balance Trainer enjoyable to use, and anything that keeps me interested in working out on those days I may not feel like it has got to be a good thing.
Again using Planks and Push-Ups as an example, when I do these with my feet resting on my BOSU Ball, the difficulty level is increased, and I feel that my muscles are getting a deeper and more effective workout.
Does the BOSU Balance Trainer come ready to use?
Before you can use your BOSU Balance Trainer, you will need to inflate it. A foot pump and instructions on how to use it will be in the box the ball comes in.
Be sure not to over inflate the ball. If you do, it will have a tendency to leak air. While no big deal, rectifying it is a little fiddly as you will have to undo the screws that attach the ball to the base, realign the ball’s rim with the base, then tighten the screws and reinflate the ball with less air.
The BOSU Ball is available in four different versions. These include the BOSU Home Balance Trainer, the BOSU Pro Balance Trainer, the BOSU Sport Balance Trainer and, the newest addition to the range, the BOSU Elite Balance Trainer. We will look at each of them below.
10-Minute BOSU Balance Core Workout
How do the BOSU Home, Pro, Sport and Elite Balance Trainers Differ?
BOSU Home Balance Trainer
The BOSU Home Balance Trainer comes in either blue or pink with a black platform and six black feet. With a 26″ diameter, its bladder (rubber dome) weighs 6 1/2 pounds, making its total weight around 14 pounds.
This version has an upper user weight capacity of 300 pounds, and it comes with a 90-day warranty.
Included with your purchase are a 4-in-1 Workout DVD and a second DVD containing two workouts from the Xplode series. You will also receive a BOSU Ball Owner’s Manual and a foot pump.
BOSU Pro Balance Trainer
The BOSU Pro Balance Trainer comes in blue with a light gray, non-skid base. The base offers increased stability and prevents your floor from becoming marked.
This model measures 26″ in diameter. At 8 pounds, its bladder is stronger and heavier than the bladder of the home model, giving it a total weight of slightly under 19 pounds. Its upper weight limit is 350 pounds and it comes with a 1-year warranty.
Included with your Bosu Pro Balance Trainer are a training manual, a workout DVD, and a foot pump.
BOSU Sport Balance Trainer
Available in two sizes, one with a diameter of 22″, the other 24″, both versions of the BOSU Sport Balance Trainer have a user weight capacity of 250 pounds. Being small, multiple units can be positioned close together, in a tight space.
Coming with a 30-day warranty, the color choices for this model are bright pink or bright blue with a lime green platform and feet.
Included with your purchase are an exercise manual and a foot pump.
The BOSU Elite Balance Trainer is for the serious athlete who wants to take his or her workout to the next level. Designed to improve speed, balance and body mechanics, this BOSU ball is split into “power line” and “power zone” training areas, making it suitable to use in conjunction with WeckMethod programming.
With a diameter of 26″, its high-density dome weighs around 11 pounds, and it is robust enough to support a weight of up to 400 pounds.
Available in black honeycomb with a gray non-skid and non-marking base, it comes with an owner’s manual, wall charts, a workout DVD and a foot pump and it has a 2-year warranty.
Final Thoughts on the BOSU Balance Trainer
The BOSU Balance Trainer would be a worthwhile inclusion in any exercise program. A multi-use fitness tool, it potentially provides lots of variety. In doing so, it helps allay boredom, which can be the death-knell to working out.
Whether you want to use it for cardio, to sculpt your arm muscles, leg muscles, back or core, improve your flexibility, coordination, balance, or all of these, I have no hesitation in recommending the BOSU Balance Trainer, which delivers on all fronts.
With a Bosu Balance Trainer in your home gym, you will be able to experience the many benefits of the BOSU Ball workout for yourself.
If you’re looking for a tougher workout, check out the StrongBoard Balance Board. (Click the previous link to read a review.)