You are limited only by your own creativity when exercising with a BOSU ball, according to Alexandra Rocco, a group fitness instructor and personal trainer at Crossroads Fitness and a physician’s assistant at Utah Orthopedic in Washington Terrace.
“The main benefit to the BOSU is it’s a comprehensive non-impact workout,” she said. “You get some cardiovascular benefit in a controlled environment while reducing the risk of impact to your joints. You maximize your muscular skeletal development. It’s portable. You can do it in your own bedroom.”
Wikipedia says BOSU is an acronym that stands for BOth Sides Up, because using either the inflated rubber side or the platform to perform exercises allows you to choose the amount of instability you want to add to your workout. Rocco said a BOSU will bring out the worst in you because, as you exercise with it, you will know where you are weak.
BOSU balls run from $74.95 to $194 on www.amazon.com and, according to Rocco, are very sturdy.
“I hold my kids’ hands and let them bounce on it. It’s very stable. You would have to take something sharp to it to ruin it. There are so many things you can do with it,” she said.
Rocco recommends doing a few of the following exercises on the BOSU each day. Rather than complete a set number of repetitions, she recommends doing each exercise as many times as you can, with good form and then increasing that amount by 10 percent each week.
“Go to failure, or until you are not using good form or it hurts — not a muscle burn but a sharp pain. You need a personal trainer or a mirror to check your form. It may be a good idea to get a trainer one time a month,” she said.
• Pliometric squat — With the rubber side up, put your right foot on the BOSU and your left foot on the floor. Drop into a squat by pushing your rear back. Then jump up and over the BOSU landing on the other side with the left foot on the BOSU and the right foot on the floor. Be sure to land with control, keeping your weight in the heels. Repeat as many times as you can with good form.
Targets: Lower body
• Superman — Put your stomach on the rubber part of the BOSU. Raise the right arm and left leg as high as you can and then switch to the left arm and right leg, keeping the arms and legs straight and squeezing through the lower back. Repeat as many times as you can with good form.
• Pushups — Place the BOSU on the floor rubber side down for more intensity or rubber side up for less intensity. Put your hands on the BOSU shoulder width apart and your feet on the floor. Hold yourself up off the ground and then bend the elbows into a pushup. Return to starting position, keeping a straight body as you lower and lift. Be sure you do not sink through the shoulders or dip the chin. Repeat as many times as you can with good form. You can also do the pushups with your knees on the floor for less intensity.
Targets: Chest, shoulders, core
• Stand on BOSU — Stand on the rubber side of the BOSU to challenge your core strength. Once you master standing, add a squat by sitting back no deeper than a 90-degree bend in the knee. Keep the body tall and the heels down. To add still more difficulty, you can squat on one leg by lifting the other leg to the side, front or back. When doing a one leg squat, keep your arms out for balance and focus on something that doesn’t move. Repeat as many squats as you can with good form and switch sides if using one leg.
Targets: Core, lower body
• Sit on BOSU — Sit on the BOSU with both feet on the ground. Lean back until you feel the abs contract and then return to starting position. To add more intensity, raise one or both legs while performing the exercise. Repeat as many times as you can with good form.