8 Exercises for a Full-Body Bosu Workout

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you've never used a Bosu ball before, it may look a little strange at first—sort of like an exercise ball that's been cut in half, then mounted on a flat base. Maybe you've spotted them at the gym on your way to pick up the more familiar dumbbells and traditional stability balls. Odd appearance notwithstanding, Bosu balls are definitely worth exploring as an effective exercise tool.
 
"Bosu" stands for "both sides up" or "both sides utilized," which is a nod to the ball's double-sided design. Some exercises call for it to be placed with the ball side facing up, and for others the flat base is placed facing up. For those who struggle with using a traditional stability ball, the Bosu is a bit more manageable while still providing a balance and coordination challenge.
 
One of the biggest benefits of the Bosu it its versatility. You can use it in combination with free weights or barbells or use it alone when performing common exercises like lunges, push-ups, squats and stretches. However you decide to use the Bosu, its "wobbly" instability forces you to engage your muscles, making it a great way to get a full-body resistance workout.
 
Not sure where to start? Celebrity trainer and FORM Fitness gym owner Morit Summers provides some of her favorite Bosu exercises.

 

Bosu Ball Push-Ups

  • With the Bosu ball side down, place your palms on the flat surface in a plank position, legs extended behind you.
  • Lower your chest down and then push yourself back up while maintaining a strong core. Modify as needed by bringing your knees to the ground.
  • Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Benefits: Works the upper body (specifically chest and triceps) and core.

 
Bosu Ball Front/Back Lunge

  • With the Bosu flat side down, start in a split squat position, with one foot on the Bosu and one foot on the ground.
  • Step the foot that is on the Bosu forward into a front lunge.
  • Return the same foot back to the Bosu and repeat.
  • Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions on each side.
Benefits: Works all leg muscles, specifically the glutes.

 

Bosu Ball Burpee

  • With the Bosu ball side down, place your hands apart on either side of the Bosu and your feet just behind it. Jump your feet back into a plank position, while keeping your hands on the Bosu.  
  • From plank, jump back up into a squatted position, then lift the Bosu up above your head as you stand. To modify, keep the Bosu at waist height.
  • Bring the Bosu back down to the floor before jumping back into plank.
  • Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. 
Benefits: Works just about all of the major muscle groups.

 

Bosu Ball Up & Overs

  • With the Bosu flat side down, stand with one foot on top of the ball.  
  • Hop off that foot into the air and land on the Bosu on the opposite foot. This can be done quickly or slowly, keeping your hips back and most of the weight in your glutes.
  • Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. 
Benefits: Works the leg muscles while promoting speed and agility.

  

Plank Toe Taps

  • With the Bosu ball side down, place your feet on the flat surface of the Bosu and palms on the ground.
  • Alternating legs, lift and tap the floor with your foot, then return it to the Bosu.
  • Switch feet and tap with the other foot.
  • Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions per side. 
Benefits: Works muscles in the core, arms and legs.

 

Wide Kneeling (Inner Thigh Squeeze) Shoulder Press

  • With the flat side of the Bosu down, place your shins on the round part of the Bosu ball, keeping them wide enough so that you have to squeeze your legs together to stay on.
  • You should feel your inner thighs working hard; you can adjust the width of your legs to make this easier or harder.
  • Do a shoulder press holding weights at your shoulders, pressing them straight up in the air and bringing them back down.
  • Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions per side. 
Benefits: Works the adductor muscles (inner thighs), and the hamstrings and glutes, in addition to shoulder muscles.

 

Bosu Ball Crunches

  • Lay with the round part of the Bosu ball on the small of your lower back.  
  • Place your hands behind your head. Bend one leg with your foot on the floor and stick the other leg straight out in front of you.
  • Crunch in, pulling your ribs down into your belly while pulling the straight leg into your chest.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions per side. 
Benefits: Works the core muscles.


Toe Taps

  • With the Bosu flat side down, place your hands on the ground in front of you.
  • Pull your knees up toward your chest one side at a time, while tapping the ball with alternating feet.
  • Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Benefits: Works leg muscles and hip flexors, while promoting speed and agility.


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Comments

PATSYGO 1/16/2019
Recently purchased a BOSU ball to help with balance & strength training. Haven't found too many recent videos out in the market place so thanks for this intro. Would have been nice to have had the exercises "animated" since visuals work better for this reader. :) Report
KATHYJO56 1/16/2019
I have used a BOSU ball, only with different exercises than these. This is an expensive and versatile piece of exercise equipment. Report
MNABOY 1/15/2019
I have never used a BOSU, but I would definitely like to try one Report
KHALIA2 12/19/2018
Excellent article! Report
KHALIA2
I have used it before. Report
Helpful information Report
I was introduced to the BOSU ball during physical therapy and loved it. I put it on my Christmas list and hubby bought it for me. I use it every day. Report
KHALIA2
I like to use it when I am stretching! Report
Will have to look in the thrift stores or garage sales to see if I can get one that is in good shape and not so expensive too. Report
The BOSU is a versatile piece of equipment. It provides outstanding body weight, CORE, and balance work. I love mine. Report
If cost is a factor, don't forget to check thrift stores or PlayItAgain sports, esp. a month or two after New Year's when resolutions go out the window. I've found bargain exercise equipment that way. :-)
Report
Thanks for the explanation and exercises, I would like to try a BOSU. Report
I love bosu! Report
The trainers at my gym use the BOSU a lot and I've included the push-ups in my work-outs. Have to admit they are not my favorite thing because they are really hard, but then I guess that's a good thing. Report
I'm 61 so I certainly need to work on BALANCE and I've used one at the gym. Thanks for the exercises. Report
KAM1953
Looks interesting, but cost would keep me from using it at home and I don't belong to a gym. Report
I've used the Bosu at the Y and loved it.It's a great workout! Report
Have never used a BOSU - not sure if I would add it to my home gym though it sounds good Report
4DAVEYS
I have used this many times at the gym and it is quite a challenging workout! Great for push-ups and core work. Report
MIEZEKATZE
Yup, I've used it! But like others, I don't own one, just use the ones at the gym. I think it's too expensive for what it is. Report
WINEDINETRAVEL
Yes, I have used it, and it is tough! Report
"For just around $100..." When I have an extra $100 lying around, I'll think about it. Report
I have never used a BOSU, but I would definitely like to try one. It looks like fun, and it would add variety to any exercise routine. Report
I've also used these in physical therapy. I think they're great and I'd like to have one, but they are expensive! Report
I have never tried a BOSU. I'll have to look into getting one. I have a home gym so we'll see.... Very interesting! Report
The BOSU is on my Christmas list! And, if I don't get it from Santa (husband), I'll go buy myself one. I love it! Great for hamstring activation exercises on the floor and of course the "wobbly" surfing when flipped over. Report
The BOSU told me right off that my core was weak! At my first training evaluation he had me on it for balance check. It as amazing the difference a year can make. I don't use it as much as I probably should - these are great ideas to give a try.
Thanks SP! Report
TWOOFTHREE
I've seen these in the gym but never thought you could flip it over and use it as a wobble board. KEWL! Report
-PAULA
I've used the BOSU before. It helped with my balance. I have considered adding it to my home workout. Report
I use the BOSU at the gym. It is a very good way to mix up your routine as well as add a challenge. It's also a great way to improve your balance and coordination. Report
I love the BOSU! I used to take a class at my gym but it moved to another time that wasn't as convenient for me. I'd like to work out with one again though. Report
First time I have ever heard of one. Report
The BOSU is a staple in our Fitness and Wellness Program here at work. I'm still quite shaky on it when we do exercises with one leg (either balancing or bending over, touching the bosu and coming back up with one leg bent). I was able to do some of the exercises mentioned above in a recent class (I felt it on my thighs the next day!). I really enjoy the variety and challenge this piece of equipment offers to a workout. Report
I would ultimately like to buy my own BOSU. I did work with one 2 years ago but didn't have a set program like what is available today. But first I am going to get a fit ball. I love using it instead of a bench for lifting weights. Report
My trainer, Dawn the Tormentor, has had me on a BOSU from time to time for the last three years. I worked out with her for two years before I started taking this whole journey seriously, and at first we just stood on it. Then I'd do step-ups on it. It scared me to death. I felt wobbly and out of balance.

Three years later, the last year of which has been on SparkPeople, seen much more exercise and a 150+-lb weight loss, I can get on the BOSU without fear. Today, Dawn the Tormentor (she knows and loves that I call her that!) put it in front of the pulley machine, and I was doing squats and raises on it. I'm doing better! It's still not my favorite piece of equipment, but I don't have to like it the best to know how helpful it can be. Report
WANDAC2013
I had to go for physical therapy earlier this year and one of the things I had to do was stand on one leg on the flat side of the BOSU.... I ended up with an amazing increase in balance which is great for walking on trails and uneven dirt paths which I do daily. I WANT a BOSU---recently found one for about $75 and am thinking of getting it for myself for Christmas! Report
I went to the gym tonight, nervous about all of the equipment that was new to me. I need to check out this site a bit more before I go tomorrow. ;) Report
i've had a bosu since 2003 but i rarely use it since there weren't many workout dvds when i bought it. i'm going to check amazon to see if there are any new ones because it did provide a decent workout but i got bored (i get bored with my workouts easily - need variety and a lot of it!) Report
I was instructed to use the BOSU when I tore my Achilles tendon last year...It made me realized very quickly how much my balance had deteriorated in the last few years. Just the one foot balancing was a challenge at first. I am going to check out some of the other exercises listed above to add to my core exercises.... Report
SUGARSMOM2
the key seems to be balance . something of which i am not to swift .out of balance in many ways . might be nice to have but am wondering if i might break my neck .or at best a leg . good luck to all who have one are buying one or want to buy one . Report
We were given an in-service on how to help autistic students. Many exercise "tools" were part of the in-service including a stability ball and other things. One "tool" was for standing and balancing on. It is supposed to help them think while studying their spelling words for example.

It's interesting how fitness gadgets can help children. I would use them with all children, not just autistic. Report
I have wanted a BOSU for at home for a REALLY long time! I have heard, however, that you have to be careful when purchasing one to make sure that you get the real thing and not a similar but off-brand copy. The off-brand ones are apparently prone to popping or separating from the base. Just what I have heard... Report
So glad you added this - I have a BOSU but use it inconsistently. It can make any exercise more challenging - try simply doing biceps curls standing on it, and you'll see! Anything that will get me to use it more is MUCH appreciated! Report
I broke my ankle back in March. My physical therapist recommended using a BOSU for strengthening and balance training to rehab the ankle. We have them at the gym. I love using it. Report
MRS_4EVER_AFTER
I love working with the Bosu! It really helps to work your muscles in a different way and help to train under worked groups like hip flexors and stabilizers in the ankles and knees! Great workout list!! Report