Resistance training is no longer limited to weights and machines.
Training involving balls, unstable platforms, and other devices to create an unbalanced environment has become increasingly popular in training settings. A bosu ball, which is short for “both sides up,” is an excellent tool to incorporate into one’s workout. If implemented correctly, they can improve balance, focus, and overall strength. Additionally, bosu balls are easy to store, transport, and find in most fitness facilities.
Benefits of Bosu Balls:
Using either side of the bosu during traditional strength, cardio, and core exercises creates an unstable surface for a more challenging variation. Similarly, implementing the use of a bosu ball to training routines has profound positive effects on posture. Additionally, it improves balance and greatly reduces the risk of falling. By training on an unstable surface, more stabilizing muscles are recruited to keep you balanced, therefore increasing strength and burning more calories.
Furthermore, research on the role of instability in resistance training has revealed that the increased stress put on the musculoskeletal system due to the effort to remain balanced has been postulated to promote greater neuromuscular adaptations. This includes decreased contractions, improved coordination, and confidence in performing a skill. In other words, the brain has to adapt to the environment and muscles must react accordingly, resulting in greater efficiency and control. Increased muscular activation resulting from the challenge to maintain balance places less stress on joints which is then beneficial for general musculoskeletal health and rehabilitation.
Balance training can be just as important for professional athletes in sports settings like surfing and skiing as it is for the average person. Likewise, as the human body ages, our ability to move efficiently and safely diminishes as a result of decreased muscle mass and bone mineral density. Balance training for older adults is then especially important in preventing falls and injuries.
Get creative with your workouts! Try implementing the bosu to the following exercises for an added challenge:
- Mountain climber
- Toe taps
- Bosu burpee
- Superman hold
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Behm, David G; Anderson, Kenneth G. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; Champaign20.3 (Aug 2006): 716-22.