BOSU ball training is a fairly new device that is used throughout the athletic performance, rehabilitation and everyday personal training setting. BOSU, which stands for “both sides up”, is a product that can be used in two different ways, where both sides serve as equally important factors no matter who you are working with. The need for this product is very essential because it allows personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and physical therapists/trainers to incorporate effective innovative training ideas that really make a difference. The use of the BOSU ball serves multi purposes that increase athletic performance, promote rehabilitation, as well as improve activities of daily living through the use of stability, mobility, balance, coordination, and plyometrics, while increasing core strength. All of these previously mentioned fitness and athletic components are crucial for every walk of life, although some more than others pertain to increased athletic performance.
Increased stability is something that both athletes and non-athletes could all benefit from. Stability usually deals with maintaining certain positions, more non-movement functions. There are many types of stability ranging from ankle to core as well as shoulder stability. There are numerous exercises that the BOSU ball could be used for to improve stabilizer muscles. For ankle stabilization, simply standing on the rounded part of the ball and performing a bicep curl will increase the stability of the ankle, which will decrease the likeliness of injury. The bicep curl is just an added bonus. Core stabilization can be achieved by simply flipping the ball over so that you are standing on the flat part and the rounded part is on the ground. Using this side you could also perform the bicep curl.
Mobility is similar to stability but the major difference portrays its use in various planes of motion and is more movement oriented while also being more of an active range of motion. An exercise that would increase mobility would be to do lateral lunges across the top domed part of the ball.
Balance and coordination are key components of everyday life and are extremely crucial for those who want to excel in athletics as well as improve activities of daily living. Balance is defined as the maintenance of a position without moving for a given period of time. To improve balance and coordination, try standing on one leg, on either the rounded or flat portion of the ball. For more advanced movements, try adding a shoulder press in conjunction with the single leg balance.
Another advantage of the BOSU ball is that it can be used to perform plyometrics. Plyometrics are typically used as a training tool for athletes who need to develop more quick, explosive and powerful muscles. Plyometric exercises refer to those activities that enable a muscle to reach maximal force in the shortest possible time. The stretch shortening cycle is what is actually used in plyometric exercises. Here are some examples of upper body and lower body plyometric exercises. For upper body, position the ball so that the rounded part is up and kneel down keeping the body in an upright position approximately two feet behind the ball. The distance from the ball that the athlete kneels may vary depending on their height. Place the hands on the chest with the palms facing away from the body and toward the ball. Slowly fall so that your chest hits the rounded part of the ball. As soon as your hands, which should be on your chest, hit the ball, immediately perform a push up as quick and powerful as possible. A lower body plyometric exercise that can be done begins by positioning the ball so that once again the rounded part is facing up. The athlete walks up to the ball jumps on it with both feet, immediately then jumps off as high as possible and as soon as they hit the ground, once again jumps as high as possible.
The core area is thought of as the region of the body from the bottom of the chest to middle of the pelvic region, excluding the upper and lower extremities. Once again, the BOSU ball serves as an important tool for helping to increase core strength. The BOSU ball is a great core-training tool for anyone. Some examples of core exercises on the ball are sit-ups with the middle of the back resting on the ball; this is very basic. As you perform these try to imagine taking your chin to the ceiling. Core progression can get as advanced or as basic as you want. Back extensions, which will also help to strengthen the core area, are performed by lying face down with the stomach on the rounded side of the ball and extending both the hands and feet straight out; be careful not to hyperextend the back to much. This can be done simultaneously by alternating between hands or feet. You pick the combination that works best for you or the person you are working with. In addition, just doing exercises in general on the ball will help to engage the muscles of the core. The exercises I have described above are just a small portion of the things that can be done to increase performance.
The BOSU ball is an extremely great tool for building everything from balance and stability to overall muscular strength. The things you can do with it are limitless. The BOSU ball was built to create stability with instability. Meaning the ball is not a stable environment so when you perform exercises with it you increase proprioceptive awareness and kinesthetic awareness while also becoming more stable in the activities you do. Every different exercise that you do with the BOSU ball helps your body in some way be it balance, coordination, mobility, stretch reflex cycle (plyometrics), etc…The BOSU ball is made for us all from the elite athlete to the stay at home mom. No matter the lifestyle we can all incorporate the use of it into our gyms and fitness programs.