Looking to improve your balance, core strength, and stability? A Bosu balance trainer may be the perfect tool to take your training to the next level. This unique piece of equipment has helped countless individuals improve their athletic performance, recover from injuries, and simply move better.
In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about Bosu balance trainers, including how they work, their benefits, and how to use them properly. We’ll also provide tips for choosing the best Bosu balance board for your needs and budget. Let’s dive in!
What is a Bosu Balance Trainer?
Bosu stands for “both sides up” – and that’s exactly what a Bosu balance board is. This half-sphere balance board has one rigid platform on one side and an inflated rubber hemisphere on the other. This unique design allows you to train with either side facing up or down.
Bosu balance boards were invented in 1999 by fitness instructor David Weck. Originally created as a tool for elite athletes, Bosus has become hugely popular in gyms, rehab clinics, and home training spaces. Their versatility and challenge make them a staple for all levels of fitness.
Benefits of Doing Bosu Balance Exercises:
Strengthens the core – Balancing on a Bosu requires constant micro-adjustments through your hips, torso, and midsection. This dynamic movement challenges those small stabilizer muscles for serious core gains.
Enhances proprioception – Proprioception is your body’s sense of space, motion and orientation. Balancing on unstable surfaces sharpens this awareness.
Improves balance and stability – Maintaining balance on a Bosu recruits your core and entire neuromuscular system. With regular practice, you’ll gain better balance, stability, and coordination.
Increases athletic performance – Dynamic balancing boosts strength, power, and agility – key components of athleticism. That’s why athletes use Bosus for sport-specific training.
Aids injury prevention and rehab – Better balance and proprioception help prevent ankle sprains, knee injuries, and back pain. Bosus gently re-introduces unstable training post-injury.
Burns calories – Constantly stabilizing yourself during Bosu exercises burns more calories than regular stationary training.
How to Use a Bosu Balance Trainer?
One of the great things about the Bosu is how many exercise options it provides. You can use it for cardio, strength training, flexibility, balance exercises, sports conditioning the list goes on!
Here are some of the most common and effective ways to stay fit with Bosu:
- The most basic way to use a Bosu is for balance training. Start by placing the rigid side down and standing on top of the inflated rubber dome. Focus on finding your center, engaging your core, and maintaining stability.
- Try standing on one leg, closing your eyes, or moving your arms overhead. For an extra challenge, toss a ball back and forth with a partner while balancing.
- You can also flip the Bosu over and balance on the platform side. Start with two feet, then progress to one. Balancing on the rigid side increases difficulty dramatically, really working your stabilizer muscles.
Add resistance by performing bodyweight or weighted exercises while balancing on the Bosu. Squats, lunges, push-ups, overhead presses, and planks are all challenging options.
For advanced strength training, try lifting on the Bosu with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells. You’ll be amazed at how much harder overhead presses, squats, and deadlifts become!
Just be sure to start light, with low weight and high reps, until you get comfortable balancing under load. Maintaining good form is crucial.
Crank up the cardio by adding jumping, hopping, and shuffling movements to your Bosu routine. Think plyometric exercises like squat jumps, skaters, and tuck jumps.
The instability of the Bosu forces you to engage your core and stabilizer muscles even more. Short cardio bursts on the Bosu are intense! You can also flip the Bosu over and use the rigid side for cardio. Try sprinting, mountain climbers, burpees, and other high-intensity exercises.
Work on mobility and flexibility by flowing through yoga poses and stretches while balancing on the Bosu. Tree pose, warrior III, and lunges with a side bend open up the hips and challenge your stabilization.
The natural instability of being on the Bosu forces you to find strength in end ranges of motion. Just be sure to move slowly and maintain control.
Athletes from football players to surfers include Bosu training for sport-specific benefits. Train lateral movement by jumping side to side over the Bosu. Practice golf swings while balancing. Shoot baskets while standing on the board.
The possibilities are endless for mimicking real-life athletic scenarios that require balance, power, and coordination.
Mistakes to Avoid While Bosu Workout:
It’s easy for beginners to develop bad habits on the Bosu. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:
- Rounding the back – This compresses the spine and puts strain on the lower back. Maintain a neutral spine.
- Locking knees – Locked knees put more stress on your joints. Maintain a soft knee to absorb the instability.
- Moving too quickly – Fast, jerky motions will throw off your balance fast. Slow down and be in control.
- Holding breath – Don’t hold your breath! Exhale as you work through the tough part of the movement.
- Gripping muscles – Stay relaxed in your shoulders and neck. Don’t grip muscles to “hold on”.
- Insufficient core activation – Really focus on bracing your core properly throughout each exercise.
- Poor alignment – Head, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should be stacked as much as possible for optimal alignment.
With mindful practice and by avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll progress safely and effectively with your Bosu training.
Choosing the Best Bosu Balance Trainer:
If you’re ready to add a Bosu trainer to your home gym or training program, you’ll need to choose the right model. Here are the key factors to consider:
- Original Bosu Trainer – This is the standard model, with a moulded plastic platform and inflated rubber dome. It’s durable, versatile, and provides a moderate challenge.
- Bosu Sport – Designed for more intense training, the Bosu Sport features a softer dome and grippy cover for the platform. This allows for faster transitions and more stable landings from jumps.
- Bosu Pro Balance Trainer – The top-of-the-line Bosu Pro Balance Trainer has a rigid platform made of wood, providing zero bounce or flex. This makes it the most challenging for advanced balancing skills.
- Best Bosu Ball – The best Bosu ball is the one that meets your needs the most. Most experts agree that the Bosu Balance Board is the perfect Bosu ball. It’s versatile and cheap, but it uses quality materials that support up to 250 pounds.
- Bosu Navigator – This specialized model has a center cut-out filled with liquid, agitating the liquid when you move. Very unstable! Helpful for severe proprioceptive deficits.
- Mini Bosu – As the name implies, this is a smaller Bosu, best suited for kids and individuals under 100 lbs. Provides the same balancing benefits in a more portable size.
- New Balance Cross Trainer – For a true cardio-focus, the New Balance Cross Trainer aims to take the heart rate to max level. The adjustable platform on this New Balance trainer allows for low-impact movements like walking in place. Besides you can try the new-balance men’s fuelcell rebel.
- Bosu Ballast Ball Kit – Add ballast balls to your Bosu for extra weight, increasing the intensity for strength training and cardio.
- Half Ball Balance Trainer – Bosu created the original half ball balance trainer with its innovative dome-shape, inflated platform. This half-dome sits atop a rigid plastic base to create an unstable surface. The unique half-ball construction forces users to engage stabilizer muscles as they perform bodyweight exercises.
- Bosu Nexgen Balance Trainer – Bosu recently updated their classic trainer with the new Nexgen model. This Bosu Nexgen Balance Trainer version retains the signature half-ball base but with some key upgrades. New non-slip rubber on the platform provides extra traction during vigorous workouts.
- New Balance Training Shoes – The New Balance Trainer brand first made its name in athletic footwear. So, it stands to reason that New Balance Training Shoes offers a variety of training shoes designed for different types of workouts.
When choosing the right Bosu balance board for you, consider your fitness level, training goals, and budget. Pro models provide the ultimate challenge but come with a higher price tag. Start with an original Bosu to master the basics before upgrading to more advanced equipment.
Top Reviews and Recommendations:
Here are my top picks for Bosu boards to fit a range of needs and budgets:
- Best Overall: Bosu Balance Trainer
The original Bosu trainer remains a top choice for its quality, versatility and moderate challenge level. With durable construction and simple design, it provides an excellent balance trainer for most users.
- Best for Advanced Users: Bosu Pro Balance Trainer
With a rigid wooden platform, the Bosu Pro doesn’t flex or bounce, requiring more skill to balance. Built to withstand intense training, it’s ideal for elite athletes and advanced balance programs.
- Best for Rehab: Bosu Navigator
The liquid-filled instability of the Bosu Navigator makes it perfect for rehab and proprioceptive training post-injury. Its extreme wobbliness retrains neuromuscular control.
- Best for Kids: Mini Bosu Balance Pods:
A smaller version perfect for little feet, the Mini Bosu provides the same awesome balance benefits in a more portable size for kids aged 3+.
- Best Value: Simply Fit Board
For a budget-friendly Bosu alternative, the Simply Fit Board offers a rigid side and an inflatable side for versatile balancing. A great value under $50.
No matter which model you choose, a Bosu balance trainer is one of the most fun, challenging, and effective tools for improving your balance, stability, and neuromuscular coordination. Adding this functional equipment to your home gym or training program will elevate your performance to new heights!