Many of you may be familiar with the Bosu which has becoming increasingly common as part of a gyms small apparatus for over ten years now. But how many of you actually include it as part of your regular work out program or know why you should? How many of you actually how to make the most of it?
It’s predessor, the ‘’wobble board’’, has been around since the 1970s 9and still is ) but was used mostly by athletes or physical therapists where it was often used for ankle or knee rehabilitation. The concept of stability training crossed over into mainstream training when athletes returning from rehab recognized the additional training benefits of working out on unstable surfaces. The Bosu in particular was invented in 1999.
Working with the Bosu doesn’t seem easy at first especially for beginners so why persevere? For athletes it is a great sports specific piece of equipment especially for those who ski, snowboard, wind surf and waterski amongst others. But for the rest of us the Bosu can improve our general balance which we lose as we get older and is great for increasing core strength. While placing the spine in the perfect to make crunches more efficient most Bosu work is also challenging the core throughout your entire exercise routine. The unstable surface also strengthen the knee and ankle joints.
When performing upper body exercises on an unstable surface such as the bosu the exercise becomes more challenging. You can’t ‘’cheat’’ with your technique such as swinging, leaning back or using momentum to move the weight through the air. This means you have to select a weight suitable for performing the exercise with perfect form. This results in the likelihood of less injury. In order for you to not fall off the Bosu the exercise must be performed more slowly meaning the muscle is under tension for longer and so it becomes more effective. The focus should always be on not counting how many repetitions you complete but the length of time the muscle is under tension. Working on an unstable base automatically slows you down.
When using the Bosu to squat and lunge (and there are many variations available and you can use more than one Bosu) you are also using more of the smaller leg muscles than when performing regular leg exercises on the floor.
The Bosu is also a great cardiovascular tool .It doesn’t take up much space both for storage and working out , is low cost and versatile. One can be used alone or in a group situation or in a gym which has several it can be fun to use two or more and provides many more challenging or interesting variations. The Bosu dome can be used in a similar way as an aerobic step and those who enjoy step classes or step intervals often enjoy using the Bosu in this way. The advantage over the step is a greater challenge for the core, leg muscles and the benefit of less impact for the knees.
Bosu cardiovascular workouts don’t have to resemble aerobic classes. At BBD we use the Bosu for challenging boot camp style drills and intervals. It is one of our most popular pieces of apparatus.