BOSU® Balance Workouts to Balance Out Your Training Program
In the past you may have asked questions like:
What type of exercises should I do? For how long? With what weight? On what days? Cardio?
Strength? Am I doing too much? Too little? What types of food should I be eating? How much? What should I stay away from?
Ahh the questions could go on and on.
The answer for most questions….really for life itself = BALANCE!
While we can’t solve all of life’s problems and answer all of life’s questions today, we can address how to incorporate balance into your workout routines. One less thing to have to think about, research, and consume your precious time!
You see, many of us do have relatively decent balance in our workout routines. We do the recommended 150 minutes or more of aerobic activity a week with strength training 2 or more days for all major muscle groups. We stretch or incorporate a yoga class weekly, and add a few minutes of meditation daily.
But have we forgotten about balance? More importantly do we understand how important balance is for quality of life, functional movement, and any skilled movement?
First we must think of balance beyond the common definition and description of simply being able to stand for a period of time on one foot. Balance is being able to control the body during dynamic movement and static postures. To be able to move smoothly, safely, efficiently, and with great power, it starts with this foundation.
For example, with the foundation of balance we are able to react quickly in any situation. When we step out of our car onto ice we want to be able to brace ourselves so we don’t fall. We want to ride a bike confidently, safely, and maneuver rapidly if need be. Or, simply be able to distribute our weight on to one leg so that we can lift the other leg to climb a ladder or step.
Skilled movements require balance at an even higher level. Try a side to side lateral movement like a ski jump with no balance, and we would be collapsing to the floor each time. Coordination, reactivity, agility, and gait begins with the principle of balance.
Balance – if we don’t use it, we lose it. If we don’t work on it, we never gain it.
Now that we understand “why” balance is so important, we must also understand that it is imperative to challenge ourselves to make improvements. Just like other components of fitness, we need to be pushed to a degree of difficulty to make a permanent change. Embrace the fact that while you are doing these exercises you will not be motionless. Shaking and wobbling is okay if not ideal! Resist the urge to simply step out of an exercise or place a hand down when things get a little unsteady. Fight to improve that imbalance!
The great thing about using a BOSU® Balance Trainer is that just about every exercise is challenging your balance in some way or another. This is an essential piece of equipment for any home gym, personal training studio, sports performance training facility, or group exercise class. It requires us to be thoughtful and mindful of each movement.
Balance can easily be incorporated into your warm-up, cardio, strength, core and mobility workout segments. Experiment with these drills!
Warm-up: Biased Standing Leg Series
Begin standing with one foot on the dome. Press into the dome while lifting the free leg forward, back, crossing over the midline of the body in front, crossing over the midline of the body in back. Step down to the floor to center the body between each lift. Repeat for 30 – 60 seconds on each side.
Cardio: Sumo Squat Jump + Side Taps
This drill combines two of my favorite exercises on the BOSU® Balance Trainer. Perform this combo in a progressive format: Complete one sumo squat followed by one set of side taps from the dome (one set = one tap each side). Follow this with 2 sumo squat jumps and 2 sets of side taps. 3, 4, 5….10.
Strength: Biased Lunge + Squat Pulses
Place one foot on the dome. Lunge, clapping hands under the front leg. Straighten the legs and clap overhead. Step to the top of the dome, balance, then squat pulse 2x. Repeat for 30 – 60 seconds on each side.
Core: Dead Bug on Platform
Begin seated on the platform side of the BOSU® Balance Trainer. Lean back placing the torso on the platform, hands on the floor, and finding your center of gravity. Lift the arms, positioning them over the shoulders. Bring both legs to a ninety degree angle and position the knees over hips. Hold and balance for 30 – 60 seconds.
While balance is required to keep ourselves upright, it also important for our mobility. Mobility is the potential to move freely without restrictions through full range of motion. Mobility exercises such as walking hip openers, ankle dorsiflexion, and plantar flexion are nearly impossible to complete at a skilled level without balance. Challenge your mobility with this balance exercise.
Mobility: Reverse Lunge Balance + Lateral Lunge
Begin standing in front of the dome. Step back with one leg to a kneeling balance on the dome, lifting the arms overhead (track your hands with your eyes for an added balance challenge). Step forward, balance, then step out to a lateral lunge. Repeat for 30 – 60 seconds on each side.
Becky Ingebrigtsenhas a degree in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Wisconsin, and is the owner of A & B Fitness Concepts fitness studio. She is a college instructor, blogger and BOSU® Master Trainer.
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