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BOSU® Body Weight Training for Total Body Fitness

Lifting heavy barbells and dumbbells is a traditional and effective way to achieve your strength training goals, but even when your resistance “equipment” is simply your own body weight you can still target muscles effectively. Progress exercises over time as you get stronger and you will see results! Here are some compelling reasons to add bodyweight training to your fitness routine:

  • Unlike traditional weight training exercises, bodyweight exercises often require the use of additional stabilizing muscles, which is a big bonus. My favorite, the push-up, is a great example. Consider it a “flipped over” bodyweight bench press. The bench press effectively targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps, however, when executing a push-up, the core and quadriceps muscles must also contract isometrically to help maintain proper alignment through the spine and hips.
  • Bodyweight exercises are easily modified or progressed. Simply adjust the range of motion, use a narrower or wider base of support, or change the volume of work completed to adequately overload the muscles, based on your goals and fitness level.
  • Bodyweight training often involves compound exercises which require various muscles to work together in a coordinated fashion, and they often mimic movements we use in activities of daily living. If moving with greater ease and improving performance is a goal, bodyweight training is an excellent option!
  • Bodyweight training is a convenient alternative to traditional gym workouts. When done right, it can help improve and maintain your overall fitness. Working out with minimal equipment is super convenient, and it can be done anywhere, even at home. 

If you are looking to incorporate just one training tool into your bodyweight fitness routine, I highly recommend adding the BOSU® Balance Trainer into the mix. Here’s why: 

The Balance Trainer allows for a more functional approach by adding additional stability challenges. When working on an unstable surface, more muscle groups are engaged to maintain balance, and additional effort is required to execute various exercises. If you are looking to “up the ante” and overcome training plateaus, give it a try.

Utilizing the Balance Trainer for bodyweight exercises provides a more comfortable surface for the hands, hips, and knees. If you have ever tried a prone hip extension or quadruped bird dog on a hard floor surface, you know what I’m talking about. Sub in the BOSU® Balance Trainer and you are all set! 

The height of the Balance Trainer also allows you to adjust body position easily. You can utilize it to create endless options for your favorite moves. If you have mastered a simple plank exercise, try it in a decline position. Place your toes on the dome and hands on the floor, and notice the increase in intensity. For a modified option, place both hands on the Balance Trainer to work in an incline position. If you are looking for a more creative push-up variation, try it in a biased position with one hand on the dome and one hand on the floor.  

Here is a total-body bodyweight circuit training routine that incorporates compound exercises. After a thorough warm up, do each of the following exercises for 1 minute, with minimal time to transition between exercises. Rest for two minutes, and repeat the circuit for 2 – 3 sets.

Decline Plank Knee Tuck- Pushup – Squat Thrust

Begin in plank position with toes on the Balance Trainer. Bring right (R) knee into chest, then left (L). Lower into a push-up and then return to plank position. Jump forward, bring feet outside of hands and stand. Lower hands to floor and jump back to plank position. 

Modification: Perform the push-up with knees on the floor

Alignment Tip: Brace core to stabilize spine when jumping to plank position

Kneeling Walk – Abduction

Start standing on the Balance Trainer dome. Lower R knee, then L knee to dome. Bring R foot to dome and stand, moving L foot to side of dome. Abduct L leg two times. Repeat other side.

Modification: Perform the kneeling walk without hip abduction

Alignment Tip: Keep knee over base-leg foot to avoid medial collapse

Stand to V-Sit – Bicycle – Knee Tuck

Begin standing in front of the Balance Trainer. Squat down to a seated position with hips slightly in front of the center of the dome. Lean back and lift legs so shins are parallel to floor with knees bent about 90 degrees. Extend L knee and then R knee in a “bicycle” motion, then bring both knees toward chest in a v-sit. Extend both knees for two repetitions. Bring feet to floor and stand. 

Modification: Perform the v-sit with feet on floor

Alignment Tip: Keep spine extended

Rear Lunge – Crossover Lunge – Biased Squat – Dome Squat

Start standing on the Balance Trainer dome. Step back with R leg, and lower into lunge position. Return R foot to dome. Step to a rear crossover lunge with R leg. Return R foot to dome. Step to side of dome with R leg and lower into a squat position. Return R foot to dome. Squat on top of the Balance Trainer. Repeat sequence, leading with L leg. 

Modification: Reduce range of motion

Alignment Tip: Maintain upright position when lunging


Melissa Weigelt, MS is a BOSU® Master Trainer and owner at Flow Fitness Training, where she develops and presents a variety of continuing education programs for fitness instructors.

Learn, train and engage with other fitness professionals at BOSU® Live Education courses. For information on our cutting edge content, taught by the best in the industry, click HERE.