BOSU® Education vs. BOSU® Best Practice

By: Carrie Haines

I often walk into a club and watch trainers and instructors using the BOSU® Balance Trainer and wonder, “where are they getting their education?”. While most of the time I am impressed by the way they are incorporating the Balance Trainer into their programming, many times, I am baffled by what I see.

There are many ways to find information these days. With the use of search engines, social media, and sites like YouTube or Vimeo, we are able to access information whenever we want. Just search “BOSU” on YouTube or Vimeo and you will see hundreds of videos of the BOSU® Balance Trainer being used by a variety of fitness enthusiasts and in a million different ways. Some show entire workout routines, while others focus on a specific exercise or movement. It might seem that because there are so many easily accessible “resources” for fitness pros to tap into for BOSU® ideas that bypassing live workshop or training courses would be a smart choice? Well…as it turns out, that just isn’t true.

First, let’s discuss the risks associated with what you might find on YouTube or Vimeo. Unless the video was made and distributed as Official BOSU® Education, you really don’t know what you are getting. In other words, the exercises you might be seeing may or may not be recommended for use with the BOSU® Balance Trainer. Anyone who has attended an official BOSU® Certification course understands the intent and the benefits of using the Balance Trainer for functional balance training and, more importantly, how to make those critical exercises accessible by a wide variety of participants. When you watch a video of an untrained instructor demonstrating a BOSU® exercise they “made up”, you cannot assume the person understands the intent, the risk versus benefit, or ways to safely and effectively weave the drill into a progressive program. So, if you haven’t gone through proper training on how to integrate the tool into your programs, simply copying what you see online might make your workouts new and exciting, but potentially dangerous and unfulfilling!

This morning I watched a video of a trainer demonstrating a weight bearing exercise while standing on the flat side of the BOSU® platform. If you turn over your BOSU® Balance Trainer, you will see that it clearly reads, “Standing on platform not recommended.”  In fact, this is covered during BOSU® certification course and in all BOSU® workshops. The other concern I had was over the trainer’s suggestion to lift heavy weights while standing on the unstable surface. This honestly isn’t the point of integrated balance work and could lead to injury. Ultimately, when the risks outweigh the benefits of an exercise, both safety and effectiveness are compromised.

There are several official BOSU® videos available online. These are videos led by BOSU® Master Trainers and members of the Development Team, and demonstrate the proper use of the Balance Trainer in both group fitness and personal training applications. Unless the video has the official BOSU® logo on it or says it was produced by BOSU®, you should carefully consider the credibility.  Period. To be safe, if you must rely on virtual resources, use the BOSU® YouTube or Vimeo channel and learn as much as you can about our suggestions about safety and effectiveness.  

Of course there are advantages to learning and researching online. To top the list, it’s convenient. We all have busy lives and obligations making it hard to attend a live workshop, certification course, or conference in person.  And, from time to time, we all get desperate to find something new and exciting to bring into class. Sure, it’s easy to simply Google “BOSU® Exercises”, then grab and go!  But, what’s the downside to just using as is?  Hopefully, you take the time to practice the exercise and think (critically) about how you’ll incorporate it into your programming, come up with progressions and regressions, and decide if it makes the cut. If you take these steps, is it really that time efficient.

There are clearly advantages to attending workshops and certification courses in person. One might argue that they don’t have the 2 hours to attend a workshop or the 8 hours to attend a certification course, but you have to look at the big picture. After attending the foundational BOSU® Complete Workout System Certification, you will walk away with 5 full classes that you can simply re-deliver, and and you will learn a system to create additional classes and modify those classes for all levels. After attending a full certification course, instructors and trainers have the tools to create a class in record time without having to “google” anything. When I factor in the time saved month after month, week after week, and day to day in planning my classes or training sessions, I see that the 8-hour day was well worth it! 

The primary advantage of attending any live workshop vs. watching a video online is to have the ability to ask questions of an industry leader or master trainer. You can’t ask a YouTube or Vimeo video clip a question or have the instructor in the video watch how you perform or teach an exercise. Additionally, you don’t see how other people in the room are able to handle the exercise being taught. In a live workshop, the interaction with other fitness professionals is a vital part of the learning experience. Finally, there is science. Oh yes, I wasn’t going to end this blog without mentioning my favorite thing. Most videos are short and don’t give complete information. Being a “certified” trainer means that you understand the science behind the movement. Learning and understanding the exercise physiology behind balance training is absolutely critical to your success in leading workouts that use the BOSU® Balance Trainer.

The BOSU® Education Team is committed to your success as a fitness professional. In 2016, the BOSU® Compete Workout System 8-Hour Certification Course is being offered as a pre-conference course at many conferences and in host clubs across North America. If you are interested in finding a certification course or workshop near you CLICK HERE or if you are interested in hosting BOSU® Education courses at your club or studio, CLICK HERE. And you can always connect with us at www.BOSU.com.


Carrie Haines is a National Master Trainer for BOSU®, Tabata Bootcamp™, and Barre Above™.  Carrie is a contributing writer for GX United and an IDEA Fitness Expert and Presenter.

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