By Celia Learmonth
You may have met one of these in the floor/ ‘Core’/ Stretch section of your gym when you’ve sat down at the end of your session, dripping with sweat and thinking you’ll put the cherry on the top of your workout with a little abs finisher, or perhaps you’ve met one of these odd – looking BOSU balls at a physiotherapist’s office or in a massage therapist’s treatment room. Just to remind you in case the name fails to conjure up the image; the BOSU ball looks like half of an inflated Swiss ball attached to a rigid platform. But what IS the BOSU Ball?
BOSU is an acronym for “BOth Sides Up/Utilised” – a reflection of the two ways The BOSU can be used to train with: Either Ball side down, or on its flat surface with the ball domed upwards and outwards, and is often used for balance-based training or Unstable Surface Training (UST).
When the dome faces upwards, the BOSU Ball provides an unstable surface while the device itself remains stable, but with the Dome side down and the flat surface up, the BOSU rocks or wobbles whichever way she likes, making it highly unstable, so makes any sort of exercise significantly more taxing on all muscle groups, especially the Rectus Abdominis, which is the deepest layer of your Abdominal muscles.
UST (Unstable Surface Training) was originally created for the purpose of rehabilitation, particularly addressing ankle weaknesses that were cropping up across many different athletic disciplines, which is why you may have seen Swiss Balls and BOSU’s or wobbleboards if you’ve ever been to a physiotherapist. UST improves sensory function and stimulates more effective muscle fiber recruitment to overcome the obstacle that is the instability. It is a good tool to use to promote balance, but not increase strength directly. The instability can stimulate antagonist muscles to fire up more effectively as the agonists are struggling to work the way they normally do. So in one sense it sounds counter productive, but the thing to focus on is that you’re giving the weaker, unused muscles a chance to rise up to the stronger muscles’ level, develop them, and then when you go to one of your normal exercise routines, those weaker muscles will now use that muscle memory and now have the strength to contribute to other exercises, and then you can work on strength as you have the ability to recruit and train more muscles mass.
So here are two different workouts I suggest to use the BOSU in two different ways: one HIIT circuit and one Core/ Abs Circuit
- 3 Exercises| 3 rounds |45 seconds of work | 15 seconds of rest = 9 minute HIIT
- BOSU Step Overs
- BOSU Burpees (optional PLYO Press Up)
- BOSU Mountain Climbers
BOSU ABS CIRCUIT:
-3 Exercises | Slow & Controlled |repeated 3 times round |1-2 minute rest between Rounds
- BOSU Plank Elbow Dips (30s-45s) (Easier: BOSU Dome Side Up | Harder: BOSU Dome Side Down)
-BOSU Dish to Boat / Dish to V Sit | Inhale to lengthen, exhale to lift knees to chest and reach forward to the ankles
-BOSU Can Can Kicks (10-12 Each Side) Inhale to lengthen leg away, exhale to draw the knee/ leg up to the side of the BOSU