13 Bosu Ball Exercises to Add Bounce to Your Routine

Woman balancing on a Bosu ball.

Getty/Design by Cristina Cianci

The name Bosu Ball is a little misleading. That's because, despite the word 'ball,' a Bosu is actually half a ball. It's a piece of exercise equipment that looks like a half-sphere attached to a flat base, and it's also known as a Bosu balance trainer. The half ball is inflated, and the base is firm. A Bosu is a useful piece of equipment because of its varied functions: it can help you improve your balance, work small muscles, and increase coordination. You can use it for stretching, weight training, rehabbing, and strength exercises. And you can use it with the base down as a stable platform topped by an unstable semi-dome or with the ball side down as a stable platform with an unstable half ball underneath it. Either way, you will need a balancing act. The point of this piece of equipment is that it makes you work to stabilize yourself.

We wanted to know the full gamut of exercises that could be done on a Bosu ball so that if you have one, you're getting your money's worth out of it, and if you don't, you have every reason to try one out. To learn every possible Bosu ball exercise, we asked WeStrive App trainers Jessa Olson and Kyle Lance. These moves should be familiar to most people who exercise, with the main difference being that they're done with the ball instead of just on the floor.

Meet the Expert

  • Jessa Olson is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and group fitness instructor.
  • Kyle Lance is a certified trainer and Physical Fitness Specialist.

Safety and Precautions

Because the Bosu ball is an unstable surface designed to help you improve your stability, it's potentially unsafe for anyone with balance issues. Therefore, if you have any problems with balance or it's unsafe for you to potentially fall, you should avoid working out with a Bosu ball.

01 of 12

Plank Hold

  • Lay down on the floor in a prone position, and elevate yourself into a plank with the Bosu ball underneath your hands. Begin with an easier plank on your knees instead of your toes. Olson notes that you should stack "shoulders...over wrist, and hips over knees."
  • Hold this position for as long as you can, ideally 30 seconds. Then, release the position by lifting yourself back off of the ball.
02 of 12

Suitcases

  • Sit on your Bosu ball on the floor, with the round side facing up. Your arms should be behind you, with your knees bent and your feet on the ground in front of you.
  • Lean back towards the floor by extending your knees and hips.
  • Bring your chest back inward toward your legs, returning to your starting position. Repeat.
  • If this is too complex, Lance suggests that you can "limit the range of motion or keep your feet on the ground" to make it easier.
03 of 12

Squats

  • Begin with the Bosu ball on the ground flat side down and place your feet on it.
  • Lower yourself into a squat. Olson warns that "for beginners, I would recommend holding on to something or someone while you go into a squat position. This is more advanced; if you don’t have perfect squat form, I would work on that first."
04 of 12

Burpees

  • Stand and hold the Bosu ball in your hands, with the round side facing you and the half-sphere side facing away.
  • Jump or step down into a plank position as you would normally do for a burpee. The ball will be underneath you, so execute this cautiously the first time.
  • Jump or step back up with your feet on the outside of the ball.
  • Lift yourself from a forward fold to standing. Olson says, "if you want a challenge, jump at the end."
05 of 12

Lunges

  • Stand with one foot on the Bosu ball, round side up. Your other leg should be behind you indirectly; Olson suggests thinking of your leg placements as railroad tracks.
  • Lunge down and stop before your back knee touches the floor.
  • Push yourself back up using your legs, and repeat.
  • Olson says to flip the ball over and place your foot on the flat platform side if you want a more advanced version.
06 of 12

Split Squats

  • Place the Bosu ball behind you, with the rounded side up, and put one of your legs on it. Lance says to "be sure to keep your pelvis parallel with both hips in alignment facing forward."
  • Slowly lower your back knee towards the floor as your front leg bends at the knee. Next, lower yourself until each has a ninety-degree bend. Lance tells us to "keep your front heel on the ground" and "drive it through the floor."
  • Lift yourself back up through your legs to return to your starting position, and repeat.

Lance suggests holding dumbbells to make this exercise more difficult. To make it easier, reduce your range of motion.

07 of 12

Push Ups

  • Lay in a prone position on the floor, with your chest and hands on the Bosu ball. The ball should be with the flat side up, and your hands should be shoulder-width apart. You should straighten your toes underneath you in a plank position.
  • Push your body upwards through your arms, ending with your arms nearly straight but not locked. Pause if possible.
  • Lower yourself back down to your starting position and repeat.

This exercise isn't safe for everyone. If you have a wrist, shoulder, or elbow injury, Olson recommends avoiding Bosu ball push-ups.

08 of 12

Supermen

  • Lay face down on the floor in a prone position, with the Bosu ball round side up underneath your chest.
  • Lift your arms and legs off the ground. Pause for a moment, then return to your starting position and repeat. Olson instructs us to exhale through the lift and inhale while lowering down.
09 of 12

Back Extensions

  • Lay face down on the floor in a prone position, with the Bosu ball round side up underneath your chest.
  • Lift your arms off the ground. Pause for a moment, then return to your starting position and repeat. Similar to Superman, you should exhale through the lift and inhale while lowering back down.
10 of 12

Glute Bridges

  • Lay on your back with your arms at your sides and your knees bent. Place the Bosu ball underneath your feet, with the round side up.
  • Push down into your heels as you lift your glutes off the floor, stopping when you come into a full bridge position. Pause at the top for a moment. Olson says to take one foot off of the ball and only keep one on it if this is too difficult.
  • Lower your glutes back to your starting position and repeat. Lance notes that the move "can be made more difficult by adding a pulse at the top or a longer duration hold."
11 of 12

Mountain Climbers

  • Place yourself in a push-up position, prone on the floor with a Bosu ball underneath you. The ball should be with the flat side up, and you should put one hand on each side of it.
  • While contracting your core, push one knee up towards your chest. Move it back to your starting position and push the other knee to your chest. Move it back and continue alternating legs. Olson tells us to be sure to keep your shoulders down from your ears in a relaxed position and your back flat, not rounded.
12 of 12

Crunches

  • Lay back in a standard crunch position, with your hands behind your ears and the Bosu ball placed on the floor behind you. Your back should be up against it.
  • Crunch your upper body forward, keeping your hands at the sides of your head and not letting your elbows move inward.
  • Return to your starting position and repeat.

This exercise can be made more advanced by turning it into an oblique crunch. To do that, you'll begin from a side plank position with the ball under your hip and crunch forward to bring your top knee and top elbow together.

Whether you like doing crunches, push-ups, squats, or lunges, you can do them anew with a Bosu ball. By using the ball to destabilize you, you'll be forced to work additional, different muscles beyond the ones you're used to using for these exercises. If you have any balance issues, you should avoid the Bosu ball, but provided you're clear of that problem, the Bosu ball will put as much bounce in your routine as you can work through.

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