Whether you’re looking to amp up your home workout, or hope to pare down on the equipment you use while at the gym, you can easily perform a full-body fitness routine using nothing but a BOSU ball. BOSU balls – termed such because you can use “BOth Sides Up” – are essentially a half stability ball with a sturdy plastic platform on one side. The rounded side can be placed either on the ground or pointing upward, offering flexibility to the number and type of exercises performed using the equipment.
Check out these full-body moves you can do on a BOSU, and talk to a personal trainer or fitness instructor for even more ideas.
BOSU Ball Exercises
This full-body fitness routine requires balance and coordination in order to perform exercises on an unstable surface. Try these at home or at the gym for a fun new way to mix up your workout – and prepare to engage your core.
1. BOSU Lunge
The BOSU lunge works your entire lower body (glutes, hamstrings, quadruceps, and calves), all while challenging your balance and coordination.
- Place the BOSU ball on the ground with the plastic platform facing down.
- Stand two to three feet behind the ball. Then, step forward with your right foot and place your right foot securely on the center of the BOSU ball’s inflated dome.
- When you’ve gained your balance, bend both knees and lower your body into a lunge until both knees form 90-degree angles and your left knee comes close to touching the ground.
- Throughout this movement, keep your torso upright and tall, your hips facing forward.
- Reverse the movement and return to standing.
- Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times on one side before switching to the other side.
2. BOSU Lunge and Twist
To enhance your core strength while working your lower body, use the BOSU ball as a weight by holding it in your hands.
- Stand upright, gripping the BOSU ball directly in front of your body as you hold onto the BOSU’s handles with both hands. Your elbows should be bent and pulled in to your sides.
- Take a step forward with your right foot, about two to three feet. Plant your right foot flat on the ground, allowing your left heel to rise up off the ground.
- Keeping your torso tall, bend both knees, lowering your left knee toward the ground.
- As you lower yourself, twist your torso to the right as though you were trying to touch your left elbow to your right knee.
- Reverse the movement, twisting your torso back to center as you stand upright.
- Repeat 10 to 12 times on each side.
3. BOSU Pushup
Work your core as you also challenge your chest and triceps during this upper body exercise.
- Place the rounded side of the BOSU ball on the ground and kneel behind it.
- Place your hands palm-down on either side of the BOSU platform’s diameter and step your feet directly behind you, keeping your body straight. You should be in a standard pushup position.
- Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the BOSU’s platform.
- When your elbows form a 90-degree angle, reverse the movement and press yourself back to the pushup position.
- Repeat 8 to 12 times, rest, and perform two more sets.
4. BOSU Overhead Squat
Work your legs, core, and shoulders by using the BOSU ball as a weight during this squat exercise.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, the BOSU ball in your hands in front of your body.
- Gripping the BOSU’s handles, use both arms to press the BOSU directly over your head.
- From this position, tip your hips backward and squat down, dropping your butt back and between your knees, as though you’re sitting in a chair. Keep your arms extended overhead and your heels flat on the ground throughout this movement. Also, make sure you keep your knees in line with your toes as you perform the squat.
- From the bottom position of the squat, reverse the movement and return to standing.
- Perform 12 to 15 exercises, rest, and repeat two more times.
5. BOSU Split Squat
A split squat performed on a BOSU ball does wonders for your lower body. In addition to strengthening your hips, butt, and legs, it also challenges your core, targets each leg unilaterally, and works on the small muscles of your foot and ankle to enhance balance.
- Place the BOSU ball on the ground with the platform facing up. Stand to the right of the ball, so that your right foot is about one to two feet away from the BOSU itself.
- Place your left foot in the center of the BOSU ball and angle your left toes away from your body slightly.
- Tip your hips backward and move into a squat, bending your knees as you lower your butt back and between your legs. If you’d like, swing your arms up in front of your chest as you squat backward.
- From the bottom position of the squat, press through your feet and reverse the movement, returning to standing.
- Repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times before switching to the other side of the BOSU ball. Perform at least two sets on each side.
6. BOSU Bridge
Challenge your butt as you work the stabilizing muscles of your hips while performing a BOSU bridge.
- Place the BOSU on the ground, platform-side down, and sit directly behind the ball.
- Place your feet on the center of the ball and lie backward, your knees bent and pointing toward the ceiling.
- Let your arms rest next to your sides, your palms down for stability.
- Engage your abs and hips, and use your glutes as you press your hips up off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Hold the position for three seconds, then lower your hips back toward the ground, stopping just before your glutes make contact with the floor.
- Repeat 15 to 20 times before resting. Perform two to three sets.
7. BOSU Plank
Plank exercises work everything from your shoulders and chest, to your abs, hips, and quads. Make the move harder by performing the skill while balancing on a BOSU ball.
- Place the BOSU on the ground, platform-side down. Kneel behind the ball and lean forward, placing your forearms just outside the center of the ball so your weight is equally balanced between them.
- Step your legs behind you so that your toes and the balls of your feet are the only other things touching the ground. Your body should form a straight line from your heels to your head.
- Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, keeping your abs engaged and tight. Don’t let your hips dip and your back sway.
- Rest for 15 to 20 seconds, then repeat twice.
8. BOSU Balance Deadlift Without Weight
The deadlift exercise targets your hamstrings and glutes. When performed on a BOSU ball, the deadlift also targets your core and the stabilizers of your ankles.
- Place the BOSU on the ground with the dome side down.
- Carefully step your left foot onto the BOSU platform, centering it on the ball. Once you feel stable, carefully lift your right foot from the ground, transferring all your weight to your left foot so that you’re standing on your left foot on the ball.
- From this position, carefully tip your torso forward as you lift your right leg backward, keeping both your foot and your torso straight.
- Reach directly down with your arms, as though you were trying to touch your toes.
- When your body forms a “T” shape, tighten the muscles of your left leg and butt, and squeeze your hamstrings, “pulling” your body back up to standing.
- Repeat 12 times on the left leg before switching to the other side.
9. BOSU V-Up
Work your abs and challenge your balance by performing BOSU V-ups.
- Place the BOSU ball on the ground, platform-side down.
- Sit on the center of the dome, your arms at your sides, knees bent, and feet on the floor.
- Lift your feet from the floor and draw your knees up toward your chest until your body forms a tight “V” with your knees bent.
- Keeping your abs tight, carefully straighten your legs as you lean your torso backward. Allow your arms to straighten and your hands to reach past your hips during this movement. Lean backward until you’re afraid you’ll lose your balance.
- Reverse the movement and pull yourself back to sitting as you draw your knees back toward your chest.
- Perform 15 to 20 repetitions before resting and repeating two to three times.
10. BOSU Burpee
For a quick burst of cardio and strength training, try the BOSU burpee.
- Stand with your knees slightly bent, holding the BOSU in front of your body, the platform facing you, your elbows drawn in to your body.
- Tip your hips backward as you squat down, placing the BOSU dome on the ground.
- Hop your legs directly behind you so that your body forms a straight line from heels to head, as though you were in a pushup position.
- Jump your feet back to their starting position and stand up, lifting the BOSU ball directly over your head.
- Perform the exercise as many times as you can in 60 seconds.
You don’t have to have lots of equipment in order to achieve a great full-body workout. Focus on getting the most from one or two pieces of exercise equipment instead of spending tons of cash on every new fad that comes along.
While the BOSU ball is an excellent piece of workout equipment, if you don’t have the $100 to lay out on a ball of your own, try an equipment-free workout. Don’t buy into the idea that you have to have lots of money to get in shape – achieving fitness is about dedication and commitment, time management, and a little know-how. With the right mental attitude, you’ll be in great shape in no time.
What’s your favorite piece of workout equipment? Have you ever tried a BOSU ball?