Test Your Stability With This Bosu Ball Workout

Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

Bosu balls have become a fixture in most fitness centers, but if you don’t know what you’re doing with the bouncy platformed implements, they can feel downright alien. You’ve probably even seen them used improperly—so it’s time to learn how to work with Bosu balls the right way.

Trainers like Charlee Atkins C.S.C.S. use the unique implements for focused work, not throw-everything-at-the-wall circuits meant only to jack up your heart rate to make you feel like you put in some hard training time.

“Most articles point to Bosu balls as a way to “increase cardio” and “torch calories” in your workouts, but the real function of this equipment is to challenge stability and balance,” Atkins says. “The imbalance caused by Bosu balls forces the muscles acting on a specific joint to fire in a way that keeps the joint stable—thus strengthening the muscles.”

Along with the strength benefits, Atkins likes to use the Bosu as a means to test her clients and challenge their abilities. “The Bosu ball is a great way to tell a story about a client’s proprioception, or awareness of the position of the body in a specific exercise,” she says. “To increase the stability of a joint, you have to challenge the stability of a joint.”

That said, Atkins isn’t a fan of the flashy workouts that require you to load up on weight to test your balance, like heavy loaded Bosu ball squats—at least for beginner to intermediate levels.

“This not a tool to use when adding a massive load. I tend to stick with strict bodyweight on these exercises,” says Atkins. “If I do add weight, it’s mostly to help counterbalance the specific exercise.”

Check out this series of bodyweight moves from Atkins that will give you a primer on how to use the balance trainer to challenge your stability. If you want to try this out at home, check out this ball from Bosu.

Perform each movement for either 15 reps or 30 seconds at a time, with little to no rest.

Add the Bosu series to a lower body workout day by running through the series 3 times. Make sure that you take your time to get every rep right, so don’t try to beat the clock. Atkins adds that you should make sure to master each of these exercises before you start adding in tools like a Bosu ball.

Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.

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