The BOSU has got to be one of the most underused pieces of equipment in the gym and for that reason I use it for quite a lot of my clients programmes. I love to write programmes that are very “time focused” as most of my clients struggle with having enough time to workout.
So I try to make sure they have a couple of bits of equipment that are always free, that way clients can get in and out of the gym much more quickly rather than waiting for specific kit to be free.
If you are now wondering what the “BOSU” is, it is the thing that looks like a swiss ball cut in half. It was invented in the States of course, by a guy called David Weck. The story goes that after an accident he had used a swiss ball to rehab his back and realised standing on top of it was helpful. He had a few falls from the top and this prompted him to invent something that required him to balance but with less chance of falling. So he cut one in half and affixed it to a bottom and so the BOSU was born.
BOSU originally meant “BOth Sides Up” because of the fact that you can literally use it in that way. As time has moved on the company has since changed it can now states “BOth Sides Utilised” and let’s face it everything has to have a catchy acronym these days doesn’t it?
It was invented was around the time that balance and stability training was “the answer” to all out fitness and rehabilitation problems. Since then, we have a far greater understanding on balance including our proprioception and kinesthetic sense. We used to think that if we were to train on and unstable surface that it would make us more stable on a stable surface and I suppose as it was all very new and exciting it seemed to be plausible especially because Personal Trainers and Therapists started to get good results.
We went through the stage of standing on top of swiss balls for balance and telling our clients this is what they needed to do …
I think this is where “Functional Training” gained its bad rep for silly looking exercises and to be honest with you, unless you are a circus performer, I really do not see the need for you to be on top of a swiss ball.
Balance training did become a thing and it has since been questioned and it is not just given to everyone anymore. However there are always going to be occasions where is is a useful tool for certain type of clients, just not all! Just because (“insert trending Celebrity”) is doing it doesn’t mean it’s right for you!
I have noticed over the years in the fitness industry an awful lot of “new and exciting” products come in promising to be the answer to our problems. With great marketing and advertising along with celebrity endorsement and or quotes to back up the use of them, we end up jumping in with both feet only to find out later that actually we were wrong.
That is one of the reasons I now spend a lot of time educating myself to stay abreast of the latest research and science, and you know what I still sometimes get it wrong!
Train Specifically to your goal!
One thing I am sure of today though is that if you want to get better at anything you need to train your body as close to that “thing” as possible.
So what can I do with a BOSU?
So anyway that’s a little about the history of the BOSU and how it came about but most of you by now will be thinking I am bored now so what the heck can I do with it?
As previously mentioned you can use it with the flat side on the floor and the ball side on the floor. This allows you to create some quite interesting exercises that are also quite fun, but essentially it is just another piece of equipment you can use to build your repertoire of exercises.
For me as a Personal Trainer, I do not use it for “balance training” but I do use it as a novel, fun way of getting exercise variety into a client’s programme. Below is a the video I have created that has just got 6 exercises in that I think are easy enough for anyone to do.
I have continued on with my “Short Sharp Shock” series of workout and they are all the same in the sense that they all have 6 exercises which are to be completed in a circuit, three times through. So, with just 45 seconds for each exercise followed by a 15 seconds rest it should take you less than 20 minutes, and all with only one piece of kit!
The six exercises are as follows:
- Sit down and stand up with crunch
- Clean and Press with a mountain climber
- Alternating lunges
- Squat to alternating lunges
- Side to side hops
- Alternating Press-Up
I hope this has been interesting for you and that you now have a few exercises to go away and try even when the BOSU may be the only piece of equipment available.