If you've spent even five minutes in a gym within the last year, you may have left that gym wondering what BOSU balls are all about. Until a few years ago, BOSU balls were rare in a standard gym. Now, they're prominently displayed in most gyms, and they tend to fly off the shelves of most sports equipment stores. Before you dismiss BOSU balls as a mere trend, however, it pays to read a little more about the science behind the balls. You may find that BOSU balls could provide you with the workout you'll need to up your fitness level.
BOSU makes a wide variety of sports equipment, but the company got its start in 2000 when David Weck developed a product called the BOSU Balance Trainer. When people speak of "BOSU balls," they are typically referring to this innovative product. To picture a BOSU ball in your mind, think of an inflated ball cut in half placed on a plate. A BOSU ball looks much like this, except the "plate" is made of hard plastic and it has handles on either side. The term BOSU originally stood for "both sides up," but has morphed into meaning "both sides utilized." The name will help you understand how to use the product. You can place the flat side on the floor and work with the bubbled top, or you can place the bubbled side down and work on the flat top.
A BOSU workout is designed to help you increase your balance skills. Standing flat on the floor may help you work your major muscle groups, but standing on an uneven surface requires you to use tiny muscles to adjust your posture and keep your body upright. Your core muscles in your stomach and chest do much of the heavy lifting, and users report that they feel stronger and much more centered with a BOSU workout. Athletes also report that accessing the small muscle groups allows them to move quickly, which can allow them to perform fancy on-field footwork with ease.
BOSU balls are available at stores like Target and Wal-Mart. You may also find BOSU balls online at Amazon.com and other retail stores. Prices range from just over $100 to close to $200. Some retailers also offer videos you can follow to develop a BOSU workout, but creating your own workout is remarkably easy. For example, to work on your core muscles, stand on the bubbled surface of your BOSU ball with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and raise your arms above your head. Keeping your balance as you wobble will help you tone your muscles. As this exercise becomes easier, extend your arms in front of you as you squat down, keeping your back straight. To give your arms attention, squat and hold your BOSU ball by the handles, bubble-side down. Put the ball down in front of you, kick your legs back and perform a pushup. Tuck your knees back in and jump back up into a squatting position after the pushup. These BOSU burpies are excellent exercises for upper body strengthening.