Bosu balance trainer workout and a new Tuesday Trainer video

One of my favourite fitness tools is the Bosu balance trainer.

Essentially, it’s a stability ball, cut in half and mounted on a hard, flat piece of rubber. It can be used dome side up (for beginners) and platform side up (for more advanced and stable exercisers). I like to use it both ways (BOth Sides Up)!

 Bosu group fitness class

Great for challenging your balance and adding a bit of instability to your workouts, I often use it with my clients to improve

  1. knee and ankle strength; just standing on the dome side forces all the little stabilizer muscles surrounding the knee and ankle joints to wake up and turn on (you’ll also feel it in your inner thighs). Try closing your eyes!
  2. balance and kinesthetic sense; knowing where your body is in space (“proprioception”) is helpful for avoiding slips and slides and falls
  3. knee tracking; often knees ‘drop’ inwards or ‘splay’ outwards during lunges due to weak quadriceps. Stationary lunges or squats on the Bosu can help strengthen the vastus medialis and reduce or eliminate the knee tracking problem. Just make sure that knees are staying above the ankles during movement

Balance training is an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. It improves your posture, functionally strengthens your core and adds an interesting challenge to exercises you may already have mastered on a stable surface.

Here’s a sample workout that I’ve done with my weekly Bosu Blast class.

Bosu balance trainer

You’ll need a Bosu balance trainer, some light to moderately heavy dumbbells and a mat. Make sure your running shoes are tightly laced; after a few minutes of marching on the dome, your feet may feel like they’re sliding around in your shoes. And avoid wearing short shorts; during seated Bosu work, they tend to ‘migrate’ upwards (think ‘wedgie’). Enough said.

The workout has 6 parts; I’ll describe the first five (with examples of increasing difficulty) and leave you to stretch on your own!

  1. Balance and proprioception
  2. Dynamic warmup
  3. Speed and agility (cardio)
  4. Strength and conditioning
  5. Core specific exercises
  6. Stretch

Balance and Proprioception

  • standing on dome side; arms at sides or extended out from body or overhead, eyes open or closed
  • 1/4 squat and hold; arms extended at sides, eyes open or closed
  • single leg balance; non-supporting foot touching side of dome, pressed against calf of supporting leg, extended straight out to the side (‘tree pose’)
Dynamic Warmup
  • marching on and off the dome; increasing speed
  • marching or jogging on top of the dome; high knees
  • mini-squat jumps
  • lateral squat (one foot on top, one on the floor beside); up to balance knee
Speed and Agility (perform 30 s of each at high intensity with 15 s rest between)
  • fast feet; marching on an off as quickly as you can with pumping arms; switch lead leg 2nd time through
  • squat or tuck jumps; arms out front or hands behind head
  • tire runs; one foot on dome, one on floor; switch sides 2nd time through
  • Bosu burpees
  • Bosu straddle jacks or straddle squat jacks
Strength and Conditioning (perform 10-12 repetitions of each movement, no breaks between; rest and repeat)
  • dome (or platform) squat with bicep curl to shoulder press
  • platform power pushups (from knees or toes); drop, hold at bottom, slowly push up
  • split lunge with lateral raise (back toe on dome or platform); lift arms as you push up out of the lunge
  • bent over reverse flys (on dome or platform); both arms together or alternate arms with torso rotation
Core (hold static positions for 30 s, perform 10-12 repetitions of movements; rest and repeat)
  • V sit on dome (hands behind for support/knees bent/legs extended/arms across chest/arms extended)
  • Bosu sit to stand crunches; sit low on dome, weight in hands, lean back, curl up and push through feet to stand
  • platform plank tilts; holding handles, plank from knees/toes; alternately press hands down towards floor, pausing to regain balance in the centre before pressing to other side
  • belly on Bosu back extension; hands on floor/feet on floor/hands behind head/feet lifting

Whew! That’s a lot of words to describe a workout. Maybe I should have shot a video? (Do you want me to???)

A big thank you to Lindsay for giving me the idea for today’s post. This week, Tuesday Trainer is all about balance training. Here’s my video contribution:

For more great balance exercise videos head on over to Lindsay’s List!

Do you incorporate balance training in your fitness routine?

Have you ever tried an extreme balance board? Makes the Bosu balance trainer look like a piece of cake!





  1. GREAT POST!!! Yes, balance is so important! I am a MAJOR overpronator due to bad feet, flat feet & all that. Just doing stuff on the floor is hard for me even with special inserts for my crazy feet! I pinned & tweeted!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…YMX Racerback Tank Workout Top GIVEAWAY!!!!My Profile

    • Thanks Jody! Yes, it’s amazing how balance-challenged some of us are!
      I was so excited to see your giveaway post, but I can’t enter because I live in Canada!
      I wish YMX (and other companies) wouldn’t limit their giveaways like this…

  2. Your workout looks amazing. I love using the BOSU. There are some good BOSU DVDs out there (Mindy Mylrea has a few), but I wish there were more. Doing cardio on the BOSU gets my heart rate up more than a step board, and as you point out, the balance work is excellent. The older we get, I think the more important balance becomes. Helps to ward off falls. Now, if only I could get rid of my klutz gene, I’d be set…
    crubin recently posted…Two Awards And A Sassy RecipientMy Profile

  3. Awesome post Tamara! I do love the extra challenge the BOSU can give to your workout. Definitely saving this one for a reminder!

    • Thanks Talia!
      I teach a weekly Bosu class and it’s amazing how quickly people get the hang of it (and want more!)

  4. I really do love the Bosu even though I fell off of it. LOL I can’t wait to try your workout. I have never used the extreme balance board.
    Angie @ Losing It and Loving It recently posted…Grilled Corn on the CobMy Profile

    • Hi Angie,
      One of the first things I teach to my class and clients is how to dismount (as gracefully as possible)! Even though it’s only 6 inches to the ground, it’s easy to roll an ankle if you fall off.
      The extreme balance board is extreme. It is my nemesis!

  5. YES we love love our BOSU too.
    all three of us 🙂

  6. Love this post and love the Bosu! Recently, it’s been a big part of my physical therapy routine post knee surgery to deal with knee tracking and weak er…non-existent quads post-surgery. I’ve been doing a lot of balance drills and squats (both legs and single leg). I also like doing push-ups and ab work on the Bosu. Hmmm, might have to buy one to have around the house 🙂
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Bloggy Boot Camp PhillyMy Profile

    • I DO have one for around the house! My kids love to bounce on it (balance training is great for them too!) and I lug it around with me to use with my personal training clients. You’re right; it’s great for quad strengthening! Keep your eyes open for on-line sales; Bosu can be a bit pricey, but well worth the expense!


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