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!

 

 

Here’s to a fabulous Friday; food, fitness and fun!

Warning: today’s post is full of “F” words. Food, fitness and fun!

TGIF! I don’t know about you, but this past week has been about the worst on (recent) record at my house. I had the flu and couldn’t get out of bed for nearly a week. Then two of my kids came down with a wicked, nasty stomach bug that kept me wiping bums and changing bed sheets into the wee hours of the night. The floors need washing, the fridge re-stocking. And when was the last time somebody changed the cat litter box?

But the end is finally in sight (knock on wood). Kids are up and bickering as usual (much preferable to the eery quiet of earlier in the week). I’m back to teaching (sort of) and training clients and trying to regain some of the strength I lost (why does it go away so quickly?).

Here’s what I’m looking forward to this weekend:

Food

My appetite is back and my body is craving veggies! Good thing my hubby planted our first crop of leafy greens last weekend. There’s spinach, and arugula and kale ready for harvesting.

They’ll make a fine, mixed green salad for Friday dinner. I’ll be serving them with poached fillet of salmon and roast asparagus. Dinner’s at 5, if you’d like to join us!

 

(And the recipe is super easy; herbed goat cheese, toasted almonds, sliced strawberries all on a bed of fresh greens. Drizzle with 2 parts olive oil and 1 part balsamic vinegar)

Fitness

On Saturday, I’ll be leading a workshop entitled ‘Fitness for Fat Loss‘ at a friend’s newly opened fitness studio; Younique Fitness in Port Moody, B.C. They’ll be a 45 minute workout followed by a lecture, outlining ways to tweak your workout to up your rate of fat loss while maintaining and even increasing muscle mass. Win-win-win! There’s still time to register. Will I see you there?

 

Sunday marks the first class in the next Bosu Blast course that I’m teaching at the Port Moody Rec Centre. Adding some Bosu work to your exercise routine is a great way to improve balance, core strength, speed and agility. And, there’s NO CHOREOGRAPHY!

Fun

What’s more fun that a blog hop? Today, I’m participating in ‘The Get-Fit Blog Hop‘. It’ a great way to ‘meet’ new-to-you health and fitness bloggers and get some inspiration for your next workout or healthy meal. Click through on the link below then start hopping from one blog to another. Leave comments to let the authors know you’ve visited or leave a link up to your own ‘Get-Fit Blog Hop‘ post if you’d like! Come back and tell me who you’ve visited and what you’ve learned!

Get Fit Blog Hop

 EDITED TO ADD: The blog hop button now works. The original html code I was given had some sort of problem. So please, TRY AGAIN!

What’s you favourite “F” word? (Remembering that my dad and 13-year old son read my blog…)

Found a great new blogger via the blog hop? Tell me about them so I can make sure to visit too!

 

Tuesday Trainer and my spring teaching schedule

This week, the Tuesday Trainers are taking a break from exercise and instead, are sitting down to answer some questions about themselves. After you finish up here, head on over to Lindsay’s List and get to know the other Tuesday Trainers!

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll be re-capping my recent family vacation to sunny, southern California. Today, I’d like to fill you in on some upcoming fitness programs that I’ll be offering to local peeps this spring.

  • Bosu Blast; a 1-hour, small group, non-choreographed class, combining strength, balance, core, speed and agility training, all on the Bosu (a half stability ball). It’s running out of the Port Moody Rec Center for 5 weeks, at 10:30 Sundays, beginning April 15. You can register on-line or by calling 604-469-4556.
  • Effective Stretching and Core Strength; a 1-hour, registered program, designed to teach you how to effectively engage your core and improve your flexibility. Also at the Port Moody Rec Center, Sundays at 11:45 from May 6 until May 27th.
  • Yes We Can; a 6-week, small group training program with a focus on weight loss. We meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 pm at the Port Moody Rec Center. In addition to the 12 group training sessions, participants will meet with a nutritionist to discuss healthy, weight-loss promoting diets. Sessions run from April 3rd to May 10th. If evenings aren’t your thing, there’s also a group running Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9 to 10, April 4th to May 11th (I’m teaching this one too).
  • Younique Spring Fitness Workshops; a 3-part series of workshops, each combining a workout and a lecture/discussion component. Topics include ‘Fitness for fat loss’, ‘Perfecting your posture’ and ‘Concentrate on core’. For details, please visit Younique Fitness Studio’s website.

If you don’t live in the Tri-Cities (you should; it’s beautiful here!) and are interested in training with me, I also offer online personal training via email and Skype. For details, please check out my training page.

Have you ever participated in a small group personal training program before?

If so, tell me about your experience!

Skip to it!

Tried something this morning in my Bosu class that I was sure I couldn’t possibly do.

Nope. Not in a million years. Not me. Way too much coordination required. What if I fall off? What if I trip and hurt myself? What if I die of embarrassment failing in public?!?!?

Just try, said a little voice in my head. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

So, I tried. Skipping on the Bosu. In front of my class (all three of them; yeah, I know, a really big audience to risk embarrassing myself in front of). Of course, I got them to try too (pro-active face-saving, I call it).

Guess what? I did it! First time, 3 jumps before I had to step off. Second time, 6 jumps. Third time 17 jumps in a row! Skipping on the Bosu!

Fantastic balance and co-ordination test that also gets your heart racing! Give it a try; skip to it!

Fall-off-the-wagon-Friday

Pro-D Day.

Three little words that many moms of school-age children dread. I know, some of you really relish the extra time to spend doing something meaningful with your children. It’s not that I don’t, but rather, feel that I make a better mom when I have balance between being with them (i.e., cooking and cleaning and entertaining and refereeing and social directing etc.) and being on my own.

So instead of trotting off to the gym this morning for my 7th of 12 Phase 1 NROL workouts, I stayed home in my PJ’ and made peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies with my 8-year old daughter. She’s at the age where she no longer gets disgusted by the raw eggs. Ingredients stay on the counter, not the floor. She can use the beaters without spraying cookie dough on the kitchen ceiling. She remembers not to stick her fingers in the batter, lick them and stick them back in. She even offers to clean up! All in all, she’s the perfect age for mother-daughter baking dates.

Our cookie recipe? An old family favorite, that I’ve ‘cleaned up’ so that I can rationalize eating a few myself. White flour replaced by a combination of whole wheat flour, bran flakes and flax seed. Natural, no-sugar, no-salt peanut butter to replace the Skippy. Dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. A really fabulous treat; nutty, not too sweet and fewer calories than the original recipe (although still probably somewhere around 125 calories per cookie).

All in all, not a bad cheat snack, unless you eat three four FIVE of them. My brain is buzzing from the sugar. I’m wearing black to camouflage the tummy bulge. All my carbs for the day gone in 10 minutes. And the worst thing of all is that I’ve blown my Friday-night-glass-of-wine-with-my-hubby splurge.

At least I’m heading out to teach a Bosu class tonight. Maybe I’ll sneak in 20 minutes on the ARC trainer while I’m there…

Sleep-deprived; curse you paperboy!

4:45 am; Wham! Newspaper thuds against front door. I sit up in bed, wide awake two hours before the alarm is scheduled to go off silently cursing our newspaper delivery boy. Kiss your Xmas tip goodbye, buddy!

5:15 am; Up I get. Can’t get back to sleep so I might as well knit something. Coffee in hand, I make my way wearily to the couch. Nothing too challenging; just simple back and forth knitting.

7:00 am; The rest of the household awakens and the morning bustle begins.

9:00 am; I hit the gym, hoping that a good workout will energize me for the day ahead. It’s Phase 1, Workout B, 3rd time through. Upped the time on my planks, increased the weight on my dead lift, had to sub in real pull-up for the inverted row (all the squat racks were taken). Not bad! Felt pretty good, all things considered.

2:00 pm; Crash. A quick nap on the couch followed by a good strong cup of espresso and I’m ready for the afternoon crunch.

5:30 pm; Off to teach my Bosu class. Feeling a bit wobbly; could be either the poor night’s sleep or the dead lifts I did earlier in the day. Stretching at the end felt great!

Early to bed tonight! Looking forward to rest day tomorrow…