Sometimes in life we feel slightly off balance. Sometimes in exercise, being off balance can open up a world of opportunity. When exercising, the ground under us is not always smooth or flat. This week my training tip is to invest in, or look at the gym for, a Bosu ball to add to you workout routine.
During training for my half marathon, my trainer suggested I invest in a BOSU ball. As soon as I heard they could strengthen my ankles I ordered one. I have been having so much fun with this ball and can truly say it made a difference in my strength. A BOSU ball looks like a half ball, with one side flat. It is used as a balance board and can be used with either side up as both will provide different challenges.
The BOSU will improve your strength, flexibility and most importantly your stabilizing muscles as you work to keep yourself steady while it moves underneath you. It was hard for me to even get on the flat side when I first got it and let’s not talk about getting off. I have never laughed so hard at that and thankfully was in the privacy of my home.
Our stabilizer muscles hold and support our large muscle groups that move our body parts. They prevent our body from sustaining damage while moving. They work to keep certain parts of our body steady when other muscles are working. When working on a BOSU we are able to target these muscles as our body works hard to maintain balance on a moving object. I specifically love that I’m working these stabilizers as I’ve had ankle surgery and never want to go through that again. Stabilizer muscles in your ankles keep them from rolling, so it’s important to me to strengthen them, along with the stabilizers in my core, knees and glutes.
The workouts I do on the BOSU are short, targeted and effective. The ball itself came with a video with many options. You can do Pilates and Yoga on the ball to bump up your current routine. My trainer gave me specific videos of what she wanted me to do. Here’s a link to a quick routine so you can see what it looks like. I prefer standing on the flat side for more of a challenge, but start near a wall so you can get on and off safely.
Here is the actual BOSU ball set I purchased, it’s not overly large and doesn’t take up much space in my workout area. It has to be inflated when it arrives, but a pump is included. Best investment ever!
I generally use my BOSU following my runs. I don’t do a full workout on it, just targeted exercises. I target my glutes, feet/ankles and hips. You know I love it when it’s packed in my car and brought down to the beach house. It has become something I don’t want to live without, even for a week and I truly feel it has aided in my ankle recovery.
If you add this to your current workout routine, or currently use a BOSU, please leave a comment below.