Basic bodyweight workouts are all well and good — until boredom sets in. But that doesn’t mean you need to scoop up every piece of gym equipment that’s ever been sold on late-night TV. You can mix up your session with the addition of a single, multi-faceted tool, like the BOSU ball. According to Sara Lewis, celeb trainer and founder of XO Fitness in Los Angeles, “the BOSU ball is so effective because of how it combines an unstable surface with a flat one, which makes it an incredibly versatile option.”
That translates to “hundreds of multi-purpose exercises at your disposal — from arm work, to ab and side body work, to leg moves and everything in between,” says Lewis, who’s trained A-listers such as Ryan Gosling and Sofia Vergara. We’re not just talking one workout style, either. “You can focus on very specific stability work one day, and then decide to commit full-force to your cardio the next.” Or, you can get the best of both worlds with a double-duty circuit workout, like the one below, designed by Lewis exclusively for Daily Burn — with maximum burn in mind.
5 BOSU Ball Exercises to Try Now
For these BOSU ball exercises, you’ll start with a core activation move before firing up the obliques and stabilizer muscles. Next, you’ll work the inner and outer thigh muscles and end with a burst of cardio, Lewis says. Complete the entire circuit, then switch sides the second time around. Repeat for a total of four rounds, so you’re hitting each side twice. Five moves, one total-body circuit, let’s ball!
How to: Start in high plank with hands on the squishy side of the BOSU ball, fingers facing slightly outward, shoulders over wrists and feet flexed, legs strong (a). Inhale as you drop to your forearms, one arm at a time, palms facing up (b). Exhale as you plant your palms back on the BOSU and into high plank (c). Repeat for 10 reps, keeping spine long and core engaged.
2. Waist Eliminator
How to: Return to high plank position, hands on the BOSU ball (a). Maintaining a strong core, draw your right knee to right elbow, then return foot to the floor (b). Repeat for 10 reps, then tack on 10 pulses, knee to elbow (avoid putting foot back down between pulses) (d). Step back to plank and drop to knees into child’s pose for a quick 15-second recovery stretch.
3. Giant Clam
How to: Starting with the BOSU ball to your left, come to your knees and place your left forearm in the center of the BOSU (a). Rise up into a side plank variation, with your bottom (left) leg straight out to the side and your top (right) leg behind you, bent at 45-degrees for support. Raise your right arm to the sky and keep hips lifted (b). Inhale to prepare, then exhale as you bring your right hand and left foot together, keeping your leg straight. The emphasis should be on the straight leg lifting higher than the arm lowers (c). Return to start and repeat 10 times.
4. Side Kick Kneeling
How to: Return to knees, this time with the left knee in the center of the BOSU and right leg extended, foot resting on the floor and arms at your sides (a). Facing front, lean left to plant your left hand to the left of the BOSU. Be sure to position the left shoulder over the wrist and left hip over the knee. (b). Next, extend your right arm to the sky while simultaneously raising your right leg up to hip-level (c). Lift your leg a few inches above hip-level, then lower back to hip-level (d). Repeat for 20 reps. End in downward dog for a quick 15-second stretch.
5. Side-to-Side Squats
How to: From a standing position, place the right foot on the center of the BOSU (a). Lower hips into a deep squat position (b). Step both feet together onto the BOSU ball, staying low in your squat (c). Next, step your right foot off the BOSU, lowering deeper into your squat. Repeat the moving squats for 20 reps on the same side (we’ll hit the other side in round two!) (d). End with 10 squat jumps on the BOSU for an extra cardio-strength blast.