Exercises in the bosu: discover the benefits of training with the accessory – 11/27/2020


Easily found in gyms and physiotherapy clinics, the bosu (or half-sphere) is an accessory widely used in functional training to generate instability in the exercises, which increases the difficulty in executing movements and can improve various physical capacities.

The equipment is shaped like a half-ball, with a flat and stable surface and the other oval and unstable (similar to a Swiss ball cut in half). You can climb or support your hands on the accessory to do planks, push-ups, jumps, squats and so on.

Bosu training requires strength, endurance, balance, posture control and brings many benefits, ranging from improved motor coordination to strengthening the core (region formed by the abdomen, lumbar and hip). Below, we show the advantages of doing exercises with the half-ball.

Improved balance and proprioception

Image: iStock

This is one of the main assets of the bosu. The instability caused by the accessory makes the whole body work together to maintain balance while performing the exercises.

“In addition, when we are on an unstable basis, our proprioception mechanisms are activated,” says physical education professional Eduardo Netto, master of human motricity and technical director of the Bodytech academy chain.

Proprioception is the ability of our brain to recognize the position of a part of the body in space without using vision. You don’t have to look at your knee to lift it up to the navel, for example, because even without seeing these body parts you know their position.

Working on proprioception improves body awareness, coordination of movements in sports and can help reduce the risk of injury – when you step into a hole, for example, your brain will quickly understand that the foot has shifted, triggering the muscles to balance the body and prevent a fall and even a twist.

Core strengthening

“Whenever we generate imbalance, such as when doing an exercise with bosu, our body needs to strive to stabilize posture”, says physical education professional and sports training specialist Marcelo Capella. And, for this stabilization to occur, the core is activated.

Result: this activation during exercises strengthens the abdomen, lumbar and hip region and promotes a better distribution of forces between the trunk and the extremities of our body. “A strengthened core still helps to reduce overload in ligaments and joints”, adds Netto. Consequently, training with the half-sphere is combined to preserve such structures and reduce the risk of injuries.

Improved posture

Combining the strengthening of the core with the body awareness brought by training in the bosu, there is no other way: the posture wins. The alignment and maintenance of a good postural pattern are the result of the need to stabilize the trunk at all times to keep the body in balance during the exercises.

Even sports fans who require good posture control benefit greatly from the accessory. This is the case with sports such as judo, surfing and skateboarding. “It is possible to simulate specific gestures of these sports in the bosu”, says André Pirauá, PhD in physical education and professor at UFRPE (Federal Rural University of Pernambuco). He mentions, for example, the transition movement from the lying position to the standing position on the surfboard.

More muscle endurance

To maintain balance and posture during exercise, more muscles are recruited in training with bosu compared to training on a stable basis — and some of these muscles are recruited all the time, not just in the most stressful (concentric) phase of the movement. The result of this is strengthening and increasing muscle endurance. In this way, our muscles are able to withstand a certain effort for longer.

Exercise with instability, bosu, half sphere, - iStock - iStock
Image: iStock

Development of motor coordination

With bosu, stimuli can also be generated to improve motor coordination. “One way to do this is to perform up and down exercises on the equipment or alternating the lower limbs that it supports on the accessory”, teaches Capella.

You can, for example, use the device as a support for movements like those of the sink – traditional exercise to work on the glutes and thighs, in which you step forward, flex your legs and lower your body until the knee of your back leg almost touch the floor.

Attention: as bosu exercises involve instability and the need to maintain balance, it is essential to have professional supervision and monitoring for the correct execution of movements during training, in addition to reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

Is your goal hypertrophy? So it’s better not to use bosu

As much as with bosu it is possible to gain muscular endurance and strength, it is not very suitable for those whose main objective is to gain muscle mass (hypertrophy) or for advanced practitioners who seek to increase strength.

As the equipment requires you to maintain your body balance at all times, this makes it difficult to use heavy loads in the exercises. In addition, the movements are done more slowly than on a stable basis, which reduces their intensity. And load and / or intensity are essential for hypertrophy and strength gain.

Obviously, this does not mean that anyone who pursues these goals should never use bosu. Exercises with the accessory may be present to work on other skills, they just should not be the focus of the training.

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