Curious about how to utilize a Bosu ball in your workouts? We’ve got you!

If you’ve never seen a Bosu ball before, don’t worry — we’ve got you on that, too.

A Bosu ball — which looks like an exercise ball cut in half — is inflated on one side with a flat platform on the other. You can find them at most gyms, sports stores, and online.

It’s a balance trainer, providing the user with an unstable surface on which to perform exercises that engage a variety of muscles. Using the Bosu ball will make your workout more challenging, and it’s a great tool to mix things up.

Another benefit of the Bosu ball is that it’s versatile. Below, we’ve put together 11 exercises you can do on a Bosu ball to work your whole body. Grab one and let’s get started.

1. Single-leg hold

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Mastering balance is the most important thing to do when first starting to use a Bosu ball. These single-leg holds force you to find and maintain your center of gravity on an unstable surface.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu flat side down.
  2. Place one foot in the middle of the Bosu and step up onto it, balancing on your leg.
  3. Maintain your balance for 30 seconds, trying not to let your other foot touch the Bosu or the ground.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

2. Bird dog

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Performing a bird dog on a Bosu ball adds a little more challenge to the move.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu flat side down.
  2. Get on all fours on the Bosu. Your knees should be just below the middle and your palms should be toward the top. Your toes will be resting on the ground.
  3. Lift your right arm and left leg off the Bosu ball simultaneously until they’re parallel to the ground. Keep your hips square to the ball and your neck neutral.
  4. Lower your arm and leg back down to the ball and lift the opposite arm and leg.

3. Bridge

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Focus on your posterior chain with a bridge off of a Bosu.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu flat side down.
  2. Lay on your back, knees bent, and your feet flat on the Bosu ball.
  3. Bracing your core and pushing through your feet, lift your bottom off the ground until your hips are fully extended, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  4. Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground.

4. Mountain climber

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Get in a dose of cardio with this exercise, which will also target your core.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu ball side down.
  2. Assume a high plank position, placing your hands on either edge of the flat side of the Bosu.
  3. Bracing your core, begin to drive your knees one at a time toward your chest, maintaining a straight back. Go as fast as you can while maintaining proper form.

5. Burpee

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They’re the exercise you love to hate, but burpees truly are worth the effort. Add a Bosu ball into the mix for an added challenge.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu ball side down.
  2. Assume a high plank position, placing your hands on either edge of the Bosu.
  3. Jump your feet up toward the ball and as soon as they land, lift the Bosu ball up overhead.
  4. When your arms are fully extended, lower the Bosu back down to the ground and jump your feet back to the high plank position.

6. Lunge

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Executing a forward lunge onto an unstable surface like a Bosu ball will require much more stability and balance. Go slowly to ensure that you maintain good form.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu flat side down.
  2. Stand about two feet behind the Bosu, or at a comfortable distance where you can step forward onto the middle of the ball.
  3. Keeping your chest up, step forward onto the Bosu, landing your foot in the middle, into a lunge, working hard to maintain your balance.
  4. Stand up, step your foot back to start, and repeat with the other leg.

7. V squat

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A variation on a squat, this move will put the emphasis on your quads. Take care as you mount the Bosu ball — it can be tricky!

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu flat side down.
  2. Mount the Bosu ball, standing with your heels on the middle and your toes pointing out.
  3. Squat down and extend your arms out in front of you.
  4. Stand up and return to start.

8. Side-to-side squat

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By hopping up and over the Bosu ball, you’ll get strength and cardio in one move.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu flat side down.
  2. Start standing with your right side facing the Bosu ball. Step your right foot up onto the middle of the ball, maintaining your direction.
  3. Squat down, and on the ascent, jump your left foot onto the ball and your right leg to the opposite side of the ball, squatting down again.
  4. Rise up, jumping back over the other way.

9. Pushup

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Adding a Bosu makes pushups harder, so don’t be afraid to drop to your knees to complete the sets.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu ball side down.
  2. Assume a high plank position, placing your hands on either edge of the Bosu.
  3. Perform a pushup, ensuring that your elbows are at a 45-degree angle and your back is straight throughout the movement.

10. Triceps dip

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Triceps are a smaller muscle that may be neglected in your exercise routine. Enter Bosu dips, which will target the back of your arms. The further away your feet are from the ball, the harder this exercise will be.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu flat side down.
  2. Sit in front of the ball, placing your hands on it shoulder-width apart. Your fingertips should be facing your bottom. Bend your knees and hold your bottom up off the ground.
  3. Keeping your elbows tucked in, bend your arms, lowering your body toward the ground.
  4. When your bottom touches the ground, push up through your hands back to start, feeling your triceps engage.

11. Seated oblique twist

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This move is a challenge, so beginners beware. Ensure that your core is engaged — picture your ab muscles wrapping tightly around to the front of your body — to maintain good form.

Directions

  1. Place the Bosu flat side down.
  2. Sit on the Bosu and assume a V position with your legs lifted and arms extended out in front of you.
  3. Balancing yourself, begin moving your arms from side to side, twisting your core as you go. If this is too difficult, drop one leg as you twist.

The takeaway

Mix and match five of these exercises for a Bosu ball workout that’s sure to challenge you. Aim for 3 sets of 12 reps for each exercise, and complete the routine once a week to add variety to your strength routine.


Nicole Davis is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine’s “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue. Follow her on Instagram.