The bosu balance trainer, which looks like half a stability ball, is a conditioning tool that enhances strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. It consists of a rubber dome, which is supported by a rigid platform. The word bosu stands for "both sides up" or "both sides utilized." You can perform bosu exercises on either the dome or platform side.
History of the Bosu Balance Trainer
David Weck, creator of the bosu balance trainer, was a cutting-edge personal trainer who was always interested in finding ways to enhance his clients' dynamic balance. Weck, like many other sport conditioning specialists, had been a fan of the stability ball but eventually realized its limitations. Elite athletes could perform squats and other standing exercises on the ball. Most people, however, lacked the balance skills to safely perform this type of exercise. They could use a balance board but board-type fitness devices are less versatile than the stability ball. Weck created the bosu trainer as a means of combining the benefits of the stability ball and the balance board. When the device made its debut at fitness conferences in 2000, a new fitness trend was born.
Inflating the Bosu
The bosu balance trainer comes with a small pump, a pin and a device to remove the pin for deflation. The pin and the pin remover are in a small plastic bag, which also holds the bosu manual. These are tiny items, so place them in a safe place to avoid losing them.
The bosu pump is the only negative aspect of the bosu. It's small and awkward to use. One nodule is designed to inflate the bosu, while the other is designed to let the air out. You need to manually press against the plastic, accordion-shaped pump to blow up the bosu. The nodules, unfortunately, have a tendency to fall out of the inflation hole. The problem, however, can be easily solved by using a bicycle pump with a standard air pump nozzle.
The degree of inflation will affect the difficulty of the workout. When the bosu is heavily inflated, it will be easy to stand on the dome side, but almost impossible to balance on the platform side. A less inflated bosu will be challenging on the dome side but easier on the platform side.
How to Store the Bosu
The bosu is temperature sensitive. If it is exposed to extreme cold or extreme heat, the dome may become unglued from the platform. Avoid storing the bosu near any heating devices, and if you are leaving it in your car in cold weather, deflate the bosu prior to travel.
The rubber of the bosu is sturdier than the rubber used for the stability ball, but it is still sensitive to sharp objects. Keep the bosu away from your pets or children. Consider placing the bosu on a clean exercise mat when turning it on to its dome side.
Benefits of the Bosu
The bosu has numerous obvious and subtle benefits. Some are physical, and others are mental.
Proprioception is defined as the body's awareness of its position in space. This awareness is important for both athletic and daily activities. The classic trip on a banana peel is an example of limited proprioception. Your feet need to discern the difference between the surface of the banana and the surface of the sidewalk, and make the appropriate adjustments. The same thing applies to walking on ice. Both the bosu platform and the bosu dome are atypical standing surfaces. By expanding your "surface vocabulary," your body is prepared for unexpected surface changes.
The bosu can be used for both dynamic and static balance training. Simply standing on either side of the bosu is an example of static balance. Performing squats and lunges, or moving across the bosu provides dynamic balance conditioning. All balance exercises require deep core muscle activation, so when you use the bosu, you are working your deep abdominal muscles, even if you are not performing crunches.
Mental Bosu Benefits
The mental benefits of the bosu are subtle but significant. Using the device can get you out of a fitness rut and prevent workout burnout. The balance and coordination needed for bosu training requires you to concentrate and think outside the proverbial box, and possibly expand your creativity and metal facilities.