When gearing up for a triathlon, it may seem counterproductive to spend your training time on anything other than swimming, biking and running. And yet, the opposite is true.
Cross-training is a vital means of your success; both during training and the actual race itself. Cross-training should incorporate strength training, speed and agility drills, core and balance challenges, as well as ample time spent stretching.
There are many advantages of cross-training for triathletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. Such benefits as joint stability, core strength, body control, improved flexibility and both muscle strength and endurance will definitely come in handy during race time. The BOSU Balance Trainer, specifically, targets the instability a racer might encounter during a triathlon.
The BOSU Balance Trainer is essentially a stability ball with a flat bottom. Invented in 2000, it is one of the most successful fitness training products in the world. The name 'BOSU' was initially an acronym meaning "Both Sides Up". Now, people use the descriptor 'Both Sides Utilized' when describing how a BOSU works and is used. Essentially, you can stand, sit or hold the equipment dome side up or dome side down (i.e. the flat platform).
When used as a cross-training tool, it's an incredibly effective means of improving core stability and neutral spinal posture. All functional movement is directly related to the harmonious work of joints, muscles and the neurological system. When working out on a BOSU Balance Trainer, one's neurological system interacts with the musculoskeletal system in a highly coordinated and complex manner. Additionally, the physical skills tested while on the BOSU (righting, protective and equilibrium reactions) are of extreme importance and use especially during bike racing.
Truly, there are a multitude of exercises that can be done on the BOSU Balance Trainer. Entire upper body, lower body and core workouts can be done, as well as cardiovascular conditioning. The exercises below are strength training movements that should help build muscle strength and endurance in your lower body, but will also challenge your core stabilization in the process.
Dome Down Squats
Place your BOSU dome side down, with the flat platform on top. Step carefully onto the center of the BOSU and get your balance. Your legs should be approximately shoulder-width apart.
Slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, then straighten your legs. Arms can extend straight out in front of you to provide more equilibrium support and balance. You should feel your glutes firing, as well as engagement of your quadriceps and hamstrings. It's quite common to experience "lateral knee shaking" as you lower deep into the squat.
Perform 10 to 25 repetitions and 2 to 4 sets depending on your fitness level.