There are lots of ways to exercise your core muscles. But one piece of equipment stands out for its ability to target your core while working on your balance, stability and strength—the BOSU ball.
A typical BOSU ball has a blue half ball side and a flat black bottom. Sometimes the ball side may be other colors, but generally it's blue. You can use either side when exercising.
The unstable characteristics of the BOSU ball make it a great training tool for targeting stabilizer muscles, especially those of the core. You can take a traditional, stable move, like the squat, and make it more challenging with the BOSU because you now have to balance on an uneven surface.
Take these five traditional exercises up a notch to strengthen your midsection, shoulders, arms and legs.
The plank is a great isometric exercise that calls all of the muscles in the core and low back into action. Give the basic plank a boost by place your forearms and elbows on the ball side of the BOSU. Keep your neck aligned, engage your core, and extend your legs straight back. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
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Similar to the traditional plank, place your right forearm and elbow on the ball. The side of your right foot will be on the ground with your left foot stacked on top. Lift your hips and balance your right arm on the BOSU for 30 to 60 seconds before switching sides.
Flip the BOSU ball over so the ball is facing down and the black platform is up. Start in a push-up position. Notice that there are two handles on the platform side, grab them to hold your push-up. Once you're stable, bring your right knee to your chest. As you return your right foot to the ground, bring your left knee to your chest. Continue switching feet as fast as you can, while maintaining perfect form, for 60 seconds.
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Knee to Elbow
Just like the Mountain Climber, place the ball face down and the platform up. Grab the two handles and get into the push-up position. Instead of bringing your knees to your chest, this time you'll bring your right knee out and up to touch your right elbow. The knee to elbow is a slower, more controlled exercise. Pause when your knee is close to your right elbow. Return to the starting position, switch to the left side, and continue alternating sides for 60 seconds.
Flip the BOSU to the ball side is up. Sit on the center of the ball and place your feet on the ground. Sit with your chest up, shoulders back and core tight. Once balanced, clasp your hands together in front of your body and rotate your hands to the right side—try to touch the BOSU without twisting your core or hips. Maintaining your balance rotate your hands to the left side. Repeat this move, going back and forth to twist your core.
For an extra challenge, try lifting your feet an inch or two off the ground. If your back starts to curve, place your feet back on the ground. You should maintain a straight back throughout the exercise.
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