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Why the BOSU ball is a useful exercise tool – and 6 exercises to try it out

I had no idea what a BOSU ball was. I called it "that weird half stability ball thing" and assumed it was not something that people actually used in the gym. And then I became a fitness editor, much more attuned to what many different people actually use during training, and, yes, I realized that the BOSU ball was really legitimate.

I've seen Instagram posts from celebrities like ] Shay Mitchell and model Jasmine Tookes with the exercise device; I saw random people in the gym pulling it into their corner and putting it into operation. I've even seen some of my favorite trainers use it in their own workouts. The reason why people like it? It's a great tool to add extra stability (Hello, Core!) To every workout.

"The beauty of a BOSU is that it allows you to perform all sorts of exercises – from leg exercises that balance it to core exercises and even upper body and cardio work," says Autumn Calabrese, Beachbody Super trainer and creator of the 80-day obsession. In each of these scenarios, it simply adds an extra element of instability, which means you need to put more of the small muscles in your core to help you control and balance your body.

Ultimately, you will get more intense core training – no matter which muscles the exercise has technically goals – and improve your balance by using a tool that has stability like a BOSU ball challenges. "It can also help improve proprioception (knowing where your body is in space)," says Calabrese. Better body awareness allows you to better control your movements, position, and ultimately, both your posture and your ability to do exercises in the right shape. So it's a big deal.

"The BOSU is absolutely a worth trying tool," says Calabrese, though she notes that adding a stability challenge is not a good idea for every single exercise, for every single exercise you have a lot of weight and do not leave your hands free, if you fall. "An example of this would be to have the unstable side of the BOSU (the blue side) on the ground, stand on the black side (the hard, flat side), place a dumbbell on the shoulders and do squats. This is a very dangerous exercise that can lead to serious injury if you lose your balance, "she says. "One way to correct that would be to keep dumbbells on the sides – ones that you can easily let go of when you start falling."

As with any new exercise or device, it's best to start with the basics and work up to more complex moves after improving your stability. Before you do anything else, just stand on the blue side of the BOSU to get a feel for it. Yes, you will feel shaky, but over time you will feel more stable. Then try out some of the moves listed below.

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