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Are Bosu Ball Exercises Wasting Your Time And Preventing You From Your Goals?

Are Bosu Ball Exercises Wasting Your Time And Preventing You From Your Goals?

PinExt Are Bosu Ball Exercises Wasting Your Time And Preventing You From Your Goals?

Hundreds of personal trainers are using the Bosu Ball for their clients but is it even safe or effective? There has been a huge push among trainers in the fitness industry to implement a wide array of exercises with the device that it is astonishing. Increasing balance and core strength has become so mainstream that the use of the device has become the norm. With the exception of rehab, could you possibly be wasting your time and energy with Bosu Ball exercises?

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(I seriously wouldn’t mind being a beach bum without being a bum.)

Skill And Ability: Understanding The Difference In Regards To Balance

Not many people realize that balance is an ability and is controlled by genetic traits. Demonstrating exceptional balance can be traced back to very young ages with a lot of high-profile athletes. Without any proper training, kids can display amazing balance capabilities. This ability is a major reason why only some individuals have what it takes to be a world-class athlete.

Why Skill And Work Don’t Assimilate

It is important to understand that skills can be improved but only to a certain extent. If you want to become a better sprinter, practicing on sprints will help develop that skill. Trying to sprint on a Bosu Ball will not develop that particular skill. You will notice your “work” on the Bosu Ball will increase, but the skills of sprinting on land will not increase. This is the same idea with trying to increase balance. Trying to increase balance by using the ball will only help develop the skill of “balancing on the ball.” Overall balance does not increase nor does it carry over into other activities. This is why gymnasts or skiers who have great balance will still have a hard time performing exercises on the ball. Only until they have practiced the skills on the Bosu Ball will they be able to perform the exercises.

But What About All The Core Work? Well Why Is This Such A Hard Pressed Issue For Trainers?

I’m not sure where this obsession over developing core strength came from but I believe it has been completely taken out of context. Trainers have taken this to the extreme by trying to implement core work for just about any exercise you can think of.  Not only has this “working on the core” been way overdone but there is also  too much focus on the use of Swiss balls and Bosu Ball exercises. Performing exercises like squats, dead lifts, overhead presses, and even bicep curls on the Bosu Ball will not show elevated “core” activity. With equal weight, there would be no difference between core muscle activation on solid ground or with the use of the Bosu Ball. Even though it may seem harder, your core muscles are not working and harder. Remember, despite what the “studies show” it is extremely important to find out who funded the study. The claims about the ball are nothing but self funded marketing.

Bosu Ball Exercises Are Bosu Ball Exercises Wasting Your Time And Preventing You From Your Goals?

(Aaahh the madness continues. So much wasted time and effort within the fitness industry.)

Rehab Facilities Have Their Part?

Bosu Ball exercises were originally developed for those in need of rehab. It has been a great tool for both knee and ankle rehabilitation. But for a normal person wanting to increase balance, core strength, or overall fitness capabilities, the use of a Bosu Ball is a waste of time.

Still Worried About Your Core?

Try not to get caught up in the whole “core strength” hype. Your core muscles receive plenty of work any time the body needs support. Whether it is for squats, dead lifts, bicep curls, and even military presses, your core will be worked to support the weight being lifted. But if you feel that you still need to strengthen your core, then doing planks for 2-3 sets for two minutes is all you need. Planks will provide much better results than what Bosu Ball exercises could ever give you.

Note: I do have to mention that I am not trying to put anyone down that use these, it’s just that you have valuable time and if it’s about losing weight quickly then I want you to maximize your efforts to the fullest. If fat loss is your goal then I would highly suggest skipping swiss balls, bosu balls, or those small toning balls. You are better off with intense cardio and strength training.  Of course there are certain occasions where athletics/balance could be benefited with these types of balls but most people are not in this category.

PinExt Are Bosu Ball Exercises Wasting Your Time And Preventing You From Your Goals?


  1. I agree that Bosu balls are sometimes over done as miracle core strength option. However, if someone is just starting out and needs motivation to get started I don’t see it as something bad entirely. However, I do know that you get huge benefits in you core by doing exercises you mentioned like squats, deadlifts, etc.

    So really less emphasis on the Bosu, more emphasis on a solid workout program.


    • thefitnesschronicle says:

      Yes there is indeed too much hype on core strength and yes I am happy when people actually get motivated to actually do something. I just want to make sure that they utilize their time wisely. I’m sure you have seen it before…solid workout programs are hard to find because of all the crazy and weird “new” exercises that come out.

  2. DC says:

    “Balance is an ability and is controlled by genetic traits” Balance can always be improved no matter your god given abilities with proper training.

    We never use the BOSU as intended unless we are helping a client strengthen the lower leg for various reasons/conditions.

    Try using the BOSU the wrong way ( stand on the side you’re not supposed to stand on). You will have a new appreciation for the BOSU. One example: Once you can perform a Bulgarian split squat correctly and with ease, place the BOSU ( wrong side up) under your front foot with no weights in hands to start (progress to weights when comfortable). Now instead of just using your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings you have now activated the hip flexors and extensors for stability, and your core now has to work extra hard to keep your face off the floor.

    Your core gets plenty of work from bicep curls…really!? Compared to what? Sitting on the couch….in that case yes! Try doing curls from the plank position with a towel with someone on the other end of the towel providing resistance. Now try that with one foot on an overturned BOSU!

    • thefitnesschronicle says:

      The point I ultimately was trying to make is that there is way too much of a focus on developing core strength. An extremely high percentage of those who are in the gym are there to lose fat and/or training for a better body. I’m also trying to help people utilize the basics. Sometimes trying to implement the latest super advanced move isn’t always the best nor the safest. I’ve seen some pretty crazy looking exercises/lifts in the gym ahhaha. Anyways, Doug over at Health Habits wrote a good summary on the issue of the bosu ball and core activation as well.
      He included the summary of the Eastern Illinois study if you don’t feel like reading through it. Summary “There is NO advantage in utilizing the BOSU Balance Trainer. With equal loads, there was no significant difference in core muscle activation between the BOSU and a solid platform.”

      Eastern Illinois study: http://tinyurl.com/3hzfbmw

  3. Ahmed says:

    I definitely don’t believe bosu balls are revolutionary pieces of fitness equipment at the level they are being used at now. But, if bosu balls had someone like Paul Chek (who popularized/revolutionized the swiss ball) come along, I do think they would be highly beneficial.

    I do also think they played a key role in my own physical therapy, helping me gain some strength and stability back.

    • thefitnesschronicle says:

      In regards to physical therapy I think they are great and have been beneficial for a lot of people. The problem I was trying to point out is that some of the exercises that people use for the bosu ball(as well as the swiss ball) really aren’t effective, nor do they provide the kind of benefit as “basic” strength training moves. I also needed to point this issue out because of the abundance of trainers that have their clients work out on these exercise balls for every move imaginable. I have seen a lot of dangerous, silly, and worthless, exercises being done in the name of “advanced and/or state of the art” training. Thanks for the comment Ahmed!

  4. Andrew says:

    As a PT, I feel that BOSU balls have their place in the clinic, but they certainly aren’t for everyone. I also don’t think its beneficial to be performing every exercises in your routine on a ball. Their great for dynamic balance and instability, but if you don’t know what you are doing, you’ll likely be causing more harm than good.

    I use them frequently with post-op patients to regain balance and stability. I also use them with the golfers I train for core strengthening and balance.

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