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?
(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.
(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.