Certain Bosu Ball exercises may look scary at first. Luckily, there are plenty of beginner exercises that help you get used to the Bosu Ball and already offer some health benefits.
You can describe the Bosu Ball as the top of a stability ball attached to a flat surface. This piece of equipment can be used in a variety of Bosu Ball exercises to train many fitness components.
Besides starting with some of the easier movements, Bosu Ball beginners can also benefit from holding a sturdy object during certain exercises.
By holding a wall, strong partner, or any other stable thing, you can build up your fitness skills in a safer way.
1. Standing on two legs
To do the first and all the other beginner exercises on this list you will obviously need a good Bosu Ball. Once you have that, you simply put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground and stand on it with your bare feet.
For more active individuals this likely sounds and is too easy. However, since it is the starting point for so many other movements, it doesn’t hurt to get an idea of how challenging just standing on the Bosu Ball is.
Standing on the round part of the Bosu Ball works both your ankle muscles and balance a nice amount. On top of just standing, you can shift your weight around to get a better feel of this piece of fitness equipment.
Once that becomes too easy, you can turn the Bosu Ball around and stand on the flat part. This will be more challenging when it comes to balance and easier for your ankle muscles.
2. Toe raises
Toe raises take regular standing a beginner-friendly step further. To do this exercise you stand on the round part of the Bosu Ball and simply raise the front parts of your feet.
Because part of your feet is in the air, the exercise becomes a bit more challenging when it comes to balance and strengthens your ankles a bit more.
3. Glute bridges
To do a Bosu Ball glute bridge take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground. If you have a soft surface like a yoga mat put it in front of the ball.
- Lie on your back on the floor or other soft surface right in front of the Bosu Ball. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width on the ball. If you want to, hold any weights on your body at the hip level. If not put your arms at your sides for balance.
- Move up your hips in a controlled motion until your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Make sure your arms are only used for balance, not for pushing yourself up.
- Slowly lower your body again.
Similar to regular glute bridges, the Bosu Ball version mainly works your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and erector spinae. Both are relatively easy and straightforward exercises.
By putting your feet on the Bosu Ball, your glutes and hamstrings have to go through a slightly larger range of motion. This is generally helpful for muscle growth and strengthening.
Additionally, because of the somewhat unstable surface, Bosu Ball glute bridges work your core muscles more.
To do a Bosu Ball squat take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground on a steady surface. Stand in front of it.
- Put one foot on the Bosu Ball.
- Put your second foot on the Bosu Ball and move your feet to about shoulder width apart.
- Slowly lower your hips by bending your knees. How far depends on different factors like knee health but at your lowest point you ideally want your hips to be at or lower than your knee height. You will likely have to bend forward for balance.
- Push yourself up again into starting position by stretching your legs.
Bosu Ball squats can be done in two main ways. The version above with the flat part on the ground will be the best to start with for Bosu Ball beginners.
Once you have mastered that version you can consider the harder version with the round part on the ground. This one will be more challenging when it comes to balance.
To do a Bosu Ball plank take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the rounded part on the ground on a steady surface. Sit on your knees in front of it.
- Put your slightly less than stretched arms on the flat surface of the Bosu Ball.
- Move your feet back until your legs are stretched and your upper arms at about a 90-degree angle to the ground. Keep your hands right below your shoulders and your back straight.
- Hold this position of an extended period of time.
Similar to many of the other exercises, there are different ways to do a Bosu Ball plank. The walkthrough above puts the Bosu Ball with the round part on the ground with your hands on the flat surface.
You can also put the ball under your feet. Both versions will engage your oblique muscles more than the regular version.
If the full body version is currently too challenging you can also combine more beginner-friendly plank progressions with the Bosu Ball.
To do a Bosu Ball crunch take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground on a steady surface. Sit in front of it.
- Lie down on the Bosu Ball so that it is positioned against your lower back. Put your hands against your chest, the side of your head, or stretch your arms.
- Raise your head and shoulders as much as possible while keeping your lower back on the Bosu Ball. Make sure you don’t use your arms but your ab muscles to do this movement.
- Lower your head and shoulders until you are back in the position of step 2.
Bosu Ball crunches are a relatively basic but powerful Bosu Ball exercise to train your ab muscles. By increasing the range of motion with the Bosu ball, this version becomes slightly more effective than the floor version.
For Bosu Ball lunges you generally put the Bosu Ball with the flat surface on the ground. After that, you can put the Bosu Ball under either your front or back foot.
To do a Bosu Ball lunge with your front foot on the ball take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground on a steady surface. Stand in front of it.
- Put one foot on the middle of the rounded part of the Bosu Ball. Put your other foot at a distance where you can achieve the desired angles in the next step. Horizontally speaking you want your feet to be about shoulder width apart or slightly wider for balance.
- Slowly lower your hips by bending your knees. How far depends on different factors like knee health but at your lowest point you ideally want both your front knee and your front thigh to your body at about 90-degree angles. You can use your arms for balance if needed.
- Push yourself up again into starting position by stretching your legs. Your front leg will likely carry most of the weight.
- Repeat the same number of repetitions with your other leg on the ball.
Lunges on the Bosu Ball will mainly help strengthen your legs. Additionally, you will strengthen your ankles and improve your balance to some extent.
This exercise is mostly beginner-friendly in terms of balance and ankle muscle engagement. Lunges can be a relatively challenging leg exercise for some people.
8. Calf raises with balance support
This next exercise is not the most challenging but if you are new to Bosu Ball training you may need some balance support like for example a wall. To do a Bosu Ball calf raise with balance support take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground next to a sturdy wall.
- Stand up straight with the front of your feet on the highest part of the Bosu Ball. Hold the wall throughout the exercise for balance.
- Slowly raise your heels as far as comfortable.
- Lower your heels back to the Bosu Ball in a controlled motion.
While this movement is a Bosu Ball calf exercise to some extent, to train these muscles you typically have to use a lot of extra weight. This is not really an option with the balance requirements of the Bosu Ball version.
In practice, Bosu Ball calf raises will be more of an ankle and balance exercise. Once you are up for it, you can try out this exercise without holding the wall.
To do a Bosu Ball step-up take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground. Stand upright in front of the ball facing toward it.
- Raise one foot and put it on the Bosu Ball. Make sure your sole is entirely on the surface but a bit on the side so you can stand in a balanced way in the next steps.
- Raise your body by exerting pressure with the leg of the foot that is on the Bosu Ball. Make sure the upper leg is doing most, preferably all, of the lifting.
- Put your second foot next to the other one.
- Step down with the first foot.
- Step down with the second foot.
- Do a repetition with the other foot first.
Step-ups are somewhat more challenging than most of the options on this list because you spend some time standing on one leg. That being said, most people should still be able to do this Bosu Ball exercise.
Similar to calf raises, you can do Bosu Ball step-ups with some balance support if they are currently too challenging.
10. Bird dogs
To do a Bosu ball bird dog take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat side on the ground.
- Sit on the Bosu Ball on your hands and your knees with your arms slightly less than stretched. Look down to the ground throughout the exercise so your neck is in a straight line with your body.
- Slowly move one foot away from your body until your stretched leg is in a straight line with the rest of your body. At the same time raise the arm of the opposite side until it is in a straight line with your body. So if you choose your right leg, raise your left arm at the same time. Keep your hips and shoulders horizontal throughout the movement.
- Return to starting position in a controlled motion.
- Repeat the same movement with the arm and leg on the other sides.
In the bird dog exercise you engage your core muscles to keep your hips and shoulders horizontally. By using a Bosu Ball even more so.
For some beginners the full Bosu Ball bird dog is currently too challenging. If that is the case, you can start with either only your hands or only your knees on the ball and the other body parts on the ground.
11. Side-to-side rocking
To do the side-to-side rocking exercise you shift your weight from one side to the other while standing on a Bosu Ball with your two legs.
This exercise can be done on both sides of the Bosu Ball but if you are new to this piece of fitness equipment you likely want to start with the flat surface on the ground.
You can start with very small movements and build up from there if side-to-side rocking looks and feels a bit too hard for your current skill level.
This Bosu Ball exercise will train your balance and coordination more than just standing on two legs.