One of the benefits of Bosu Balls is that they can be used for many fitness components and muscles. There are even a few exercises that work your back muscles to some extent.
A Bosu Ball is basically the top of a stability ball attached to a flat surface. The first thing to note is that this piece of fitness equipment is generally not that great for back exercises. Especially compared to the alternatives.
Even if you don’t have any other specific fitness equipment besides the Bosu Ball, there are plenty of at-home back exercises you can do with everyday objects like a heavy backpack. These will typically be more effective.
That being said, there are still a few movements that can help you implement the Bosu Ball in your back workouts. These mostly focus on your lower back and erector spinae muscles.
1. 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 around your waist (including your lower back), erector spinae muscles, and to some extent upper back muscles to keep your hips and shoulders horizontally.
By doing this movement on a good Bosu Ball it becomes harder for these muscles to do so.
If the full Bosu Ball bird dog is currently too challenging for you, you can start with either only your hands or only your knees on the ball and the other body parts on the ground.
That being said, for more active individuals, bird dogs are more of a beginner Bosu Ball exercise that is not challenging enough for a lot of back muscle growth and strengthening.
2. Hip thrust
To do a Bosu Ball hip thrust with a dumbbell take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground on a steady surface. Sit in front of it with your back towards the ball.
- Lie down on the Bosu Ball with your upper back on the highest position. Put your feet flat on the ground at a distance where your lower legs are vertical in the next step. Pick up the dumbbell, place it on your hips, and hold it there.
- Slowly move up your hips in a controlled motion until your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Keep your neck and head in line with your upper body.
- Lower your hips again in a controlled motion until you are back in the position of step 2.
Bosu Ball hip thrusts are mostly a Bosu Ball glute and hamstring exercise but you also work your lower back and erector spinae muscles a nice amount. Especially if you hold a lot of extra weight on your hips.
This Bosu Ball exercise will be slightly more challenging for your lower back muscles than floor bridges due to the different angle.
Remember to raise your hips only up until you make a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Going further than a straight line in Bosu Ball hip thrusts can be uncomfortable for your back.
3. Supermans/back extensions
This next exercise is often called the Bosu Ball back extension but due to the height of the Bosu Ball, the movement resembles the floor superman exercise more. To do this exercise with a Bosu Ball take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat surface on the ground. Lie down on your stomach on the Bosu Ball with your arms and legs stretched and in one line with your body. Ideally, you want your hips on the top part of the Bosu Ball but you can adjust a bit for balance and comfort. Let your shoulders and legs hang down for now.
- Slowly raise your shoulders until your body is in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Keep your neck in lign with your upper body.
- Lower your body back into starting position in a controlled motion.
Bosu Ball back extensions/supermans mainly work your lower back and erector spinae muscles.
By putting your hips on the Bosu Ball, your back muscles go through a larger range of motion, the exercise becomes more comfortable, and you don’t have to hyperextend your back to have somewhat of a range of motion.
4. Reverse bridges
To do a reverse bridge with a Bosu Ball take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat surface on the floor. Sit right in front of it and put your heels on the top side of the ball part. Put your hands on the floor at an angle that is comfortable to you.
- Slowly lift your hips off the ground and walk back with your hands until your body is in a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Keep your shoulders pushed down a small amount throughout the exercise instead of letting them come up to your ears. Adjust the ankle of your hands if needed and keep them under your shoulders.
- Lower your hips again in a controlled motion.
Reverse bridges mainly work your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, erector spinae, and to some extent your upper back muscles.
You can also put the Bosu Ball under your hands but this will work your back muscles less and focus more on balance.
5. 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 something 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.
Glute bridges are somewhat similar to hip thrusts. However, by putting the Bosu Ball under your feet instead of under your shoulders, you shift the focus more towards your glutes and hamstrings and away from your back muscles.
Similar to hip thrusts you can hold some form of weight on your hips to make Bosu Ball glute bridges more challenging.