There are a variety of weird-looking fitness devices that don’t always deliver on their promises. Find out whether Bosu Balls actually offer any benefits.
One thing to note before going into the positive points is that the Bosu Ball will add an extra challenge for your ankles and balance.
If you push it too far when using a Bosu Ball, this can be a downside too.
1. Bosu Balls can improve balance and coordination
Not everyone is aware of it but balance and coordination are skills you can train to some extent.
A Bosu Ball can improve balance and coordination by challenging you in these areas. As you make more and more “mistakes”, your body learns what movements result in what things.
One small study looked at the impact on 44 elderly individuals of 12 weeks of exercises with a Bosu Ball and exercise ball twice a week compared to doing nothing.
They concluded that these exercises and Bosu Ball exercises can lead to an improvement in balance and decreased risk of falling (1).
This benefit of Bosu Balls is not just helpful in your other workouts. Having better balance and coordination can reduce your risk of accidents in many daily activities too.
2. Bous Balls can help prevent injury
The first thing to keep in mind when talking about this benefit of Bosu Balls is that you need to use them in a way that does not get you injured in the first place.
Once that is checked off doing Bosu Ball exercises may help you reduce your injury risk. Especially in places like your ankles and wrists (2).
This reduced injury risk is the consequence of a few different reasons.
First of all the Bosu Ball can simply strengthen body parts like your ankles and wrists which makes them more robust and better able to deal with strains without breaking down.
Secondly, as mentioned above, Bosu Ball exercises can benefit your coordination. In turn, this can help you avoid misplacing body parts like your feet which can result in injury.
Falling is also just an easy way to get injured. By improving your balance you reduce your risk of falling and in turn your risk of injury.
In short, Bosu Ball exercises can help people reduce their injury risk. This benefit applies to everyone ranging from college athletes to inactive elderly individuals.
3. Some Bosu Ball exercises help you build or preserve muscle
Building and preserving muscle is often not the main goal of Bosu Ball workouts but you can still get these benefits from doing certain exercises.
Exactly what muscles Bosu Balls work more depends on the movement you do. This can range from ankles all the way to your shoulders when doing something like a Bosu Ball pushup.
In some cases, like the crunch exercise, using a Bosu Ball can actually increase your muscle engagement and results.
On the flip side, you also need to know that something like a Bosu Ball squat is typically less effective for building and preserving muscle than the weighted version on a regular surface.
4. Bosu Balls can make certain exercises more effective
As briefly mentioned, using a good Bosu Ball can make certain exercises more effective and in turn, more time-efficient.
For example, one study measured that doing weighted sit-ups with a Bosu Ball under the lower back increase ab muscle engagement (3).
Interestingly enough they also observed that bodyweight Bosu Ball sit-ups engaged oblique muscles less compared to bodyweight sit-ups on the ground. However, ab muscle engagement remained similar.
Another study observed that crunches with the lower back against an exercise ball engaged abs and obliques more compared to regular crunches (4).
You will likely get a similar effect from the rounded part of the Bosu Ball.
In short, there are cases, typically in Bosu Ball core exercises, where this piece of equipment can benefit your workout results.
5. Bosu Ball workouts can improve cognitive performance
Another benefit of balance training and thus Bosu Ball exercises to a certain extent is that they can help you improve your cognitive function (6, 7).
One study divided 40 participants into either a balance or relaxation training control group. Each group exercised twice a week for 12 weeks.
They observed that the balance training improved memory and spatial cognition without improving cardiorespiratory fitness (8).
This lack of improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness is interesting because more cardio-focused exercise generally improves cognitive performance as well (9, 10, 11).
In turn, there may be something unique to balance training in terms of improving cognitive performance.
Adding balance workouts, with or without a Bosu Ball, on top of a cardiovascular and resistance training routine could potentially offer extra benefits.
Better cognitive performance can be helpful for areas like your studies, job, etc.
6. Bosu Ball workouts can improve athletic performance
Implementing balance and ankle strengthening exercises with Bosu balls into your preparation training routine can help you improve performance in moments when it really matters.
Most physical competitions involve balance, coordination, not falling, ankle strength, and cognitive performance in one way or another.
Bosu Ball exercises can help with these things so you can say they can benefit athletic performance at least to some extent.
7. Bosu Balls are relatively compact
There are pieces of exercise equipment that can be very beneficial and even reasonable in price but are just too big for the average home.
On the flip side, you can do your Bosu Ball workouts, potentially outside if needed, and then store the equipment wherever you have space.
You could likely even store your Bosu Ball under your bed.
8. Bosu Balls add variety to your workouts
Even if you are mainly interested in the health benefits of exercising more, paying attention to what activities you find enjoyable can be helpful.
This is because having an exercise routine you find fun tends to make it easier to stay consistent.
While Bosu Balls are not the best option for every fitness goal out there, you can definitely say they are relatively unique.
Changing up your exercise routine with this unusual equipment and other Bosu Ball alternatives can be a fun thing in itself.
What is the point of a BOSU ball?
The main points of a BOSU ball are strengthening ankles and wrists, adding a balance aspect to exercises, and adding some variety to your workouts.