The Bosu Ball can help you prepare for and improve a variety of other sports. More specifically, there are plenty of Bosu Ball exercises for runners.
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.
A Bosu Ball can be good for runners to strengthen their leg muscles (including ankles), strengthen core muscles, improve coordination, and improve balance.
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.
You can also do Bosu Ball lunges by putting the ball under your back foot. This will put slightly more of your body weight on your other leg.
Both versions are Bosu Ball leg exercises that can help you grow and strengthen your leg muscles. On top of this, you get some extra ankle, balance, and coordination training by using the Bosu Ball.
To make the exercise even more challenging you can do weighted lunges by holding some type of weight or wearing a weighted vest. This can lead to faster and more muscle gains.
Training your leg muscle endurance and strength can help you run faster for longer.
2. Calf raises
To do a Bosu Ball calf raise take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground.
- Stand up straight with the front of your feet on the highest part of the Bosu Ball.
- 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 a balance and ankle exercise. These fitness areas will be especially useful in trail running competitions where the running surface is uneven and you have to make short turns every once in a while.
That being said, even while running on a concrete street, extra balance and ankle strength will be useful.
To do a Bosu Ball V-up take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground.
- Lie down on the Bosu Ball with the top part of the ball under your lower back with your legs stretched and right next to each other on the ground. You can hold your arms against your chest if you are relatively new to ab training, stretched above your head if you are more experienced.
- Keep your legs slightly less than stretched while you move them up slowly. At the same time curl up your upper body starting with your shoulders and continuing with the rest of your back until your upper body makes a V-shape with your legs. Make sure you use your abs and not the momentum of your arms to power the movement.
- Slowly lower your legs and upper body again. If you will do more repetitions you can keep your feet hovering just above the ground. If you are done you can lower your legs to the ground.
Bosu Ball V-ups are a core exercise that works both your obliques and abs. By using the ball in V-ups your core muscles can go through a larger range of motion.
This is generally helpful for muscle growth and strength progress. Additionally, you train your balance a bit more.
Runners often go straight to leg exercises for cross-training. However, the core muscles also have to be strong enough to keep the body upright. The Bosu Ball can help you with this.
4. Standing on one leg
The next exercise is relatively straightforward. You simply put a good Bosu Ball with its flat side on the ground and stand on it without shoes on one leg that is slightly less than bent.
Doing this mainly trains your balance and to some extent ankle and leg muscle strength.
To make standing on the Bosu Ball more challenging you can add extra arm and leg movements, turn the Bosu Ball around, or both.
Try to do about the same duration and intensity on each leg to keep your balance skills symmetrical.
5. Step-up knee drives
To do a Bosu Ball step-up knee drive 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 center of the Bosu Ball.
- 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.
- Lift the leg in the air all the way until your upper leg is horizontal or as far as comfortable.
- Lower the leg in the air back to the ground and step down with the foot that is on the Bosu Ball.
- Repeat the same movement with the other foot first.
Regular Bosu Ball step-ups are usually done in a slower way that focuses more on muscle strength and endurance. By skipping a step and adding a knee drive you can really pick up the pace to challenge your cardiovascular system.
Additionally, you work your balance, coordination, and hip flexors a nice amount.
6. Lateral Lunges
To do a Bosu Ball lateral lunge take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground. Stand up straight on the round part of the Ball.
- Take a big step sideways with one leg to the ground. At the end of this step the knee of the leg that took the step is preferably at about a 90-degree angle or as low as comfortable. The upper leg of this side points forward in the same direction as your feet. The leg that stands on the Bosu Ball is slightly less than stretched. Bending over a bit is normal but try to keep a straight back especially if you add weights.
- Slowly move your body back into the position of step 1 by pushing with the folded leg.
- Repeat the same movement with your other foot taking the step.
Lateral lunges work your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, inner thighs, and outer thighs. By using a Bosu Ball, more of your body weight rests on these muscles.
In turn, this can lead to more muscle growth and strengthening faster and with that, hopefully faster running speed and/or more endurance.
If needed you can make Bosu Ball lateral lunges even more challenging by holding weights or wearing a weighted vest.
7. 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.
The hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles play an important role when running. These first two muscles drive you forward and the lower back muscles help keep you upright.
Bosu Ball glute bridges are an exercise that focuses on growing and strengthening these body parts. Elevating your feet with the Bosu Ball influences a few things.
First of all, your glutes and hamstrings have to go through a slightly larger range of motion. Secondly, the Bosu Ball version focuses slightly more on the hamstrings.
Lastly, because of the somewhat unstable surface, you work your core muscles a tiny amount more.
8. Russian twists
To do a Bosu Ball Russian twist take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground.
- Sit down on the Bosu Ball with your butt in the middle of the ball, legs bent at the knees and your feet hovering above the ground. Make sure your spine is straight and at about a 45-degree angle with the ground throughout the exercise.
- Slightly twist your upper body to one side and then the other in a controlled motion.
- Return to starting position.
Make sure you don’t twist too far and keep your back straight to avoid any injuries. Even with the right technique, Bosu Ball Russian twists are not for everyone.
If you are able to do this exercise successfully, it can help you train core muscles like your abs and obliques. Even more so by adding the Bosu Ball.
Stronger core muscles help you keep your body upright during running sessions and they are helpful when making short turns.
9. Mountain climbers
To do a Bosu Ball mountain climber take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the round part on the ground and sit in front of it on your knees with your hands on the sides of the flat surface.
- Move your feet back until your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels. This means that your knees will be off the ground and that you are resting on your hands and feet. Keep your shoulders above your hands.
- Move the knee of one leg forward to your chest as far as you comfortably can. Keep your body straight from the heel of the stretched leg to your head throughout the movement.
- Return that leg to the position in step 2.
- Repeat the same movement with your other leg.
Bosu Ball mountain climbers are mostly a cardiovascular exercise but by using the Bosu Ball, you work your oblique muscles more. Additionally, you still work your hip flexors, abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps to some extent.
To really train these muscles there are better exercises. However, this combination can be a fun way to get in a cardio workout with an extra touch, for example, when the weather outside is not suited for running.
10. Side-to-side step-ups
To do Bosu Ball side-to-side step-ups take the following steps:
- Put a Bosu Ball with its flat side on the ground. Stand upright next to the ball with one shoulder towards it.
- Raise the foot closest to the Bosu Ball and put it on the farthest side of the ball. Make sure your sole is entirely on the surface of the round part.
- Raise your body by exerting pressure with the leg of the foot that is on the Bosu Ball.
- Put your second foot on the closest side of the Bosu Ball.
- Step down with the first foot on the ground on the opposite side of the starting position.
- Step down with the second foot.
- Repeat the same movement with the other leg first.
This Bosu Ball exercise for runners is a great way to challenge ankle muscles and balance. You also engage your outer thigh, inner thigh, quadricep, glute, hamstring, and calf muscles to some extent.
All of these muscles and fitness areas play a role during running sessions in one way or another.
You can hold weights or wear a weighted vest to make side-to-side step-ups more challenging. This can lead to more balance training, muscle growth, muscle endurance, and muscle strength.