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Bosu Ball Pistol Squats: How To, Alternatives,…

There are many different ways to improve your current exercise routine. What about doing Bosu Ball pistol squats, what will the effects be?

Bosu Ball pistol squats are a variation of the exercise with the same name where you stand on one side of a Bosu Ball. You can describe the Bosu Ball as the top of a stability ball attached to a flat surface.

By using a Bosu Ball instead of a sturdy surface the exercise focuses more on your ankle muscles, balance, and slightly more on your core muscles.

The main downside is that it becomes harder to use extra weights and do the exercise properly for muscle growth and strength progress.

If your main goal is to strengthen your leg muscles you likely want to stick to the regular version. To train balance, coordination, and ankle muscles the Bosu Ball version can be a great choice.

Whether you should Bosu Ball pistol squats or alternatives to your routine ultimately depends on things like your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals.

How to do a Bosu Ball pistol squat

As the name implies, to do Bosu Ball pistol squats you need a good Bosu Ball. Once you have that, to do a Bosu Ball pistol squat take the following steps:

  1. Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground. Stand up straight on it with slightly less than stretched legs.
  2. Raise one foot off the Bosu Ball. Stretch the leg of the foot in the air and point it forward.
  3. Slowly lower your hips by folding your support leg. Use your arms for balance if needed.
  4. How low you should go depends on different factors like knee health but ideally at your lowest point you want your hips to be at or lower than knee height.
  5. Slowly push yourself up again.
  6. Do the same number of repetitions with your other leg.

Make sure to do the same number of repetitions with each leg first to keep your muscle distribution and balance skills symmetrical.

Additionally, you should first master regular pistol squats. You could hold an object for balance during the Bosu version but this would remove the main goal of this variation.

Next, you can also turn the Bosu Ball upside down and do pistol squats that way. This will be even more challenging when it comes to balance.

To make Bosu Ball pistol squats harder for both your muscles and balance you can hold weights or wear a good weighted vest.

Bosu Ball pistol squats muscles worked

Bosu Ball pistol squats mainly work your ankle, quadricep, glute, hamstring, inner thigh, outer thigh, and calf muscles. Additionally, your core muscles will have to work a small amount too.

Compared to pistol squats on a sturdy elevated surface, the Bosu Ball version focuses more on your ankle muscles and you engage your core muscles a tiny amount more due to the unstable surface.

The main downside of Bosu Ball pistol squats is that you can use a lot less extra weight or do fewer repetitions because of the balance challenge.

To build muscle in places like your legs you have to engage these muscles so that they get damaged enough.

This may sound counterintuitive but this damaging makes it so your body repairs these muscles, and adds a bit more to be better prepared to exert similar efforts in the future.

If you stick to exercises with the same weight, as your muscles become stronger this same effort may not damage your muscles enough to promote extra muscle growth.

By being able to use less weight because of the Bosu Ball, it becomes harder to grow and strengthen your leg muscles with pistol squats.

You can still use weights and build leg muscle with Bosu Ball pistol squats but there are more effective exercises for this specific goal.

Depending on your personal situation, workout plan, and training goals, Bosu Ball pistol squats may be a good or bad addition.

If you do decide to do weighted Bosu Ball pistol squats you want to keep the Bosu Ball weight limits in mind. The standard “Original” at-home option from the Bosu brand has a 300 lbs weight capacity. Other models can vary.

Bosu Ball pistol squats benefits

Bosu Ball pistol squats may not be the best exercise to build muscle mass but adding this exercise to your routine can still offer you some helpful benefits. Some of the most important ones include:

  1. Stronger muscles: Bosu Ball pistol squats are a type of resistance training that can help you strengthen a variety of leg muscles.
  2. Can help with losing weight: Doing Bosu Ball pistol squats likely requires more energy than your regular daily activities. Extra muscle mass also helps with burning more calories. Both of these aspects can help with, but are no guarantee for, weight loss.
  3. Improves mood: Exercise like Bosu Ball pistol squats promotes the release of substances that help you feel good.
  4. Balance & coordination: Balance & coordination are fitness skills that can be improved by challenging them. Bosu Ball pistol squats can help you with this to some extent
  5. Improves sleep: Exercise like Bosu Ball pistol squats can improve the quality and duration of your sleep which in turn offers many important benefits.
  6. May improve athletic performance: Bosu Ball pistol squats can help you strengthen important leg muscles. This can lead to an improvement in sports where you benefit from fast running.
  7. Slows down aging: Bosu Ball pistol squats won’t influence how many days have passed since you were born. However, exercise can slow down the progress of certain aging markers that are correlated with negative health effects.

While inevitably many workouts are better for some of these benefits than Bosu Ball pistol squats, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one activity to your routine.

Potential risks

The main thing to keep in mind is that Bosu Ball pistol squats can be hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and back, even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any ankle or knee pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before implementing Bosu Ball pistol squats in your workout routine.

If you feel pain in any body parts it may be a sign you are overdoing it. In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, a less intense workout schedule, or it may be a sign that Bosu Ball pistol squats are not (yet) for you.

Bosu Ball pistol squat alternatives

While Bosu Ball pistol squats can be a good addition to your workout routine, there are also some alternatives available for training similar aspects of your physical health. Some of these Bosu Ball pistol squat alternatives include:

  • Regular pistol squats
  • (Bosu Ball) Squats
  • (Bosu Ball) step-ups
  • (Bosu Ball) Lunges
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Standing on a Bosu Ball on one leg
  • Leg extensions

Which one of these options is the best depends on things like your personal situation, training goals, the equipment you have available, etc.

Conclusion

Many people can benefit from adding Bosu Ball pistol squats to their routine once they have enough strength and balance skills.

Bosu Ball pistol squats will mostly be good for training balance and ankle strength but this exercise could help you grow and strengthen your leg muscles to some extent.

You likely need to hold extra weights during Bosu Ball pistol squats to achieve this last goal.

That being said, for optimal leg muscle growth and strengthening there are better exercises than Bosu Ball pistol squats.

Additionally, remember that doing Bosu Ball pistol squats can be hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and back, even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any ankle or knee pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before doing more Bosu Ball pistol squats.

Also keep in mind that consistency is an important factor for any workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently.

If doing Bosu Ball pistol squats is a workout you love, great. If not, pistol squat alternatives and other exercises can also offer a lot of benefits.

If you do decide to implement more Bosu Ball pistol squats make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles.

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Matt Claes

Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.

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