Sometimes pieces of fitness equipment can make exercises more effective. Discover how to do Bosu ball sit-ups and whether they are good.
As you can expect, Bosu Ball sit-ups are a variation of regular sit-ups where you do the exercise while lying on a Bosu Ball.
By doing this, you increase the range of motion of your abs and hip flexors. In turn, this should make the Bosu Ball version slightly more effective than regular sit-ups for working these muscles.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that one study only measured increased ab muscle engagement when doing Bosu Ball sit-ups with extra weights. Not with just body weight.
This would be counterintuitive and studies are not always perfect so you can assume Bosu Ball sit-ups will still be slightly better than the regular version but other studies could confirm this finding.
How to do a Bosu Ball sit-up
Most people only need a good Bosu Ball to do this exercise. Advanced lifters can also consider adding weights like a dumbbell, a kettlebell, or a sandbag.
Once you have the required gear, take the following steps to do a Bosu ball sit-up:
- Put the Bosu Ball on the ground with the flat part down.
- Sit on/against the Bosu Ball so that it rests against your lower back. Keep your hands against your chest and your feet flat on the ground.
- Curl up your upper body until your chest is close to your knees. Start with your shoulders first and slowly raise more and more of your spine off the Bosu ball. Keep your movements slow so that your abs power the movements.
- Slowly curl down your body again in the opposite directions of step 2. That means your lower back touches the Bosu Ball first etc.
You really want to bend your spine in sit-ups to work your ab muscles. If you keep your spine straight, you mainly work your hip flexors instead.
As mentioned, don’t use the swinging of your shoulders to move your body. Your abs should be the muscles behind the sit-up movement.
Muscles worked with Bosu Ball sit-ups
The main muscles worked in Bosu Ball sit-ups are your abs and hip flexors. You can also say your obliques have to work to some extent.
People who are familiar with the muscles regular sit-ups work will notice that these are the same.
And while this is the case, Bosu Ball sit-ups should be slightly more effective thanks to the bigger range of motion your abs and hip flexors go through.
At the same time, you do want to know about one study which compared core muscle activation between sit-ups on the ground vs sit-ups with the lower back on a Bosu Ball.
They measured this with both bodyweight and weighted sit-ups.
In the bodyweight comparison, they observed less oblique muscle engagement and similar ab muscle engagement in the Bosu Ball sit-up compared to the ground sit-up.
In the weighted comparison, they observed that Bosu Ball sit-ups cause more ab muscle engagement compared to sit-ups on a sturdy surface (1).
These results are counterintuitive and studies are not always perfect so until there is more evidence you can still assume Bosu Ball sit-ups will generally be more effective than the regular version.
Lastly, keep in mind that you still need to pressure your muscles with enough weight and reps. Some people will want to add weights to Bosu Ball sit-ups.
Benefits of Bosu Ball sit-ups
Bosu Ball sit-ups can make your life better in a variety of ways. While most of these ways or similar to the benefits of regular sit-ups, there is also a more unique aspect.
- Stronger muscles: Doing Bosu Ball sit-ups in a smart training routine can help you grow and strengthen your abs and potentially obliques.
- May reduce or prevent back pain: Making your abs stronger with Bosu Ball sit-ups can reduce and prevent back pain (2, 3). You do want to be careful with Bosu Ball sit-ups if you already have issues in this area and potentially talk to an expert first.
- Can make your six-pack more visible: Growing your ab muscles with Bosu Ball sit-ups can make your six-pack more visible if your body fat percentage is low enough. Many people will find this a visual benefit.
- Bigger range of motion: By adding the Bosu Ball below your lower back your abs and hip flexors can go through larger range of motions. This is generally beneficial for muscle growth and strength progress.
- Could make daily activities easier: Your abs and obliques play big roles in keeping your upper body right. Bosu Ball sit-ups could make daily activities like standing up and walking around easier.
While Bosu Ball sit-ups are not unique in these benefits, they are still a great option for getting these.
Bosu Ball sit-up alternatives
You could also conclude that you like the benefits of Bosu Ball sit-ups but not the exercise itself.
In that case, you can consider a variety of other Bosu Ball core exercises and other alternatives instead. Some of these include:
- Crunches (with or without Bosu Ball)
- Bicycle crunches
- Regular sit-ups
- Ab wheel roll-outs
Details like what muscles you want to work and what exercise equipment you have available will influence your decision between these Bosu Ball sit-up alternatives a lot.
Are Bosu Ball sit-ups a good exercise?
Bosu Ball sit-ups can be a good exercise for working your abs and hip flexors.
Compared to regular sit-ups, these muscles will go through a larger range of motion thanks to the Bosu Ball.
Since this is generally good for muscle growth and strength progress, you can say that the Bosu Ball is a helpful piece of sit-up exercise equipment.
Keep in mind that seeing results from Bosu Ball sit-ups still requires you to do enough repetitions with enough resistance.
Additionally, there are many other good Bosu Ball sit-up alternatives. If you like doing these and their results more, they could be better options.
For example, something like Bosu Ball crunches focuses more on your abs alone which some people will prefer.