There are many different ways to improve your current exercise routine. What about doing Bosu Ball squats, what will the effects be?
Bosu Ball squats are a variation of regular bodyweight squats where you do the exercise on a Bosu Ball. You can describe the Bosu Ball as the top of a stability ball attached to a flat surface.
By doing this you focus more on your balance fitness component and less on strengthening your muscles. Bosu Ball squats still train muscles like quadriceps, glutes, and calves to some extent but if this is your goal weighted regular squats or other leg exercises are generally more effective.
Whether you should Bosu Ball 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 squat
There are two main ways to do a Bosu Ball squat. The version in the walkthrough below puts the round part of a good Bosu Ball on the ground. To do a Bosu Ball squat take the following steps:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the rounded part on the ground on a steady surface. Stand in front of it.
- Put one foot on the Bosu Ball.
- Put your second foot on the Bosu Ball and move your feet to about shoulder width apart.
- 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 your hips to be at or lower than your knee height. You will likely have to bend forward for balance.
- Push yourself up again into starting position by stretching your legs.
The main attention point when doing Bosu Ball squats is keeping your back more or less straight. Especially if you do this exercise with weights.
If the full Bosu Ball squat is currently too hard for you, you can start by lowering your body only a small amount.
You can also do a Bosu Ball squat with the flat part on the ground. This will make the exercise more challenging for your ankles.
Muscles worked with Bosu Ball squats
With any exercise you will almost always make a variety of different muscles work, especially with a compound leg exercise like Bosu Ball squats. Even so, there are a few muscles that will have to work the hardest for moving and keeping your body in position.
Bous Ball squats mainly target your glutes and quadriceps. Your calf and hamstring muscles may have to work to a certain extent. Besides that, muscles like erector spinae and core may have to work a small amount too.
The way you build muscle in places like your legs is by engaging 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 adding extra resistance to exercises like Bosu Ball squats you are better able to damage the muscles in a shorter amount of time. If you don’t overdo it, give your body enough nutrients, and give your muscles enough rest this can in turn lead to faster and more leg muscle gain.
One downside of Bosu Ball squats is that it is hard to make the bodyweight version more challenging. This means that for individuals more advanced with leg resistance training, Bosu Ball squats may be too easy to get a lot of results.
Even for leg resistance training beginners, the balancing required will take attention away from training your leg muscles as much as possible compared to regular bodyweight squats.
Depending on your personal situation, workout plan, and training goals, using a Bosu Ball for squats may be a good or bad idea.
Benefits of Bosu Ball squats
Some people question how useful this exercise can be but adding Bosu Ball squats to your routine can offer you some amazing benefits.
While Bosu Ball squats have more of a balance focus, most of their benefits are similar to regular squats. Some of the most important ones include:
- Stronger muscles: Bosu Ball squats are a type of resistance training that can help you strengthen your leg muscles.
- Can help with losing weight: Doing Bosu Ball 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.
- Improves mood: Exercise like Bosu Ball squats promotes the release of substances that help you feel good.
- Balance & coordination: Balance & coordination are fitness skills that can be improved by challenging them. Bosu Ball squats can help you with this.
- Improves sleep: Exercise like Bosu Ball squats can improve the quality and duration of your sleep which in turn offers many important benefits.
- Slows down aging: Bosu Ball 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 squats, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one activity to your routine.
The main thing to keep in mind is that Bosu Ball 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 knee pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before implementing Bosu Ball 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 squats are not (yet) for you.
Bosu Ball squat alternatives
While Bosu Ball 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 squat alternatives include:
- Other squat variations
- Balance board exercises
Which one of these options is the best depends on things like your personal situation, training goals, the equipment you have available, etc.
Many people will benefit a lot from adding Bosu Ball squats with the right technique to their routine. That being said, most people will stop seeing a lot of muscle growth and strength progress relatively soon because bodyweight Bosu Ball squats will become too easy.
You likely want to switch to bodyweight leg exercises focused on one leg at a time, other weighted squat variations, or other weighted leg exercises as soon as possible for more muscle growth in a shorter amount of time.
If you are looking for a combination of training balance and engaging your leg muscles to some extent, Bosu Ball squats can be a good choice anyway.
Another thing you need to remember is that doing Bosu Ball 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 knee pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before doing more Bosu Ball 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 squats is a workout you love, great.
If not, squat alternatives and other exercises can also offer a lot of benefits.
If you do decide to implement more Bosu Ball squats make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles.