You can sometimes make exercises more effective by adding equipment options. Discover what Bosu bird dogs can do for you.
As the name implies, Bosu bird dogs are simply a variation of the bird dog exercise where you do the movement with a Bosu Ball. You can use this equipment option in a variety of ways.
The main trend in all of these ways to use a Bosu Ball in bird dogs is that your core muscles, balance skills, and coordination skills will have to work harder.
If the balance aspect is not too challenging, Bosu bird dogs can be slightly more effective than the regular version.
At the same time, you do want to keep in mind that Bosu bird dogs are still an isometric (static) core exercise that is mostly good for people who find more dynamic movements uncomfortable.
If you don’t mind these more dynamic core exercises they will typically offer more results in shorter amounts of time.
How to do a Bosu bird dog
Take the following steps to do one version of a Bosu bird dog with a good Bosu Ball:
- Put the Bosu Ball with the flat side on the ground.
- Sit on your hands and your knees on the Bosu Ball with your arms slightly less than stretched. Keep your neck in more or less a straight line with your upper body for comfort.
- Slowly stretch one leg backward and move the arm of the opposite side upward until both body parts are about horizontal. The main point of Bosu bird dogs is keeping your hips and shoulders at about the same angles throughout these movements.
- Lower your arm and leg so that you are back in starting position.
- Repeat the movement from step 3 with your other leg and your other arm.
You really want to pay attention to keeping your hips and shoulders at about the same angles during Bosu bird dogs. This is where the main benefits of the exercise come from.
It is possible that this is currently too hard to do. In that case, you can start with the regular bird dog exercise on a sturdy surface.
If the full Bosu bird dog is still too challenging after that, you can turn to variations where you only put one hand or knee on the Bosu Ball.
Another option is only putting your knees or only putting your hands on the Bosu Ball.
If you keep practicing these, the full version should become an option over time.
Bosu bird dogs muscles worked
All variations of Bosu bird dogs mainly work your oblique, ab, and erector spinae (lower back) muscles.
Your deltoids (shoulders), glutes (butt), and hamstrings (back thighs) have to work to a certain extent to raise your arms and legs.
By adding a Bosu Ball to bird dogs you mainly work the core muscles above to a larger extent.
This is because the uneven surface of the Bosu Ball makes it harder to keep your hips and shoulders at the same angles.
You do need to keep in mind that bird dogs are a relatively light core exercise. Even when you add the Bosu Ball.
That means you will likely mostly get better core muscle endurance, not growth. This is definitely still helpful but the difference is worth noting.
Additionally, Bosu bird dogs are still an isometric (static) exercise. These can be more comfortable but also tend to be less effective than more dynamic resistance training exercises.
In short, Bosu bird dogs can be helpful for people who need a light exercise to improve core muscle endurance. If you can deal with more challenging movements, these tend to offer more benefits.
Benefits of Bosu bird dogs
Bosu bird dogs are not the most effective exercise for everyone but it is still fair to say they offer some helpful benefits. A few examples are:
- Muscle endurance: Bosu bird dogs can help you improve endurance in core muscles like your abs, obliques, and erector spinae.
- May reduce or prevent back pain: Improving endurance in your core muscles can reduce or prevent back pain (1, 2). Since Bosu bird dogs are a relatively light exercise in this area, they can be great in certain situations.
- Balance & coordination: The Bosu Ball makes bird dogs more challenging in terms of balance and coordination. While this can be a downside too, it could also lead to improvements in these fitness skills.
These benefits are definitely not unique to Bosu bird dogs but for the right people and situations, this variation can be a great choice.
Bosu bird dog alternatives
From everything above and trying out the movement, you could conclude that your body can deal with more intense Bosu Ball core exercises and other alternatives.
Some examples of these other movements include:
- (Bosu) (side) Planks
- Dead bug exercise
- Plank variations
- Bridge exercise
- Pallof presses
- Crunches (if you have no back issues)
- Side bends (if you have no back issues)
- Good morning
Details like what core muscles you want to work, what your body can deal with, and what fitness equipment you have available will influence what Bosu bird dog alternatives are right for you.
Are Bosu bird dogs a good exercise?
Bosu bird dogs can be a good exercise for improving muscle endurance in people who find regular bird dogs too easy but more intense core exercises too hard.
It is important to note that there are many other more effective core exercises with and without Bosu Balls too.
If your body can deal with these more dynamic and/or intense alternatives, they can offer you more benefits in shorter amounts of time.
At the same time, personal preference matters to some extent too.
If you like doing Bosu bird dogs and find their positive effects good enough, it could be worth giving up a bit of effectiveness.