Everything You Need to Know About the BOSU Balance Trainer

People abs on BOSU
Getty Images/Eliza Snow

The Bottom Line

The BOSU Balance Trainer, a piece of equipment that looks like an exercise ball has been cut in half, is so versatile, you can use it for almost anything:  Cardio workouts, strength training, sports drills, core training, balance training and even yoga and flexibility exercises.  Plus?  It's actually fun!

Here's why you should get yourself a BOSU.


  • Unique and Versatile - You can use the BOSU to train for multiple disciplines - Cardio, strength, balance, agility, stability, core strength and more
  • Anyone can use the BOSU, whether you're a beginner (who might want to start with simple exercises, like compressions) or more advanced (who can go nuts with squat jumps)
  • Balance and Stability - You work on things other pieces of equipment can't do, like your stability muscles and proprioception, which is a fancy word for sensing where your body is in space.  I know that seems weird, but if you don't have a good sense of joint position, that can lead to injuries
  • It's fun - How many things can you bounce up and down on and call it exercise? 


  • A little pricey - It isn't the cheapest piece of equipment, typically costing around $99 or more, so it may be more than some exercisers want to spend
  • Confusing - It can be confusing to know exactly what to do with this thing, although it does come with a video and there are tons of other BOSU videos out there as well.  You can also check out some of my BOSU workouts, like this Beginner BOSU Workout or this Total Body BOSU Workout
  • Space issues - It's not huge, but it can be bulky and take up a lot of space, so if you have limited space, that may be an issue for you.

So, What The Heck IS It?

The BOSU actually stands for 'Both Sides Up' which means, duh, you can use both sides of it.  What are those sides?  Well, there's a dome, which is made of the same type of material as a thick exercise ball and, once you blow it up, it looks like...well...a dome.

This dome is squishy, so you never quite catch your balance on it, making it a great way to challenge all those little stability muscles in the legs, ankles and feet.

The bottom side is kind of like hard plastic so, if you turned it over, you could stand on it (which is very advanced and hard, I don't recommend doing that your first time out) or you can sit on it, lie down and put your feet on it for hamstring exercises, etc.

What Do You Do With It?

Anything!  If you've ever used a step, you can pretty much do all the same exercises - Stepping up and down, for example, for cardio exercises or alternating knees.  You can also do strength training exercises like squats, overhead presses or other strength moves you would normally do on the floor.  The added movement of the BOSU adds intensity to the exercises and really forces your body to balance.

You can also do lots of high intensity exercises to get your heart rate up like over the top squats or toe taps to the BOSU.

Basic BOSU Exercises

If you really want to work on your balance and you want something totally different, I highly recommend getting a BOSU.  Not only can it add a depth to your workouts, it can maybe make them a little more fun.

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