How to Spice Up Your Cardio on the BOSU

Pump up your cardio

People abs on BOSU
Getty Images/Eliza Snow

The BOSU has been around for years, but many of us get confused when it comes to actually using it. The BOSU is great for challenging your balance and stability, but it's also a great tool for getting your heart rate up and adding some fun to your cardio workouts.

Using Your BOSU for Cardio Workouts

Some of the most popular ways to use a BOSU include:

  • Strength training
  • Flexibility training
  • Cardio

The BOSU is a versatile piece of equipment and, when it comes to cardio exercise, you'll find a whole different level of intensity, especially when you perform high impact activities like jumping. When jumping on the BOSU, you challenge core stabilization as well as hip, leg and ankle stabilization, all things that can translate into more functionality in real life.

And forget about being functional for a minute...the BOSU is actually kind of fun.  The bouncy surface makes you feel like you're not even exercising, so it's a great way to inject a little energy into your usual cardio workouts.

How to Get Started

The BOSU is an unstable surface, so you should start slowly by getting comfortable with it. In fact, you should start very slowly and get used to the fact that, no matter what you do, you'll never really find your balance on the bouncy surface.

  The idea is to let your feet move and try not to control your body too much.

Try these ideas to get started with cardio on the BOSU:

  • Start slowly with compressions (see 3rd exercise) to get a feel for dynamic movement on the ball.
  • Progress slowly to walking and then jogging on the BOSU and go back to compressions whenever you lose your balance
  • Keep your abs contracted and avoid tipping your shoulders and hips to either side while the weight is on one leg
  • Once you master walking and jogging, try a double-leg bounce. Keep the feet evenly spaced and level over the dome and keep weight centered over the arches of your feet.
  • Add more challenge by making your bounce a jump. Make sure you land each time with the knees soft, good alignment and control. Keeping the upper body quiet will help you maintain your balance.
  • Running and bouncing on the BOSU Balance Trainer is also challenging for the feet. If you feel your feet cramping, take a break and walk on the floor to rest your feet.

One important tip - Get off the BOSU every few minutes to let your feet and legs rest. You might also stand next to a wall and hold on for balance until you feel more comfortable.

Cardio Moves on the BOSU

Start with the basic moves shown above for short periods of time (30-60 seconds), stepping off the BOSU between moves to let your feet rest.

Once you get comfortable, you can start adding more challenging moves like squat jumps or power lunges.

If you've done step aerobics, you can try stepping up and down, alternating knees, going over the top or even jumping onto the BOSU with one or both feet.

You can do these moves on their own for a short, intense cardio blast or you could add these moves after your usual routine to burn more calories.  The BOSU is a great tool for interval training.  You could try alternating moves on the floor, like a jumping jack, with an exercise on the BOSU, like squat jumps.

Once you feel ready for a challenge, try this BOSU Cardio Workout. Go through the exercises once for a 10-minute challenge, or repeat for 1-3 circuits for a longer workout.

Continue Reading