To be clear- this is not an advertisement. I am not being compensated in any way for professing my love of this beautiful blue half-dome. I just want my clients to know why we will be incorporating the BOSU into many aspects of your individualized fitness routines.
BOSU For the Brain
Proprioceptive awareness is the term we gym nerds use to refer to the brain's ability to know where the body is in space and what it is doing. To understand what I am talking about, stand on one foot. Now, stand on one foot and close your eyes (please do not stand near furniture with sharp corners or a stairwell). Did you fall over? Hopefully not! But you probably did lose your balance rather quickly. By doing exercises on the BOSU, we force the brain to communicate more with your working muscles, and your muscles to send faster signals back to the brain. We begin first with standing on both, then just one foot and gradually progressing to compound, multi-joint movements. The more the body and the brain talk to each other, the more efficient you will become in any exercise we do, increasing the effectiveness of each workout.
Once certain exercises have been mastered on stable ground, the next step is to move them to the BOSU to recruit even more muscles. Push ups, squats, lunges, standing cable exercises, planks, etc; they all can be done on the mighty BOSU. Being able to recruit more muscles for any given exercise has a number of benefits:
- Decreased risk of injury to a single muscle due to it being overloaded.
- Increased muscle growth and with that, higher metabolic rate.
- Decreased risk of injury during sports requiring agility, balance, and uneven terrain.
- Increased caloric burn for ANY exercise done on the BOSU, compared to when the same moves are performed on the ground.
BOSU For Stabilization
I have trained many clients who have come back to the gym after a long hiatus due to an injury sustained in a twist, break, or fall. One of the biggest challenges in regaining strength and balance is the possibility of the next fall. The only way to overcome that risk is to get used to losing, then regaining, one's balance, which requires engaging all of the stabilizer muscles. Doing simple standing or step-up exercises on the BOSU in a safe environment (clear from other people, equipment, and on a matted or carpeted surface) is one of the best ways to regain confidence and trust in the legs to do what they need to do to keep moving. I can't tell you how many times I rolled and sprained my ankles on trail runs before realized how much I needed to make the BOSU part of my training routine. A root or rock may still throw me off my stride (or into the mud), but the difference now is that I can recover from a stumble quite easily since I have taken time each week to work on my balance.
Because you're ready for a new challenge. Because you kind of hate it, but kind of love it. Because variety is the spice of life!
So when you walk into the gym and Big Blue is there waiting for you, smile, because you can know that you'll have one heck of a workout that will help you get stronger, move better, and target every part of your body!