Flipping the BOSU: How to Challenge Your Core and Upper Body at the Same Time

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The “Scary” Equipment Series – BOSU Ball

Now it’s time to utilize the other, less stable, side of the BOSU ball. Planks and their variations are already ideal exercises to target your entire core (and upper body as a bonus!), and performing them with the black platform side up takes the stability challenge to the next level. Notice that when you turn the BOSU ball over that it has two “handles” that stick out on the sides. Although you don’t have to place your hands there, I suggest wrapping them there as I do in the pictures to maximize your control over the BOSU.

Here’s four options that you can play around with to work your core!

Straight Arm Plank: This is the same position as a straight arm plank would be on the ground, with straight arms, a neutral head (meaning looking down at the ball), a straight line from your shoulders to your feet, and keeping your muscles engaged so your hips don’t dip and you don’t “sink” into your shoulder blades. The only difference is hand placement, as I mentioned above. Your hands will be slightly wider and somewhat facing each other. Hold and breath slowly and deeply until you can’t maintain good form.

BOSU plank

Plank with Tilt: Begin in the straight arm plank position, press your hands hard against the edges of the ball to keep your arms straight, and tilt your entire body as far as you can by shifting your weight to one side and then the other. It will look and feel like you are pressing down with one arm (I’m pressing the left down in the picture below) and lifting up with the other, but the power should come from your core, not your arms.

BOSU plank with tilt

Plank with Knee to Chest: Begin in the straight arm plank position, and maintain a plank while you slowly lift up one foot and use your abs to pull it in toward your chest. Slowly extend it back to straight and then switch to the other leg. Don’t tuck your pelvis or head as you pull your knee in, and don’t let your shoulders sink or hips drop when you extend the leg out.

BOSU plank with knee to chest

Plank with Knees to Side: This move is similar to the plank with knee to chest and also begins in straight arm plank. Instead of pulling your knee directly up to the chest, rotate your leg outward at the hip so you pull the knee out and up toward your elbow as far as you comfortably can (and if you plan on doing this one, doing some type of hip opening movements in your warm up would be helpful.) Same rules apply here – maintain a solid plank position the whole time you are bending and straightening your legs.

BOSU plank with knee to side

Once you have mastered these, feel free to add any variations you like, such as swinging a straight leg out to the side or doing the exercises above with a stability ball placed under your ankles or shins. Just as when you are using the BOSU ball with the dome side up, any wobbling is targeting your core, so don’t worry if you are wobbly and have fun with it!

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About Author

Master's degree in exercise science, Greenville Technical College personal training instructor, PlantBuilt 2014 vegan muscle team member, freelance writer, animal lover, voracious reader and waterfall hiker. Competing in bodybuilding and physique divisions this year and packing on muscle for the animals!

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