BOSU Balance Trainer

BOSU Balance Trainer

In recent years, core training programs have become more and more popular, based on the common belief that core strength and endurance are important for maintaining low back health, static and dynamic trunk (core) stability, preventing injury (especially the back and lower extremities), and the energy production and transfer of that energy from the trunk/pelvis to the extremities in basic tasks and sport-specific movements. Despite the prevalence of core training, there is lack of universal agreement on what constitutes the core and in the definition of core stability.  For a more definitive discussion on what makes up the group of muscles commonly referred to as the core and how they work kinetically with sport specific movements you might want to check out an article I wrote for our September InFlight newsletter back in December of 09’ Developing the Core.  For the purposes of this post I’d like to talk about the benefits of training the core on an unstable surface and one of the devices that we used with our athletes.

Benefits of Training the Core Muscles – Research has shown that performing movements on unstable surfaces can enhance stabilization, balance, coordination, increase muscular recruitment of the core, and may aid in preventing injuries.  Many muscles of the upper and lower body attach in the core region at the pelvis and spine.  Training on an unstable surface improves muscular coordination and increases power efficiency during those movements.  Balance is the ability to maintain a fixed base of support over a period of time and training on an unstable surface can enhance proprioception, which is one’s own awareness of body movement and body positioning. This plays an important role for the athlete maintaining a position on the field. Reducing the chance of injury may be the most important variable when training. When muscles from the pelvic region are not recruited properly due to tightness or lack of stability in the hips other areas will overcompensate and may lead to an injury. Having a strong and stable core can decrease the chance of injury.

One of the devices that we have been using to train our athletes for a few years now is the the BOSU Balance Trainer.  The BOSU Trainer is designed to be used on either the domed or the flat side for core training and can be incorporated into almost every aspect of fitness, sports performance, or rehabilitation. 

Program Design – When incorporating the domed device like the BOSU Trainer into a training program proper progressions should be followed so that the less challenging movements are mastered first.   All movements should be performed on a stable surface before trying them on the BOSU.

The athlete should be able to perform bodyweight movements on the BOSU before adding external resistance (medicine ball, dumbbell, resistance tubing).

Complete the movements successfully on two-feet (bilateral) before attempting them on one foot (unilateral).

Finally, once exercises have been mastered statically, more dynamic exercises can be implemented to create more of a challenge. This would include jumps and hops on the BOSU.

Exercises performed on the BOSU can be incorporated into a current training program to increase the intensity of a specific exercise or a group of BOSUs exercises can be put together to focus on training the core.  Exercises on the BOSU should resemble other forms of training when deciding volume (sets x repetitions), intensity, duration, and rest times. Once a certain fitness level is achieved, progressively increase the variable of the goals that have been set.

One of things that I hear from our athletes when we are doing workouts with the BOSU is how tired their legs are after a session even if the focus of the drill is often on the upper body.  To get more information or a printed versions of exercises routines you can do with the BOSU Balance Trainer feel free to contact me at jmurdock@flight101ssd.

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