Cyclists tend to think of instability as a condition to avoid or a problem to solve, but adding a dose of wobbliness to your workout is actually beneficial. And one of the best ways to (literally) shake up your routine is to incorporate a Bosu ball.
“Bosu is short for ‘both sides up,’ which reflects how it’s used,” Raj Hathiramani, certified running coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City, tells Runner’s World. “You can use it on either side, and this workout has three exercises with the Bosu ball facing up and two exercises with it facing down. All of them activate your core and stabilizing muscles by creating an unstable surface.” So, as your body negotiates with a dynamic, unpredictable surface, your muscles work overtime to maintain your balance.
The Benefits of This Beginner Bosu Ball Workout for Cyclists
Adding an extra balance challenge will help you improve your cycling efficiency, which effectively involves using one leg at a time to propel you forward, while also engaging your core to stay upright. “Better balance can enable you to more easily increase endurance and speed,” says Hathiramani.
Better stability can also help prevent common injuries. A lack of stability in your cycling form will cause your body to work harder and naturally compensate by shifting weight to one side, often leading to injury as a result, Hathiramani says. By working on your upper and lower body balance with these Bosu ball exercises, you will be able to stay centered more easily while riding and not overwork any particular side or muscle group, he adds.
Programmed by Hathiramani, the following circuit includes five Bosu ball exercises for beginners. Athletes who are familiar with the Bosu ball can make this workout more challenging by adding reps or moving at a faster pace.
How to use this list: Perform each exercise below for the number of reps listed, resting as needed between exercises and 30 seconds between sets. Complete 3 rounds.
Each move is demonstrated by Hathiramani in the video above so you can learn the proper form. You will need a Bosu ball and an exercise mat.
1. Forearm Plank With Reach
Start facedown on mat with forearms propped up on Bosu ball, elbows under shoulders, toes tucked. Lift body off the mat, forming one straight line from head to heels, abs engaged. Engage glutes and legs to prevent hips from lifting or dipping. (If necessary, widen feet for more stability.) Reach forward with left hand, then immediately return to forearm plank. Repeat with the right hand. Continue alternating arm reaches forward, for a total of 20 reps.
2. Lateral Lunge
Stand to the left of Bosu ball with both feet facing forward. Take a wide step to the right, placing right foot in the center of Bosu ball. Bend right knee as you send hips back and shift weight over right foot to drop into a side lunge. Keep chest lifted and left leg straight. Push off right leg and return to standing. Repeat. Do 10 reps. Then switch sides.
3. Split Squat
Start in a staggered stance, right foot forward, feet hip-width apart, and back left foot elevated on Bosu ball. Lower straight down toward the floor, bending knees and allowing a slight hinge at hips. When front thigh is parallel to the floor, pause, then press through front heel to stand back up. Repeat. Do 10 reps. Then switch sides.
4. Mountain Climber
Flip Bosu ball so that flat side is facing up and ball is resting on floor. Grip handles with both hands and assume a high plank position. Stack shoulders over wrists and engage core and glutes so body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels. Drive right knee in toward chest, then quickly step it back to plank position. Immediately drive the left knee in toward chest, then quickly step it back into plank position. Continue alternating for a total of 20 reps on each leg.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold Bosu ball by the handles, flat part facing you. Hinge at hips, bend knees, and lower into a deep squat. Place Bosu ball on ground in front of you, then step back into a plank position. Stack shoulders over wrists and engage core and glutes so body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels in a plank position. Step feet forward one at a time and, as you return to a standing position, lift Bosu ball above ahead. That’s one rep. Repeat. Do 10 reps. If that feels easy, jump feet back into plank and forward back into squat to perform the burpee.