17 August, 2011
Bosu Ball Exercises for Runners
As a runner, your performance and speed can benefit from a carefully selected resistance training program. In addition to improved running efficiency, you can reduce your risk of injury by addressing muscular imbalances and training your muscles and joints to handle the stresses of running. The Bosu ball trainer adds a stability challenge to basic strength exercises and adds a functional element to your training. Try each of these exercises on the round portion of the Bosu ball and the flat side down.
Balance Your Bridge
Try a traditional hip bridge on the Bosu ball to target the hamstrings. This muscle group is often weak in runners and prone to injury. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet resting in the center of the Bosu. With your feet hip-width apart, draw in your stomach muscles and tighten the muscles along the back of your hips. Press through your heels and lift your hips until your body makes a straight line from your knees to your chest. Hold this position for a second and then slowly lower. If this becomes easy for you for an entire set of 12 to 15 repetitions, perform the bridge with only one leg on the Bosu.
The Tipsy Lunge
If you plan to run barefoot or on uneven surfaces, such as a trail or grass, using the Bosu ball for standing leg exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the foot and lower leg to increase your ankle stability. The split lunge is an leg effective exercise to try first. Stand about 2 to 3 feet back from the Bosu. Place your right foot forward and center it on the Bosu so that your legs are in a split position. Keep the left heel lifted so your weight is on the ball of your foot. Keeping your torso tall and straight, bend your knees and lower your body so that both legs create a 90-degree angle, but do not touch your back knee to the ground. Slowly press your body back to the upright position. After you complete a set, repeat with your left leg on the Bosu.
A Bouncy Plank
Having a strong core can improve your running form and prevent low back injuries. A forearm plank, or hover plank, on the Bosu ball can take this exercise up a notch. Lie on the ground with your belly down. Place your forearms on the Bosu, stacking your shoulders directly over your elbows. Tuck your toes under so that your heels are stacked above the balls of your feet. Draw your belly muscles in and lift your entire torso off the ground. Your body should create a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Start by holding this position for 15 to 30 seconds. If that is comfortable, add some movement to the exercise, such as tapping your feet side to side or alternating a single arm reach forward. To modify this exercise, keep your knees on the floor.
Try It Sideways
Flip the forearm plank on your side to challenge your abdominal oblique muscles more efficiently. These muscles play a big role in fast-paced running. Lie on your right side with your right elbow on the center of the Bosu ball and your right shoulder stacked above your elbow. Engage your torso muscles and lift your body until you have a straight plank from your head to your heels. If holding this position feels easy, add a torso rotation or an outer hip lift movement. You can also keep your lower knee bent and resting on the ground to modify the exercise. Repeat on the left side.
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