Bosu Ball Exercises for Legs
Though you may find them collecting dust in your gym’s stretching area, Bosu Balls are actually extremely useful. This piece of equipment, which contains an inflated half ball on one side and a flat surface on the other, can be used to build strength, power and agility. In addition, these balls can effectively challenge and improve your balance. Try these Bosu Ball exercises to give your legs a well rounded workout.
1. Mini Squat
Mini squats activate your quadriceps muscles while also challenging the stabilizing muscles in the hips and ankles.
HOW TO DO IT: With the flat side of the Bosu Ball facing upwards, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. With your arms outstretched in front of you, bend your knees as you sit your buttocks back into a squat. Make sure your knees do not buckle inwards as you do this. Once your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds before standing up again.
2. Single Leg Dead Lift
Dead lifts target the hamstrings, a muscle group in the back of your thighs that supports the knee.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand on your right leg on the Bosu Ball with the flat side up. Simultaneously lift your left leg in the air behind you as you lean forward with your trunk. When your torso and left leg are completely horizontal, hold this position for a second or two before returning to the initial position. Complete the exercise on both legs.
3. Single-leg Balance
The instability created by the Bosu Ball provides the muscles in your legs with an added challenge in this balance exercise.
HOW TO DO IT: Holding a ball in your hands, stand on one leg on a Bosu Ball facing a wall. Either side can be used, though doing the workout with the round side up is more challenging. Quickly bounce and catch the ball off the wall without losing your balance. After a set, switch legs and repeat the exercise.
Lunges are another excellent way to give the quadriceps muscles in your thigh a good burn. These muscles are influential in our ability to run and jump.
HOW TO DO IT: Take a wide staggered stance with your right foot in front of you on the round side of the Bosu Ball and your left foot behind you. Keeping your body erect, bend both knees until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Hold your body here for 1 to 2 seconds before standing back up. Once a full set has been completed, reverse your feet and perform the exercise again.
5. Forward Jump
This exercise helps to strengthen the leg muscles responsible for absorbing the pressure put on the knees when you jump and land.
HOW TO DO IT: Put a Bosu Ball on the ground in front of you with the round side up. Jump forward onto the dome and focus on bending your knees and sitting your buttocks back as you land. Maintain your balance here for a second or two and then jump backwards onto the ground. Again, try to have a soft landing and avoid letting your knees move inwards.
6. Single Leg Bridge
This difficult exercise focuses on the gluteus maximus, the biggest and most powerful muscle in your buttocks.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with a Bosu Ball on the ground near your feet. With your right knee bent and your right foot on the Bosu Ball, extend your left leg in the air. Then, lift your buttocks off the ground by pushing through your right leg. When your spine is straight, hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds before lowering back down. After completing a set, repeat the exercise on the other leg.
Recommendations and Guidelines
In order to properly improve your strength and agility using a Bosu Ball, do two to four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. This routine may be performed two to three times per week. If any of the exercises cause increased pain, it's important to stop immediately to prevent further injury. In addition, make sure you can safely maintain your balance on the Bosu prior to attempting this workout regimen.
- Science, Movement, and Health: The Effects of Bosu Ball Training On Teaching and Improving the Performance of Certain Handball Basic Skills
- Journal of Athletic Training: Quadriceps and Hamstrings Coactivation During Common Therapeutic Exercises
- Wing CH. The BOSU Ball: Overview and Opportunities. ACSMs Health Fit J. 2014;18(4):5-7 doi:10.1249/FIT.0000000000000048
- American Council on Exercise. BOSU Squat Jumps.
- Fable S. American Council on Exercise. Complete Core BOSU® Workout. 2014.
- Costello MC, Bloesch EK. Are Older Adults Less Embodied? A Review of Age Effects through the Lens of Embodied Cognition. Front Psychol. 2017;8:267. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00267
- Proske U, Gandevia SC. The Proprioceptive Senses: Their Roles in Signaling Body Shape, Body Position and Movement, and Muscle Force. Physiol Rev. 2012;92(4):1651-1697. doi:10.1152/physrev.00048.2011
Tim Petrie is a sports medicine physical therapist and a certified orthopedic specialist practicing in Milwaukee, WI. In addition to treating patients of all ages, he is passionate about writing about health and wellness topics. In his free time, Tim loves to run and travel with his wife and three kids.