Exercise alone will not tame the muffin top, but strengthening the muscles underneath the body fat that hangs around the waist is a great way to start. And remember, strong obliques mean a strong core, better posture, and toned abs. Along with a healthy diet and a regular doses of cardio, this BOSU workout will show some love to your love handles. Press play, and work your waist for a few minutes!
The gym can be crowded after a long weekend, but just because your favorite strength-training class is full doesn't mean you have to skip out on a workout (or put in a lackluster performance on the elliptical). Instead, grab a ubiquitous BOSU ball and find a quiet corner of your gym, then do this total-body BOSU workout! You can repeat it a few times for a sweat-filled, start-of-the-week workout you'll be proud of.
We love the versatility of the BOSU, which stands for "both sides up." Whether you work with the unstable ball side facing down or up, you can use this fitness tool to work every part of your body. Plus, the BOSU makes almost every exercise more challenging. Watch this video to learn five BOSU exercises that create a full-body workout.
No matter how you slice it or dice it, the BOSU makes everything harder — in a good way. Take your basic plank, add the BOSU into the equation, and your core is working overtime. Here's a progression of plank exercises for this devilish piece of equipment that assures a good burn!
- Basic Plank: You start in a basic plank with the ball side of the BOSU facing down. This can be quite a challenge and an exercise unto itself. If just doing this plank variation, hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat three times.
- Knee Up: For an added challenge, while holding the plank pull your right knee to your chest and hold there for two or three seconds. Return to the plank, and switch legs for one complete rep. Do 10 reps altogether. You need to keep the BOSU stable throughout the exercise — that's what makes it tough.
- Add a Twist: Start in plank, pull your right knee toward your chest, twist to the left, and kick your right leg out to straight. Reverse the action, untwist, bring knee to chest, then return to plank. Do 10 times on each side. This one is tough, but it makes more sense to your body on the second set. Do two to three sets of this move while keeping the BOSU stable.
If you haven't already, learn to love lunges. They are the ultimate exercise; you can do them anywhere, anytime and see (bikini bottom) results fast. This compound exercise works your entire leg and is an easy addition to both your cardio and weight workouts. Once you've mastered the basic lunge, speed up the process to long, lean legs with the addition of a BOSU.
- Standing it front of the BOSU, engage your core. Keep your upper body straight with your shoulders back and relaxed.
- Similar to the position of a basic lunge, bring your right leg behind you, placing it on the BOSU.
- With control, lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle and your right knee doesn't touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Do two sets of 10 reps on each side.
The BOSU ball isn't glamorous, but the gym staple sure is effective. It can make even the simplest exercises more difficult by adding a balancing aspect to your workout. Ready to accept the challenge? Read on for 10 ways to incorporate the BOSU ball into your routine.
It's not glamorous, but the BOSU, that unassuming half-ball prop at your gym, is a workhorse. Not only can you use both sides of it (which is how its "both sides used" name was coined), but you can also pick it up to add even more dimension to your workout routine. If you've been ignoring the stack of BOSUs in the corner of your gym for far too long, then here are three ways to incorporate the BOSU (or a similar balance-challenging prop) into your routine!
Get unstable: The BOSU makes any workout more difficult, and that includes the ones that are seemingly simple but oh-so effective. The next time you're doing an exercise move, add the BOSU to the mix; everything from a simple deadlift to a side lunge suddenly becomes harder as you use your different muscles to steady yourself on the BOSU. If you need ideas, then try these balance exercise on the BOSU.
Seated ab moves: Spice up even more of your normal everyday moves by sitting on a BOSU instead of the floor. These two-move sequences add the BOSU to traditional seated twist moves make you work your abs that much more.
Change your plank: Those plank moves are always more challenging than they look! But if you're ready to take it to the next level, then use an upside-down BOSU as your planking surface (hold on to the sides), and then do this twisted plank sequence on the BOSU. You may not like it while you're doing it, but you'll thank us later!
Do you use a BOSU or other balancing prop?
Performing seemingly simple exercises on an unstable surface creates a whole new set of challenges for you to master. Fitness tools like the BOSU, balance pads (sponge-like pads, two to three inches thick), rocker boards, and exercise balls can help you work out harder by disrupting your sense of balance. If you're ready to experiment with instability, here are a few exercises my Equinox trainer has recently taught me.
- Plank on the rocker board: There are a wide variety of rocker boards, but for this move the one we use looks like an over-sized skateboard with a cylindrical piece attached in the middle. I place my hands equidistant from the center and hold a plank, trying not to dip to either side. When that becomes somewhat easy, add alternating leg lifts. This move seemed impossible to me at first, but once you find the zone on the third set you feel a core master.
Hold the plank for 30 seconds; do 10 lifts on each leg.
Learn two more moves after the break.
Going through the same workout routine can be boring, which is why new products and methods keep people motivated to get fit. However, with so many options, it's hard to anticipate which technique or method will stick around and influence gym workouts nationwide. Now's your chance to vote on the workout equipment you think is a fad versus the ones that you are convinced are here to stay.
Clockwise from top left: Perfect for challenging both the core and the sense of balance, the BOSU ($100) takes any exercise up a notch. The Jungle Gym XT ($100) brings suspension workouts into the home — the system works with a door or a pull-up bar. Bring a little mind-body exercise into your fitness freak's home gym with a Pilates Spring Board ($445); it's a wall unit version of the classic Cadillac. If you feel like giving big, it's hard to go wrong with an elliptical by Precor ($3,400) — a joint-friendly cardio machine. A set of adustable dumbbells ($143) means more options that take up less space; perfect for strength training in a small space.