Pilates With BOSU® Balance Trainer

The BOSU Balance Trainer is the perfect accessory to complement a wide range of authentic Pilates exercises. You can learn to incorporate the BOSU ball into traditional mat and equipment exercises. Regardless of how experienced your clients are, this workout will give you dynamic and fresh content to use with them, both in one-on-one training and in group settings.

Adding a BOSU ball to many of the Pilates exercises helps “dimensionalize” and change the repertoire. In some instances, it can serve as a wonderful assist for a client, making certain exercises easier and more manageable. For example, during spine stretch sitting, the BOSU ball helps keep the hamstrings and hip flexors from overfiring, which allows for better functional elongation of the spine. Conversely, this equipment can “up the ante” when balance, proprioception and overall difficulty need to be addressed. For instance, flipping the BOSU ball on its dome and placing the feet on the platform while performing the pelvic curl dramatically changes how the brain organizes the articulation of the movement, while also providing a much more challenging exercise pattern for the hamstrings and gluteals.

Before introducing the BOSU ball into a client’s Pilates sessions, be sure to assess the client’s goals, limitations and contraindications and be prepared to modify exercises as needed.

Sample Exercises
Here are some sample Pilates exercises using the BOSU Balance Trainer. For a complete workout, see the original article, “BOSU® Balance Trainer Rounds Out Pilates,” in the April issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.
Key: I = Inhale, E = Exhale.
Execute 5–10 repetitions of each exercise.

Exercise Description / Setup Breath / Movement Pattern Cues
roll-up Sit on BOSU ball with gluteals just above base, arms outstretched in front of you at shoulder width, parallel to floor. Extend legs with adductors “glued” together. I: Prepare.
E: Tip pubic bone toward face, roll back and take arms overhead.
I: Pause.
E: Roll up to starting position.
Make sure not to “pop out” rib cage when rolling back. Maintain long line from tips of fingers to tips of toes.

When seated, try staying in C-curve position to maintain slight contraction through abdomen.
over-head reach Sit on BOSU ball with gluteals just above base, arms outstretched in front of you at shoulder width, parallel to floor. Have knees bent, feet hip width apart and parallel. I: Reach arms overhead and begin to extend spine and abdomen over BOSU ball.
E: Sweep arms wide and curl up from sternum, bringing arms back to starting position.
Repeat, circling arms in reverse direction.
Roll back only to where rib cage does not pop out.

Treat air as something very thick, as if you were reaching back through marshmallow creme.


Exercise Description / Setup Breath / Movement Pattern Cues
frog For all three exercises: Lie prone, pelvis on apex of BOSU, forehead on backs of hands down on floor. Begin with legs in frog position. I: Lower legs toward floor.
E: Lift legs by squeezing gluteals and tightening hamstrings.
Don’t let go of the quarter between your gluteals.
extended frog I: Extend legs out into V position.
E: Draw legs together, squeeze inner thighs and keep quadriceps lifted.
Reverse direction after 8–10 reps.
Treat air as something very thick, to promote active movement around hip.
opening I: Open legs into V position.
E: Draw legs together, squeeze inner thighs and keep quadriceps lifted.

For more exercises and a series of photographs, please see “BOSU® Balance Trainer Rounds Out Pilates” in the online IDEA Library or in the April 2011 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.

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Erika Quest

IDEA Author/Presenter
Erika Quest is the owner of Studio Q Pilates Conditioning in Laguna Beach, California. As a former a... more less
August 2011

© 2011 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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