This month we are talking in-depth about the BOSU Ball! It is going to be a deep dive into what a BOSU Ball offers you as an exerciser and the different ways you can use it. This week we are talking about BOSU Ball workouts paired with dumbbells.

Dumbbells are a great piece of equipment to have on had when you are considering creating a home gym or workout space. You can read more about other home gym essentials here. But dumbbells are great because they are super easy to store, highly functional for training purposes and they can take any workout to the next level. So when we combine them with the BOSU Ball you are really in for a great, core focused, workout.

A huge bonus! You can probably seamlessly starting incorporating the BOSU Ball in the routines you are already doing. It is a great way to provide a new stimulation to old exercises. Keep reading as we discuss the function of a BOSU Ball and what you are getting out of your workouts by adding it in.


3 reasons to workout with a bosu ballThere has to be a reason why you would want to use a BOSU ball. For those of you that have used it, you are probably thinking “because it makes it harder!” and you would be right. But let’s take a moment to understand why it makes it harder and what you are actually getting out of using the BOSU ball.


If we just look at a BOSU Ball you can see that the shape itself is going to provide a challenge. The half circle shape provides instability to the exercises that really challenges balance.

When you take common exercises like a squat or a push-up and do them on a BOSU Ball the demand on the body is instantly different. You will notice physiological responses like shaking and a faster onset of fatigue as your body tries to figure out how to balance on an unstable surface.

If you are looking for more information on balance training read Annie’s great article exercising as you age.


Whenever the conversation turns towards balance the core has to be considered. Core strength and stability are the key to having good balance. Think that through and you will understand that the BOSU Ball is training your core no matter what exercise you are doing on it. Just remember to keep proper core bracing while performing your repetitions.

I bet you are wondering what about doing core specific exercises with the BOSU Ball. Of course you should do that. Doing a plank on a BOSU Ball is going to have a greater demand on your core stability AND your shoulder stability. Given how susceptible our shoulders can be to instability, given the large range of motion available at the shoulder, training them for stability is a must in any program design.

If you want some more great information on how to train your core better read our article on training your core smarter!


You can add a BOSU Ball into a ton of different exercises to challenge your body in a different way. I have mentioned a few above, but the list is endless. A common exercise, like a mountain climber, done with either your upper body or lower body on the BOSU Ball will require an increase in your core stability. This WILL make the exercise feel harder.

Lower body exercises like squats, lunges and RDLs also become more challenging because of instability. We won’t dive into it here, but the BOSU Ball provides you with a way to train the lower body in an open chain capacity. Something that can be helpful in injury rehabilitation and that should be present in a well rounded program.

Here are a few of my favorite exercises to use a BOSU Ball for:

  • Push-Up Variations
  • SL RDL, Curl + Press
  • Plank Variations
  • Lunge Patterns


bosu ball workout tipsA BOSU Ball is super simple to incorporate into every workout, as I showed above. Get started by using it for a split squat to increase range of motion and to work on balance. Use a wall or stable object to help maintain balance until you are comfortable.


  1. If it’s your first time using a BOSU Ball, take a second to just step on and let your muscles get used to the unstable ground.
  2. Stay close to a wall or something you can use to help your balance as you get comfortable.
  3. Step on directly in the middle of the BOSU Ball. Try to put the middle of your arch in the center of the BOSU Ball. This will be different if you are using the BOSU Ball with a cable, but I will cover that in an upcoming post!
  4. Your muscles will feel very shaky, but that is their way of trying to figure out what is going on. Your muscles are rapidly firing to recruit enough fibers to meet the stability demand.
  5. If you are about to lose your balance, make sure you step off the ball, don’t try to catch your balance by putting your opposite foot down on the BOSU Ball. You will end up causing yourself to lose your balance even more or launching yourself off the side!


  • If you are standing on the BOSU ball remember to always keep you knee or knees slightly bent. This is called a reactive position because it allows your muscles to respond to the stimulus and fire to meet the stability demand.
  • When standing on the BOSU Ball your weight should be mid-foot to heel. If your weight is in your toes, your knee will likely shift over your toe and this puts a lot of pressure on the knee joint. It will also activate more anterior muscles when we need posterior muscles to fire. And you will likely lose your balance.
  • Keeping your weight in your heel doesn’t mean your toes should come off the ground. Your big toe is very important to balance so keeping your foot fully in contact with the ground will help keep you stable.
  • Always keep your core engaged. Keeping full body tension is important with every exercise. And that will become very clear when you train using a BOSU Ball.
  • If you are struggling to keep you balance, focus on a spot on the ground a few feet in front of you. Keeping your eyes on that spot during the exercise will help your balance!


Ready to get started using your dumbbells and BOSU Ball? Check out the three workouts I put together below. Remember you should always warm-up before starting a workout. I recommend taking 5 minutes of continuous movement slowly increasing intensity as you go. Or you can follow our favorite warm-up here.

If you don’t already have a BOSU Ball or Dumbbells you can find them in most sporting goods stores or these amazon links will take you to great options. There is no cost to you when you order through them, but I do make a commission. Your support, by ordering through them, is greatly appreciated!


Repeat this 5 exercise circuit 5 times for a great 30 minute workout!

  • Reverse lunge and curtsy 20
  • RDL curl and press (2 weights) 10/10
  • Side lunge and bent over row (step onto round side) 10/10
  • Glute bridge hold with alternating chest press (feet on round side of bosu) 20
  • Squat with OH press on top and forward press on the bottom 10

Upper body Bosu and Dumbbell workouts

Repeat this 5 exercise circuit 4 times for a great 20 minute upper body workout!

  • SL reverse fly 10/10
  • OH tricep extension (double leg) 15
  • SL + SA hammer curl to bicep curl 10/10
  • SA row + pushup (single arm on bosu) 10/10
  • SA Y and SA iso Y (double leg) 20

Core Bosu and Dumbbell Workout

Give these exercises a try by doing the circuit 3 times after any of the workouts above for a great core finisher!

  • Plank row (feet on bosu) 20
  • V-Sit curl and press seated on bosu 10/10
  • Side plank openers (feet on bosu) 10/10
  • V-sit DB twist 20

What to workout? But can’t find the motivation? Grab a workout buddy and check out this guided workout! Chellie takes you through a full body workout using only a Bosu Ball and dumbbells.

If you missed our blogs all about the TRX last month, check if out here! Chellie and Annie share a ton of information all about using the TRX for your upper body, lower body and core.

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