The Bosu ball is the half dome-shaped object that sits by the stretching and free-weight area in your gym and is one of the most useful tools to include in your workout routine. The Bosu is used for various positions in yoga, Pilates and general fitness such as balance and core strengthening. Although the Bosu is primarily used for strength training and not so much for burning calories, depending on the activity level and for how long you perform the exercises, you can successfully burn any number of calories.
Bosu Ball Basics
The Bosu ball is a versatile balance trainer that is doubled sided. One side is an inflatable and firm dome and the other side is a hard, flat surface. Both sides are used in conjunction with various types of strengthening and stretching exercises such as lunges and squats and even yoga and Pilates.
The metabolic equivalent -- or MET -- value reflects the energy you expend at rest. During most physical activities, the MET reflects the ratio of energy for those physical activities to the equal time expended at rest. For example, if you go for a jog at 10 mph and you weigh 150 pounds, this is equal to 14.5 METs because your body uses more energy to run than when you rest. To figure out how many calories you burn on a Bosu ball, calculate your body weight in kilograms. To calculate your body weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds and you perform moderate exercise for 15 minutes on a Bosu ball, multiply 140 pounds by 3.5 -- the MET value -- then divide that number by 200 multiplied by 15 minutes, which yields 74 calories burned on the Bosu. If you incorporate weights and vigorous movements, the MET value would be 8.0 instead of 3.5.
You can add many effective exercises to the Bosu ball. For example, toe taps are excellent for a vigorous warm-up that gets your heart rate going while strengthening your legs. Stand behind the dome with your toes touching at the base and your feet hip-width apart. Jump in place and alternate your legs while tapping your toes on the dome. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you would burn 39 calories for eight minutes of toe tap exercise. The Bosu ball is useful for balancing as well. Position the Bosu ball next to a wall or have a friend spot you. Use the wall or your friend for balance and place both feet in the center of the dome. Carefully move both feet slightly apart and come down to a squat position. If you have your balance, let go of the wall or your friend. This exercise will strengthen and tone your legs, butt and core.
The Bosu ball is also useful for warming up before your workout. Mountain climbers on the Bosu ball are a great warm-up to get your body ready for your workout. Place the Bosu ball in front of you and get into a pushup position with your hands on the center of the Bosu ball. Move your knees in an alternating manner to your chest as if you are climbing up a hill. Perform this warm-up for five minutes at a light pace. The Bosu is used for various movements and a beginner should use caution to avoid injury. Only perform exercises that are recommended for beginners. You can find these exercises by consulting a trainer at a gym or in the instruction manual that comes with the Bosu ball.
Serina Ruggeri has been a fitness coach and nutritional consultant for four years and is attending college to become a dietician. Serina has been writing articles for many online health and fitness blogs and health magazines for two years.