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If you frequent the gym, you’ve probably seen a Bosu ball or two stacked up amongst the free weights and resistance bands. But if you’ve steered clear for fear of not knowing how to properly use one, you’re not alone. This underrated piece of equipment looks pretty much like a stability ball, only...cut in half. A Bosu ball—which is actually an abbreviation for “both sides up”—is inflated on one side with a flat, hard platform on the other. By design, it’s a balance trainer that fires up your core and stabilizing muscles by creating an unstable surface to perform exercises on. When used correctly, it can rev up any bodyweight or dumbbell workout.

“Bosu ball exercises are a great way to further challenge your body and push your fitness and athletic ability to the next level,” Anna Victoria, certified personal trainer and creator of the Fit Body app tells us. “I recommend incorporating a Bosu ball into your workout routine only once you’ve mastered the move without one,” she says. But once you feel confident you can handle the extra challenge, Bosu away.

To help you get started, here are 19 Bosu ball exercises our favorite trainer swears by.

  • Equipment: Bosu ball
  • Time: 15 to 30 minutes
  • Instructions: Select two to three exercises per muscle group (upper body, lower body, core) and one total-body cardio move. Complete the recommended number of reps or time, then immediately transition into the next move ending with cardio. Repeat this circuit two to four times, depending on your fitness level and available time. Rest as needed, then head to the kitchen to refuel with your favorite healthy protein bar or smoothie.

RELATED: The 15 Best Core Workouts You Can Do at Home, No Equipment Necessary

UPPER BODY

bosu ball exercises pushups
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

1. Bosu Ball Push-Ups

Muscles used: chest, deltoids (shoulders), transverse abdominals and triceps.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Begin in a push-up position with your hands gripping the outer edge of the ball, legs straight back behind you.

Step 2: Keep your core engaged and lower your upper body down toward the Bosu ball. Press up to return to the starting position and repeat. Complete 5 reps total.

bosu ball exercises knee pushups
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

2. Bosu Ball Knee Push-Ups

Muscles used: chest, deltoids, transverse abdominals and triceps.

*Do this modified version instead for added support.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Begin in a push-up position with your hands gripping the outer edge of the ball, legs straight back behind you. Release your knees to the ground for added support.

Step 2: Keep your core engaged and lower your upper body down. Press up to return to the starting position and repeat. Complete 8 reps total.

bosu ball exercises staggered push up
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

3. Bosu Ball Staggered Push-Up

Muscles used: chest, deltoids, transverse abdominals and triceps.

Step 1: Begin with the Bosu ball flat side down. Place one hand on the ball and the other on the ground beside it until you’re in a wide-arm push-up position.

Step 2: Keep your core engaged and lower your upper body down. Press up to return to the starting position, then switch hands walking them over to the opposite side and repeat. Complete 4 reps on each side.

bosu ball exercises decline walk out
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

4. Bosu Ball Decline Walkouts

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, chest and deltoids.

Step 1: Begin in a push-up position with your hands on the ground directly below your shoulders and feet stacked on top of the Bosu ball behind you.

Step 2: Walk your hands back toward your feet, lifting your hips as you pike up. At your farthest point, stop and reverse the motion, walking forward to return to the starting position. This is one rep. Move slowly and purposefully, engaging your core throughout to support your lower back. Complete 5 reps total.

LOWER BODY

bosu ball exercises squat
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

5. Bosu Ball Squat

Muscles used: glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.

Step 1: Step up onto the Bosu ball and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat back like you’re sitting in a chair, making sure that your knees are tracking in line with your toes. Press your thighs out to prevent your knees from caving in.

Step 2: Press down evenly through your feet to stand, returning to the starting position. Complete 12 reps total.

bosu ball exercises lateral toe taps
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

6. Bosu Ball Lateral Toe Taps

Muscles used: glues, quads, hamstrings and calves.

Step 1: Step up onto the Bosu ball and lift one leg so that you’re balancing on one foot.

Step 2: With a bend in your standing leg, tap the opposite foot out to the side until your toes reach the ground. Bring it back in toward your midline and balance, holding for one second and repeat. Complete 8 reps on each side.

bosu ball exercises  lunge
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

7. Bosu Ball Lunge

Muscles used: glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.

Step 1: Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Release one leg behind you into a lunge position and place your back foot on top of the Bosu ball.

Step 2: Begin the lunge by dropping your back knee down in a straight line (versus shifting forward with your front knee) until it almost touches the ground. Press through your front heel to return to the starting position and repeat. Complete 8 reps on each side.

bosu ball exercises side squat
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

8. Bosu Ball Side Squat

Muscles used: glutes, quads, adductors and hamstrings.

Step 1: Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and the Bosu ball positioned a few feet away at your side. Place the inside foot on top of the ball.

Step 2: Lower down into a squat with your standing leg, keeping your butt low while hinging at the hips. Press through your standing heel to rise back up to the starting position, all while keeping your opposite leg on top of the ball straight and engaged. Complete 8 reps on each side.

bosu ball exercises step back and knee raise
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

9. Bosu Ball Step Back + Knee Raise

Muscles used: glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Place one foot on top of the ball and leave the opposite foot on the ground behind you.

Step 2: Press through the heel of your front foot to rise up on the ball. Bring the opposite knee up and in toward your chest while balancing on the standing leg. Hold for one second, then step back and repeat. Complete 8 reps on each side.

CORE

bosu ball exercises plank
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

10. Bosu Ball Plank

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, chest and deltoids.

Begin in a plank position with your forearms on top of the Bosu ball. Keep your shoulders stacked on top of your elbows and engage your core. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

bosu ball exercises high plank
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

11. Bosu Ball High Plank

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, chest and deltoids.

Begin in a high-plank position with your hands on top of the Bosu ball (feel free to use your fists if you feel any pain in your wrists). Keep your shoulders stacked on top of your wrists and engage your core. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

bosu ball exercises decline high plank
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

12. Bosu Ball Decline High Plank

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, chest and deltoids.

Begin in a high-plank position with your hands on the ground directly below your shoulders and feet stacked on top of the Bosu ball behind you. Engage your core and hold this position for 30 seconds.

bosu ball exercises side plank
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

13. Bosu Ball Side Plank

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, adductors, glutes and quads.

Sitting on your side, place one forearm on the Bosu ball with your elbow directly below your shoulder. Place your other hand on your hip. Extend your legs out long, stacking one foot on top of the other, and lift your hips up high off the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds on each side.

bosu ball exercises cross mountain climbers
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

14. Bosu Ball Cross Mountain Climbers

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, chest and deltoids.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Begin in a push-up position with your hands gripping the outer edge of the ball, legs straight back behind you.

Step 2: Holding this position, bring your right knee in toward the opposite elbow. Extend it back to the starting position and bring the left knee in toward the opposite elbow. Keep these movements slow and controlled to maximize core engagement. Complete 10 reps on each side.

bosu ball exercises side to side toe taps
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

15. Bosu Ball Side-to-Side Toe Taps

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, chest and deltoids.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Begin in a push-up position with your hands gripping the outer edge of the ball, legs straight back behind you.

Step 2: Tap your feet out side-to-side, one at a time, engaging your core and glutes to minimize hip movement. Complete 10 reps on each side.

bosu ball exercises quadraped hover
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

16. Bosu Ball Quadruped Hover

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, chest and deltoids.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Begin in a push-up position with your hands gripping the outer edge of the ball, legs straight back behind you. Bring your feet in toward the ball, bending your knees until your legs form a 90-degree angle.

Step 2: Hold this position for 5 seconds, using your core to support you throughout. Lower your knees to rest briefly, then lift back up and hold. Complete 6 reps for a total of 30 seconds.

bosu ball exercises quadraped hover toe taps
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

17. Bosu Ball Quadruped Hover + Toe Taps

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, obliques, chest and deltoids.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Begin in a push-up position with your hands gripping the outer edge of the ball, legs straight back behind you. Bring your feet in toward the ball, bending your knees until your legs form a 90-degree angle.

Step 2: Holding this position, lift one foot up off the ground at a time, pausing slightly at the top. Engage your core and glutes to minimize hip movement. Complete 5 reps on each side.

TOTAL BODY CARDIO

bosu ball exercises burpee
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

18. Bosu Ball Burpee

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, deltoids, quads, chest, triceps and glutes.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Begin standing, holding the edges of the ball with both hands in front of your chest.

Step 2: Squat down, lowering the ball to the ground. Pressing into the ball with your hands, jump your feet out into a high plank and then immediately back in towards your chest. Stand up while still holding the ball and press it high above your head. Complete 8 reps total.

bosu ball exercises modified burpee
Anna Victoria/Mckenzie Cordell

19. Bosu Ball Low-Impact Burpee

Muscles used: transverse abdominals, deltoids, quads, chest, triceps and glutes.

*Do this modified burpee instead if jumping isn’t in the cards.

Step 1: Flip the Bosu ball around so that the flat side is facing up. Begin standing, holding the edges of the ball with both hands in front of your chest.

Step 2: Squat down, lowering the ball to the ground. Pressing into the ball with your hands, step your feet out one at a time into a high plank and then immediately step them back in towards your chest. Stand up while still holding the ball and press it high above your head. Complete 10 reps total.

RELATED: 10 Cool Down Exercises That Can Make Your Workout More Effective

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