All across the globe, personal trainers push their clients up onto BOSU balls with claims that it increases core muscle activity.
And while I personally think that the only reason trainers’ use the BOSU is to make their clients look silly…
…I always wondered what would happen if the BOSU got dragged into a university lab and put through it’s paces.
Well, back in March of this year, researchers from Eastern Illinois University did just that.
PURPOSE: To compare core muscle activity during resistance exercises performed on stable ground vs. the BOSU Balance Trainer.
METHODS: Twelve trained men performed the back squat, dead lift, overhead press, and bicep curl lifts. Each lift was performed under three separate conditions:
- 50% of 1 RM (rep max or max possible lift) while standing on solid ground,
- 50% of 1 RM while standing on a BOSU and
- 75% of 1RM while standing on solid ground.
For each lift, the activity of the rectus abdominis, external oblique abdominis, transversus abdominis/internal oblique abdominis, and erector spinae muscles was assessed.
RESULTS: Significant differences were noted between the stable 75% of 1-RM and BOSU 50% of 1-RM conditions for the rectus abdominis during the overhead press and transversus abdominis/internal oblique abdominis during the overhead press and curl.
Conversely, there were no significant differences between the stable 75% of 1-RM and BOSU 50% of 1-RM conditions for the external obliques and erector spinae across all lifts examined.
And most significantly, there were no significant differences between the BOSU 50% of 1-RM and stable 50% of 1-RM conditions across all muscles and lifts examined.
NOTE – I am trying to get permission to publish the actual data…when I get it, I will update the post
CONCLUSIONS: There is NO advantage in utilizing the BOSU Balance Trainer.
With equal loads, there was no significant difference in core muscle activation between the BOSU and a solid platform.
The BOSU might make the exercise feel harder, but it won’t make your core muscles work harder.
So, just like those guys on the Discovery Channel, I declare this fitness myth…BUSTED.
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