If you’ve been following my columns, then you’ve already seen a favorite tool of mine, instability. A great way to add instability is through using an unstable surface such as a bosu ball. With this bosu (flat on one side and round on the other), you can change many of your most routine exercises into a much more challenging version. Last time we talked about adding the bosu ball to your squat to recruit more muscles, work on balance, and engage the fine muscles in the ankle and knee for joint stabilization. This article will focus on adding all of those same benefits, but to a push-up. Push-ups are one of the most well know exercises around.  By adding the bosu ball we can make the regular push-up much more beneficial!

We can place the ball multiple different ways to engage the muscles differently and add variety to your work out. The first way we will explore will be with the round side up with your hands positioned on the top of the ball as wide as you can manage, without feeling like you are sliding down the edges. Just like with standard push-ups, you can choose to approach them on your toes, the harder of the two options, or on your knees. You will position yourself just like you would for a normal push-up, with your back nice and flat and core tight. From here you will lower your chest down to the ball and then exhale as you press your body back up to your starting position.

We will approach the second option almost the same way as the first but note that this time you will be even more unstable, and thus more challenging. We will change the ball position to be round side on the ground, flat side up. You can either grip the edges of the ball or keep your hands flat on the top of the ball, or whichever you feel most comfortable with. One key with using the bosu ball in this position is to keep the ball level; you don’t want to tilt the ball toward you or away from you. Again, you will keep your back flat and core tight as you lower your chest down to the ball then exhale and press yourself back up.

With both of these options you want to be careful not to lock your elbows totally out at the top of the movement so you don’t put too much stress on the joint. As always, a slow and controlled pace is key! Don’t rush through the movements because you put yourself at risk for injury. You always want to be in control of the movements your body is doing, not just letting gravity take over.

I hope you enjoy this exercise as much as I do!