Squats are one of the best, if not the best, lower body exercises for building strength, and muscle size. They also improve mobility and functionality. Few lower body exercises work as many muscle groups and do it so efficiently as the squat. The squat is a quadriceps focused exercise, although your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core get a workout when you squat too. The muscles you target vary somewhat with how low you go and your foot placement.
Despite its benefits, the squat is a difficult exercise to master. It takes time and patience to learn to do one with good form, without cheating or injuring yourself. But once you learn how to squat properly, you’re well on the path to a stronger, more functional lower body. That comes in handy when you train, in sports, and in daily life.
Once you’re a pro at doing a basic squat, there are many squat variations you can add to your lower body routine to better target particular muscle groups. For example, goblet squats work your glute muscles harder than front or back squats. So, you get more booty action.
Even if you have knee pain, there are ways to modify squats to make them gentler to your knees. Despite concerns that squatting is bad for your knees, squatting strengthens your quads, the muscles that support and knee joint. If you do them correctly, squats are a safe and effective exercise for the knees
Squatting on a BOSU Ball – Smart or Not?
Most people do squats using dumbbells or a barbell on flat ground, but you can also do them on a BOSU ball. What is a BOSU ball? It’s a rubbery, round half globe you can stand on or place one foot on when you do certain exercises. It looks like a ball cut in half down the middle. For example, some people place one foot on the rounded surface of a BOSU ball when they lunge. Others stand on a BOSU ball when doing squats.
You can also turn a BOSU ball over, so the flat side is facing up and the rounded portion rests on the floor. From this position, you can do exercises, like planks, while gripping the sides of the flat portion of the BOSU ball. It’s a versatile tool and one that’s inexpensive.
Squats and Lunges on a BOSU Ball
What’s the purpose of squatting or lunging on a BOSU? The rounded top of a BOSU ball creates an unstable surface. By exercising on an unstable surface, it forces you to recruit your core muscles more than if you do the same movement on a flat, stable surface. Your core muscles fire to help stabilize you on a less than stable surface. By squatting on a BOSU ball, your core muscles work harder because the small stabilizer muscles contract to help you stay balanced.
Another reason people do exercises on a BOSU ball is that the unstable surface forces you to balance more. The rounded surface of a BOSU ball enhances static and dynamic balance while sharpening your proprioceptive skills. Over time, BOSU squats and lunges can and improve your sense of balance.
The Drawbacks of Squatting on a BOSU Ball
You will work your core muscles harder if you squat on a domed surface, but there are downsides to squatting on a BOSU ball. The biggest risk is that your form will fall apart when you squat on a BOSU ball. It’s harder to maintain proper form when you’re on an unstable surface.
When you squat on any surface, you count on your core and glutes to keep you balanced and stable. Your glutes have a harder time firing when you’re on an unstable surface, like a BOSU ball, so you lose some stability, and your form can fall apart.
If you use a BOSU ball for squats, perfect your form on a stable surface first. If you still want to try BOSU squats for the balance challenge, use your own bodyweight or light weights. Don’t try to use the resistance you would use on a flat surface like the floor. If you still have problems performing a quality squat on the floor, don’t even attempt squatting on a BOSU ball.
The risk of injury is greater too when you’re on a domed surface since it’s harder to gauge and maintain your foot placement. You can even fall off the surface if you aren’t careful. The risks of squatting on a BOSU ball are even greater if you’re squatting using heavy resistance. So, be cautious about squatting on a BOSU ball or stick to doing them on a flat surface, especially when you’re starting out. BOSU ball squats are a more advanced movement.
The Bottom Line
A BOSU ball is useful for certain exercises, but the downsides outweigh the upsets when it comes to squats. It’s safer to use a BOSU ball for an exercise like planks since your arms are resting on it, but your feet are in a stable position. It’s also safe to do side planks and mountain climbers with your arm and hands respectively on the domed surface of a BOSU ball. If you use a BOSU to do squats, make sure you can do them with impeccable form and start by using no weight or light weight.
- com. “Why You’ll Never Get Strong Doing Squats on a Bosu Ball”
- “Platform BOSU ball Squat | RHOTE.” https://rhote.org/exercise/platform-bosu-ball-squat/.
- net. Activation of Selected Core Muscles during Squatting. January 2016. DOI:10.4172/2324-9080.1000222.
- SQUATS PERFORMED ON AN UNSTABLE SURFACE ELICIT HIGHER TRANSVERSAL FORCE OUTPUT COMPARED TO MORE STABLE SQUATS. April 2020. Conference: ISBS 2020 – 38th Conference of the International Society of Biomechanics in SportsAt: Liverpool, UK.
- Eckardt, Nils; Behm, David G.; Weers, Armin; and Schorer, Jörg (2020) “SQUATS PERFORMED ON AN UNSTABLE SURFACE ELICIT HIGHER TRANSVERSAL FORCE OUTPUT COMPARED TO MORE STABLE SQUATS,” ISBS Proceedings Archive: Vol. 38 : Iss. 1 , Article 245.