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Having a Ball with a Bosu Series – Back Workout
by Sárka-Jonae Miller
(The Best Years in Life) Although often labeled as one area in workouts, the back has several major muscle groups. The lats, or latissimus dorsi, compromise the largest back muscles, but there are also the rhomboids in the upper back and the muscles of the lower back and spine. A Bosu ball offers a few exercise choices for targeting the back muscles while also improving balance and core strength.
Bosu Ball Seated Cable Rows
To strengthen and tone the lats, perform cable rows seated on a Bosu ball. You'll need an exercise cable, probably of a medium “weight” to start. Exercise cables are inexpensive and highly versatile tools that can replace many of the exercises more often performed with machines or dumbbells.
Begin by folding the exercise cable in half to find the center and then wrap the middle of the cable around a fixed object like a pole. You could also loop it through a door attachment typically sold as an accessory for cables. Sit on a Bosu ball facing the cable at a comfortable distance that allows you to grip the handles with your arms straight. Sit up tall and tighten your abs. Turn your palms to face upwards if you want to target your biceps as well as your lats. Otherwise, turn palms to face each other.
Next, bend your elbows and pull your arms back. Pull your shoulders back as well as if trying to make your shoulder blades touch. Straighten your arms to complete one repetition. Adjust the distance of the Bosu ball if needed. Work up to three sets of 12 reps, switching out the cable if 12 reps doesn't fatigue your back muscles.
Bosu Ball Reverse Flyes
Reverse flyes are an effective upper back exercise usually performed with light-to-medium-weight dumbbells. They can be performed seated or standing. For the Bosu ball version, grab a pair of dumbbells and sit on the center of the Bosu ball, round side up. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Bend over so your chest is on or near your thighs. Let your arms hang straight toward the floor with your palms facing inwards holding a dumbbell in each hand. You should almost be hugging your legs.
Begin by lifting your arms out to the sides and up toward the ceiling. Maintain a slight bend at the elbow. Concentrate on lifting the weight with your back muscles instead of focusing on your arms. Lower your arms to complete one reverse flye. The almost flapping motion of the arms is what gives the exercise the name flyes. Work up to three sets of 10 reps.
Bosu Ball Supermans
Supermans on the floor are easy, at least comparatively to Bosu ball supermans. This lower-back strengthening exercise transforms into a challenging exercise for your core by moving it onto the Bosu. You might feel this in your shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and abs in addition to your back.
Place the Bosu on the floor with the round side up. Lie face down on the Bosu with your arms extended straight in front of you. Legs are straight too. Adjust the position of your body until you are able to lift both your legs and upper body off the floor at the same time, balancing on the Bosu. This balance point will likely be under your abdomen or pelvis.
Once you've found the right position, begin lying on the Bosu and floor. Then, squeeze your glutes as you lift your upper and lower body toward the ceiling. Lower back down to complete one rep. Try only a couple of repetitions at first and slowly work up to two sets of 10. Stop immediately if your back hurts and consult a physician. Do not attempt supermans or any other exercise without being cleared by a medical professional first.
These three exercises make a complete back workout you can do once or twice a week along with other body-part specific workouts on different days. Alternatively, perform either the rows or reverse flyes as part of your full-body workouts and incorporate the supermans into your core routines. Don't forget the rest of Having a Ball With a Bosu articles for the glutes, shoulders, core, and cardio training.
About the Author
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.