Get your BUTT off of that Bosu…

We have have all seen that guy or girl at the gym standing on a BOSU ball (blue half ball) doing squats or worse yet biceps curls, but have you ever asked yourself WHY?  The standard gym dogma says “its working my core” or “it’s great way to gain core strength” by working on an unstable surface, but the problem is the science just doesn’t add up.

When performing an exercise on an unstable surface such as a BOSU ball, many studies have shown that there is a slight but not significant increase in muscle activation in the core muscles (abdominal and low back). More importantly these studies have shown that there is a decrease in strength, as high 50%, in the muscles that are primarily being trained (ex. the quads or leg muscles in a squat).  Also it has been shown that when performing the same exercise on a solid and stable surface with a heavy load, core activation registers much higher.

So how does this apply to the avg gym goer trying to get in shape and lose weight (you and me)?  You are best to concentrate your workouts on exercises that emphasize maximal muscle contraction of large muscle groups. These exercise include: squats, dead lifts and overhead pressing. In other words the best way to work your core is to stand on the ground and LIFT HEAVY WEIGHT!!!!