Karen Voight Bosu Exercises

For A Stronger Back, Try This Balancing Act (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · June 7, 2004
By Karen Voight

For a challenging way to train your back and gluteal muscles, do this move on a flat padded surface and then try it on a Bosu trainer for more intensity. It will help you develop core strength, stability and balance

1 . Lie face down on a mat or on a Bosu trainer with your pelvis and lower abdomen centered on the dome. Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms turned up. Straighten your legs behind you with your feet shoulder width apart.

2 . On an exhalation, slowly bend both knees and reach your arms back attempting to touch your fingertips to your heels. Look forward as you hold this position and balance yourself on the ball or floor for 10 seconds. Return down to the starting position and relax for 15 seconds. Repeat this exercise 3 more times


Balance Is Everything (Stretching & Yoga)
Los Angeles Times · June 21, 2004
By Karen Voight

Variety is a key ingredient when working out. It keeps your routines fresh and your body does not get to go on "auto pilot." Here's a fun, new way to fuse a mind/body exercise with core conditioning. You will develop flexibility, balance and muscle control all at the same time.

1. Kneel upright on a Bosu trainer with your knees at hip width apart. Once you feel comfortable with your balance, lift both feet off the floor and try to keep them from touching the ground during the move. Straighten your arms to your side with your palms turned up to the ceiling.

2. Swing your arms in front of your chest hooking your right elbow underneath your left. Wrap your forearms so that your palms meet in front of your face. Keep your chest lifted and pull your elbows down, moving the tops of your shoulders away from your ears. Feel a stretch across your upper back and shoulders. Hold and balance in this position for 15 seconds. Release your arms to the side and repeat hooking your left elbow underneath your right this time.


Up in Arms Over Triceps? Lift and Flex (Strength Training)
Los Angeles Times · July 5, 2004
By Karen Voight

To perform this triceps extension, which strengthens and sculpts the backs of your upper arms, you can lie on the floor or a flat weight bench. A Bosu trainer offers a soft surface and positions your upper body at a slight incline. This can be more comfortable than lying flat, but you'll need to focus on keeping your elbows directly above your shoulders.

1. Hold a barbell with your hands shoulder width apart. Lie down on a mat or position your shoulders against a Bosu Trainerr. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Straighten your arms to lift the bar directly above your shoulders.

2. Keeping your upper arms stationary, slowly bend your elbows to lower the barbell a few inches above your forehead. Keep your elbows pointed upwards. Pause for a moment and then slowly straighten your arms to raise the bar back to the starting position. Peform 8-12 reps, rest for 15 seconds and repeat two more times for a total of 3 sets.



A Squeeze For Firmer Thighs And Stronger Legs (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · July 19, 2004
By Karen Voight

Perform this move on a sturdy bench or on a Bosu trainer to tighten and firm your inner thigh and buttock muscles. It will help you develop strength and stamina in your legs without building bulk. If you want to make it more challenging, try doing this move with 3-5 lb ankle weights on your legs.

1. Lie face down on a low padded bench or a Bosu trainer. Position your hips on the surface and place your hands or forearms on the floor. Make sure your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Straighten both legs behind you. Rotate your thighs outward so your knees and toes point to the side. Find your balance, tighten your buttocks and then lift both legs off the floor.

2. By squeezing your inner thigh muscles, bring your legs together, crossing your right ankle above your left. Pause for a moment with your legs still squeezing together, then separate your legs, bring them to the starting position and repeat. This time cross your left ankle above your right. Do 16 reps, rest for 15 seconds and repeat for 2 more sets.


A Move To Make Lifting And Reaching Easier (Strength Training)
Los Angeles Times · August 2, 2004
By Karen Voight

Front arm raises can improve the overall shape of your shoulders by training the muscles in the front of your shoulders called the deltoids. Strong deltoids make lifting objects and reaching forward much easier to do. Performing this move on a Bosu Ball engages your core muscles and will also help to protect your back, by preventing you from leaning backwards as your raise your arms.

1 . Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, both palms facing your body, elbows slightly bent. Place your knees hip width apart on a Bosu Trainer. Lift your feet off the floor and tighten your abdominals.

2. Slowly raise your arms in front of you until the dumbbells are at shoulder level while maintaining your balance on the Bosu ball. Pause at the top with your arms parallel to the floor. With control, lower the dumbbells down your thighs. Repeat 12-15 times. Rest for 15 seconds and repeat for a total of 3 sets.


Sculpt And Firm Your Upper Body (Strength Training
Los Angeles Times · August 9, 2004
By Karen Voight

This is a popular exercise to target the muscles in your upper body and shoulders. Done properly, it adds shape and firmness to your back muscles and develops strength that is especially valuable to swimmers or rock climbers who need powerful upper bodies.

1. Lie down on a sturdy bench or position your head and shoulders on top of a Bosu Trainer. Bend your knees with your feet hip width apart and flat on the floor. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend your elbows with the dumbbells close together and just above your chest. Pull your abdominals and keep your back straight.

2. Keeping your elbows in the bent position, inhale and move the dumbbells behind your head. On an exhale, squeeze the muscles in the outer sides of your back as you slowly bring the dumbbells back over your upper chest. Pause for a moment and repeat 12 times. Rest for 20 seconds and repeat for a total of 3 sets.


To Increase Your Range Of Motion (Stretching & Yoga)
Los Angeles Times · April 5, 2004
By Karen Voight

These two stretches, done regularly, will help your spine and hips become more supple and flexible and increase your range of motion. Don't hold your breath or strain to breathe while bending. Instead, concentrate on relaxed deep breathing and back off a little from the stretch if your breathing becomes labored.

1. Side bend: Sit on a comfortable, sturdy surface, such as a low bench or a Bosu ball. Extend your legs at a 45-degree angle from your body, with your toes facing out. Inhale with arms to the sides in a T-position. On an exhale, place your right arm against the inside of your right leg and reach up with your left arm. With every inhalation, focus on feeling an expansion between your ribs on the left side of your torso. Relax your left shoulder away from your left ear and stay in this position for six to eight breaths. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

2. Forward bend: Sit on a comfortable, sturdy surface. Extend your legs at a 45-degree angle, with your toes facing out. On an inhale, reach both arms in front of your chest and sit up as tall as you can. Exhale and slowly bend forward from your hips, placing your hands on the floor. Tuck in your chin slightly to lengthen the back of your neck. On every inhalation, focus on feeling a stretch in your hips and back; as you exhale, stretch a bit more deeply. Stay in this position for six to eight breaths, then slowly return to the starting position.

A Balanced Ab Approach (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · April 26, 2004
By Karen Voight

One of the most effective abdominal exercises is the "bicycle." To intensify this exercise, try using a Bosu ball. The method will help develop strength and balance in your core muscles. It is not easy to do a lot of repetitions of this move. So try adding one set to the end of your abdominal routine (after your muscles are warmed up) to kick up your workout.

1. Lie on a Bosu ball facing upward; your lower and middle back should be centered on the ball. Slowly bring both knees to your chest. Position your hands behind your head, with your elbows pointed out to the sides. Maintain your balance as you slowly bring your left shoulder toward your right knee and straighten out your left leg in front of you. Pause for a moment in the crunch, then slowly begin to switch sides.

2. This time, bring your right shoulder toward your left knee and straighten your right leg in front of you. Do as many repetitions as you can without losing your balance. Move slowly and maintain control during the exercise. If you feel off balance, stop, bend both knees toward your chest to regain your balance and start over.

Warm Up, Protect Those Knees and Lunge (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · April 19, 2004
By Karen Voight

Here is a good way to warm up your thigh muscles and protect your knees before doing a traditional forward stepping lunge. Doing a few of these on a step or a Bosu ball will allow you to use less force on the downward phase. If you have sensitive knees but still want to develop strength and power in your legs, ease into your leg workout with this warm-up move.

1. Holding a pair of dumbbells, stand facing a low sturdy bench or stability ball. Center your right foot on top of the elevated surface, with your toes and knee facing forward. Keep your left leg on the floor, rotated out at a 45-degree angle.

2. Press firmly into your right heel and slowly bend your right knee. Do not let your hips drop below knee level and keep your right knee behind your right toes. Pause briefly, then straighten your right leg and push back to the start position. Do this move very slowly so you can feel the muscles in your right leg supporting your weight as you bend and push back. Repeat five or six times on each leg.

A Balanced Workout For Rotator Cuff Muscles (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · April 12, 2004
By Karen Voight

This exercise primarily works your rotator cuff muscles, which are deep within your shoulders. Perform this move on a ball and you will also be working your abdominals and back muscles, which help you balance during the movement.

1. Lie down with your chest over a large stability ball. Move your legs shoulder-width apart, with your knees bent and your toes curled under for better stability. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows at 90-degree angles, with your wrists below your elbows. Your palms will be facing your feet.

2. Keeping your elbows at shoulder height, slowly raise the dumbbells so that both palms face the floor and your elbows point toward your feet. Be sure to tighten your abdominal muscles and keep the tops of your shoulders pressing down away from your ears. Do not lift the dumbbells higher than shoulder level.

A Jump Adds More Than Fun (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · March 29, 2004
By Karen Voight

A fun way to combine a cardiovascular and leg workout with core stability training is to do moves like this one on a Bosu Balance Trainer. To get more out of this move, remember to focus on controlling your landing by pausing on the center of the Bosu trainer.

1. Stand on top of the dome at the center of the Bosu trainer with feet close together. Bend your knees and hold your arms in front as if you were holding ski poles.

2. With your upper body facing forward, jump up and rotate your lower body about 45 degrees to one side. Pause on the landing, then jump to the other side. Make sure you twist only your lower body, keeping your upper body stable. Repeat as many times as you can without losing control. If you feel off balance, stop and regain your balance.

Protect Your Shoulders From Wear And Tear (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · March 8, 2004
By Karen Voight
If your shoulders feel weak when you play racquet sports or toss a Frisbee, you may need to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles. This is a great exercise that will help to stabilize your arm in its socket.

1. Hold a dumbbell (2 to 5 pounds) in your left hand. Lie on your right side on the floor, or over a Bosu ball for comfort. Bend both knees. Position your left elbow at your side and bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Your palm and forearm will face your stomach.

2. With your left elbow below shoulder level, rotate your arm from the shoulder and slowly raise your left hand to elbow height. Your palm will face the floor. Pause for a moment, then slowly lower your left hand back toward your stomach. Throughout the exercise, remember to pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine to prevent your lower back from overarching.

These Side Raises Have Core Benefits
(Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · February 9, 2004
By Karen Voight

To add variety to your fitness program, try including "balance training" in some of your arm workouts. Perform these side raises on a Bosu ball and you will target your core muscles (hips, abdominals and back) as well as your shoulders.

1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms by your sides and both palms facing inward. Slowly raise your right arm until the dumbbell is at shoulder height. While lifting one arm, concentrate on keeping both shoulders level. Pause at the top of the move, then slowly lower the dumbbell to your side.

2. Repeat the exercise, raising your left arm. Try not to lean to one side as you raise and lower the dumbbells. If you are lifting a heavy weight or want to reduce the strain on your shoulders, perform this same move with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.

One Move For Many Upper-Body Muscles (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · November 24, 2003
By Karen Voight

This exercise targets the chest, arms and shoulders. For a greater challenge, perform this move on a Bosu or a stability ball rather than a bench. It will force your abdominals and back to work harder to keep your upper body balanced. Also, using dumbbells instead of a barbell will help develop equal strength in both arms.

1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and position your head and upper back on the dome side of the Bosu. (Once you feel comfortable with this move, you can flip the Bosu and position your upper body the same way against the flat side.) Bend your elbows, pointing them out to the sides, with your wrists above your elbows, palms facing your feet. On an inhale, expand your chest without overarching your lower back.

2. With your chest lifted, exhale, then slowly raise the dumbbells until they are directly above your shoulders. As you raise the dumbbells, rotate your palms to face inward. Pause at the top; your elbows should not be locked. Add an extra "squeeze" in the chest at the top of the lift. Return to the start position by lowering your arms slowly. Repeat eight to 12 times, rest, then do another set.

Pushing The Limit Is Now Even Harder (Body & Sculpting)
Los Angeles Times · November 17, 2003
By Karen Voight

The classic push-up is a simple, effective and convenient way to increase strength in your upper body; using a Bosu ball or a wobble board makes it more challenging. By engaging your core muscles (your abdominals and back) to help you balance, you'll get more out of the exercise. For an easier version, you can modify it by doing knee push-ups on a padded surface.

1. Place your hands on the outside edges of the platform, making sure your hands are directly below your shoulders. Balance on your toes with straight legs (for an easier version of the exercise, bend your knees and kneel on a padded surface). Tighten your abdominals and keep your back in a straight line.

2. Inhale as you slowly lower your body until your chest comes close to the platform. Do not let your lower back sway downward. Pause for a moment at the bottom of the push-up. Exhale and slowly raise your body to the starting position. Perform as many push-ups as you can with proper form, rest for 30 seconds and do a second set.


Reverse Ab Crunch (Body & Sculpting)
By Karen Voight

Reverse Curls take on a whole new dimension when you perform them on a Bosu Trainer or wobble board. Since the platform offers and unstable surface, your upper body must find and maintain balance while you challenge your core muscles. With this one exercise you'll double your results in less time.

1. Begin by kneeling in front of the wobble board or Bosu (turn the Bosu trainer dome-side down). Place your forearms on the platform with your elbows below your shoulders and your chest over the center of the platform. Straighten your legs and tighten your abdominals create a straight line with your body.

2. Slowly lift your hips and curl your trunk by bending your knees. Think of pulling your lower ribcage toward your hips. The platform should tilt forward toward your knees. Pause in this position then slowly straighten your legs and return to the starting plank position. Perform 8-10 reps rest for 20 seconds and repeat for a total of 3 sets.


Side Crunch (Body & Sculpting)
By Karen Voight

A simple and easy way to work your side torso muscles is to turn sideways and perform side crunches. Done properly, you won't see a large range of motion but you will feel an intense contraction on the outer side of your abdominals. You can perform this move either on a flat mat or on a Bosu trainer.

1. If you are using a Bosu trainer, position the right side of your torso on the dome with your bottom leg bent and the top leg straight. If you are working on the floor, lie on your right side bending both knees toward your chest. Place your left hand behind your head, pointing your elbow up towards the ceiling. Rest your right hand on your left shoulder. Inhale.

2. On an exhale, squeeze the muscles in the right side of your torso to bring your right shoulder towards your right hip. Pause for a moment at the top of this contraction. Release your torso down to the start position and repeat 12 more times. Rest for 15 seconds and perform 3 sets on each side.





These articles originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times in the "Good Form" feature of the Health Section. "Good Form" is updated with a new Karen Voight article each Monday.