Alternative Weighlifting with BOSU Balls and Vew Do Boards

Here is a story, written for EDGE, about alternative workouts involving balance.  Below the article is the link to the edited story, as published.

I came to my passion for weightlifting late.  In my youth, I swam, ran and bicycled, which never felt like exercise because it was fun.  In my teens (inspired by the movies Grease and Saturday Night Fever) I changed to dance, until my twenties, when I switched to partying.  Then came over ten years of weight troubles.  I did not pick up a weight until the year I turned 38.  I’m 50 this year and my trainer, who is one year older than me and started lifting when he was 12, recently introduced me to some new techniques he is learning that help us stay fit and muscular, while lowering the risk of injury to a body that will insist on aging naturally.  I don’t just love the lifting for the joy of it; I get a mental bang out of lifting heavy weight because I’m a caveman.  I want to lift heavy.  I just can’t – at least not as much as I did, just a few short years ago.

 There are other reasons to investigate alternate lifting techniques.  Some people have injuries that need accommodating.  We’ve all had them and, if we are lucky, we recover enough to stay active and continue to indulge in our passion for fitness.

Balance exercises have become increasingly popular –people get bored with their workouts and want to try new things; sometimes  trainers are looking for new techniques that will show they are growing with the times.  I find balance work to be beneficial because it challenges me.  If you are working on a balance board or a BOSU ball, you aren’t just lifting weight, you are engaging your core, working on your base of support, using all the joints of your legs and really having to focus (rather than suffering your lifting by cruising hotties that pass by in the mirror).  BOSU balls are a good place to start your balance workouts.  I like to do squats (using the flat side up, round side down, just in case you need to know) on a BOSU – sometimes with weights and sometimes without.  I also like doing curls, overhead extensions, shoulder presses (again, flat side up) and other weightlifting while standing on the BOSU.  If you use a Bosu in front (either side up) and a weight bench in back, you can do some really effective lunges (quads be burnin!) and if  you use a BOSU, flat side down, you’ve got a wonderful ab workout that makes you lock your core all the way around, all day long.  You can find a lot of BOSU balance exercises on Youtube and you can get a BOSU on Amazon or directly from the manufacturers.

My favorite balance work is done on a Vew Do Board.  Balance boards were originally made for skiers and surfers to practice their craft but it has become de rigueur to use them in many forms of training.  We could all use better balance in life, anyway – we’re distracted by things and we have equilibrium problems of some sort and we all age.  Balance becomes an important part of life when it comes to not sustaining injuries from falls.  I love the Vew Do Board because it is a great challenge, something new to do (and fun) – it’s also a conversation starter at the gym.  People with a passion for exercise will ask questions, talk about it, try it out.  It can help bring us together.  My favorite thing to do on my Vew Do board is upright raises (so difficult) and shoulder presses with as heavy dumbbells as I can take.  I also do bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder flyes.. sometimes I just want to stand on it and balance.  The concentration needed, the focus on form, the locking of the core: these things make it a head to toe workout and one that doesn’t require really heavy weight, allowing me to take the pressure off of longterm shoulder tendinitis, a torn meniscus and all the other injuries that come with using your body like a battering ram for most of your life.

There’s no need to let your workouts become routine when there is so much out there to do.  Try it.  You’ll like it.


EDGE article: Alternative Balance Workouts

Top! Copyright © Stephen Mosher