The balance trainer is one of the most unique and adaptable pieces of equipment in the gym. The original balance trainer, the BOSU, was invented in the 90s. The acronym is based on its function: both sides utilized.
With each balance trainer variant, one thing remains the same—exercises can be done on both the platform and the inflated dome. Size, durability, and other bells ‘n’ whistles set them apart. That’s why I’ve decided to talk about 5 different products in this balance trainer review. Here are the contenders:
Best balance trainer overall: BOSU Elite Balance Trainer
Best balance trainer w/resistance bands: Giantex Ball Balance Trainer
Best budget balance trainer: Best Choice Products Yoga Ball
Best balance trainer w/pump: Sagler Balance Ball
Honorable mention: BOSU Balance Trainer
What is a balance trainer?
If you’ve seen a yoga ball, you’re halfway to understanding the design of the balance trainer. Picture a yoga ball cut in half and placed on a sturdy rubber platform—that’s pretty much it! The BOSU was created to help with balance, stability, reflexes, and rehabilitation. Unlike accessories with fading trends, the balance trainer has been a long-lasting and resilient presence in gym history.
The reason this piece of equipment has not been lost in the evolution of fitness is because of its versatility. This product is able to accompany any fitness level and could aid in finessing a lot of different sports—from horseback riding to SUP! There are exercises for those rehabbing from surgery, elderly citizens working on balance, and athletes striving to be their best.
Things to know before buying
First, before purchasing a balance trainer, keep in mind that there will be some assembly involved. Since the ball doesn’t come inflated, expect to be airing up the dome yourself. Be sure to follow inflation instructions because too much air could cause the bladder to separate from the base. Game over.
Secondly, expect there to be a learning curve if it’s your first time trying it out. Take precaution when using any balance techniques. Use a partner or the wall to steady yourself as you grow accustomed to the instability.
Balance trainer exercises
Probably the biggest selling point is the abundance of workouts available for this accessory. It can target all your major muscle groups as well as strengthen your joints and stabilizer muscles. You’ll not get bored with the balance trainer anytime soon. Here are some ways you can use it:
Dome Down, Platform Up — Squat + Front Raise
In this position, you’ll be standing on the platform. Keep your stance wide and your center of gravity low. As you squat, raise a ball or dumbbells to counterbalance yourself.
Platform Down, Dome up — Split Squat
In this position, you’ll be doing balance work on the dome. Assuming lunge position, place your lead foot on the dome. As you lunge, try to fix the knee in that one plane of movement (i.e. try to prevent lateral wobbling.)
Plank Position Drill — BOSU Mountain Climber
With the dome side down, place your hands on the handles while in a high plank. Drive one knee to the chest then switch legs as fast as you can. Maintain a flat back and tight core. The instability of the plank will add some extra shoulder work—thanks, balance trainer!
Partner Drill — Rotational Throws
Because the name of the game is balance, partner workouts can add a fun twist to your workout. Grab a friend (and another BOSU if you want!) and try out this duo drill. Standing on the platform in a slight squat position, toss a medicine ball to your partner. Alternate toss sides, and be sure to steady yourself for the catch!
BOSU Ball & Balance Trainer Reviews
1.Best BOSU Ball: BOSU Elite Balance Trainer
The Elite is stronger than others, too—capable of handling 400 pound loads and more impactful movements. Because of the imprinted numbers and power lines, this BOSU can offer you hands-on education. These features allow you to achieve proper body alignment and learn what difference stances target.
Who’s it for?
The BOSU Elite, like the name implies, has a lot of features that’ll compliment the seasoned gym-goer and athlete. The dome’s ability to handle high impact loads and the alignment cues on the vinyl make this an excellent choice if you’re wanting to up your game.
- The Elite is manufactured with doubly thick vinyl to withstand higher impact
- Visual position guidelines in the form of notches and numbers are imprinted on the dome for tracking certain postures
- There is a 400 pound load capacity
- The Elite is the most expensive
2.Best balance trainer w/resistance bands: Giantex Ball Balance Trainer
Using a rugged PVC material produced in an environmentally friendly way, the manufacture boasts a 660 pound weight limit. Most reviewers are happy with the quality and are even more pleased by the value, especially since the bands are included.
Who’s it for?
The Giantex is designed with full body workouts in mind, so if you’re into compound movements, this is the balance trainer for you. If you prefer working with free weights, the resistance bands might take some getting used to.
- The Giantex is perfect for both balance and resistance training
- Resistance bands are included and also removable
- Tough PVC-type material gives it the highest weight limit of any balance trainer (660 pounds!)
- Resistance bands do not have adjustable lengths or strengths
- The diameter of the base is slightly smaller than most other balls
3. Best budget balance trainer: Best Choice Products Yoga Ball
The Best Choice ball is slightly narrower and lighter than other models, weighing only 12 pounds. Since the bands are removable and the ball slightly lighter, you might find this balance trainer to be the most storable choice.
Who’s it for?
The Best Choice Yoga Ball is definitely the best choice if you’re on a budget. This ball has everything you need—it’s sturdy, it’s simple to inflate, and it comes with resistance bands. If you want a challenging workout but you don’t want to empty your wallet, I would choose this balance trainer for sure!
- This is the most economical balance trainer out there
- The Best Choice Yoga Ball comes with resistance bands and a foot pump
- The dome is slightly taller and rounder, making balancing more difficult (depending on who you are, this could be listed in pros!)
4. Best balance trainer w/pump: Sagler Balance Ball
The perk of the Sagler Balance Ball is that it comes with a pretty reliable hand pump. According to a lot of positive reviews, the bladder was simple to inflate, and not a ton of air was lost when switching from pump to plug.
Who’s it for?
The frame is sturdy, but the ABS plastic dome has a weight limit of only 300 pounds—probably not suitable for high impact workouts or athletes. If you’re relatively new to the workout scene and want an effective addition to your home gym, I think the Segler is an excellent choice
- The Sagler comes with a reliable hand pump and resistance bands
- The value of this balance ball is one of the best
- The base is rather small (20 inch diameter)
- Lower weight limit than most balance trainers (300 pounds)
5. Honorable mention: BOSU Balance Trainer
The key differences are the weight limit and warranty. The weight limit is 50 pounds less than the Pro (300 pound load volume), and the warranty is 90 days as opposed to the Pro’s 1 year. To me, these factors point to a larger contrast: this BOSU Balance Trainer is probably not intended for commercial use like it’s cousin, the Pro.
Who’s it for?
As I mentioned before, the BOSU Balance Trainer seems best suited for home use. The accessories agree! This BOSU comes with 2 workouts DVDs and a wall poster detailing a sampling of exercises. This BOSU Balance Trainer would be the perfect addition to a home gym, and the accessories will equip you with the right training.
- Comes with extra materials: 2 DVDS and a wall poster
- For the more aesthetically minded, you’ll be happy to know that this trainer comes in a variety of colors!
- This balance trainer isn’t equipped to handle high-volume, commercial usage
- The warranty isn’t quite as long as the Pro (90 days)
Q: How do I get the plug out of my Balance Trainer?
A: Believe me, I was asking the same question. I’m glad that the plug fits tightly, but good grief. When I was packing my BOSU for storage, I had the hardest time pulling the plug from the valve. The best solution is to pry it loose using a spoon (no sharp edges—see next question)
Q: How do I repair a hole in my balance trainer?
A: One of the best methods used by consumers and manufacturers alike is a vinyl patch. These patches (uses for air mattresses, pool, etc.) can be purchased at your local hardware store.
Q: How do I get on a balance trainer when it’s platform side up?
A: If you’re uneasy about getting on your balance trainer at first, I’d recommend having a partner or a wall nearby that can help you steady yourself.
Going it alone: to me, the easiest way is to press down on one side of the platform—almost like snapping up the tail of a skateboard. Place your hand on the portion of the platform that’s tilted up, and place your other foot on that edge. You should arrive at an even platform and a wide stance. Check out this video for a quick tutorial.
My final two cents
To me, it’s a no-brainer. The BOSU Elite is the clear winner because it checks a lot of boxes. Granted, it’s the most expensive, but once you see the benefits and features, you’ll understand why.
The dome is designed to be resilient and to teach users effective body alignment. The Elite is equipped with extra thick vinyl to handle high-intensity loads. Odds are, this’ll be the first and only BOSU you ever buy.
But I think it’s only fair to crown a winner for the best value. Though an “off brand”, the Giantex takes the cake for its unique advantages, and reviewers think so too! The vinyl on the Giantex has the highest weight capacity, and it comes with resistance bands. It has a lot of cool features for half the price of the Elite.
Whichever you choose, your new balance trainer will provide an amazing workout. I use the BOSU to mix up my training because the same ol’ thing can get monotonous. A balance trainer offers a fun-filled, core-blasting and stability-perfecting workout that my body appreciates.
So hop off your treadmill and try something new! Leave a comment and tell us which balance trainer is right for you!