One of the most popular innovations for home fitness in recent years has been the balance trainer. These types of trainers can add a dimension of balance to numerous styles of exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups and step-ups. In fact any exercise that you can do on a floor or with a small step-up type bench can be performed on a balance trainer but with the added dimension of balance which increases the amount of different muscles being used significantly, as much as four times as many muscles are being worked as would be when doing the same exercise on the floor or step-up bench. So we can see why they are becoming so popular.
Today I am going to be reviewing two of these balance trainers. The Bosu ball and The Terra-Core and then I’ll compare the different features and let you know which I like best and why. These products are quite different so this is going to be an interesting comparison and you are going to see why each product offers a unique and exciting fitness experience. Many gymnasts also use these balance trainers for gymnastics conditioning while learning new gymnastics skills.
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The Terra-Core is a balance trainer that is similar in appearance to an aerobics step trainer, except that the top platform is not solid like a step-trainer but has an air-filled core which makes it essentially wobbly and requiring the engagement of additional muscles to maintain your balance whilst standing, leaning or sitting on the trainer. When you turn the Terra-Core over, you will find that built into the base are two push-up handles and side bars for doing push-ups and similar exercises, which are also slightly harder and engage more muscles than doing push-ups on the floor or other solid surfaces, as once again the air-filled core of the trainer is making the platform slightly unstable and requiring different muscles to help keep steady whilst you are doing your exercises.
The Terra-Core is very well built, it is 46”, nearly 4ft long and weighs 28lbs so with the hand-grips and sidebars on the base, the Terra-Core can also be used as a dumbbell, thus incorporating even more strength and toning exercises into its training uses. There is really no end to the number of ways you can use the Terra-Core in your training routine and this helps to make your training sessions interesting and also great fun. There is also an accompanying mobile app giving you access to new workouts every month.
You can use the Terra-core to train your legs, core, upper body, for High intensity interval training sessions and even as a tool to use during yoga practice. Because of the shape of the Terra-core, during workouts a lot more different muscle groups will be activated than if you were to workout on a flat surface. An unstable surface like this one means that your muscles can’t rest holding you in place and instead your core, legs, shoulders and other muscle groups have to work together by constantly adjusting to keep you balanced. To add to the muscles being toned and worked to keep you stable you can introduce exercises such as step ups, crunches, squats and get really creative thinking of an endless number of different exercises to perform on it.
All in all the Terra-Core is a very well built, highly versatile, efficient and fun piece of equipment for your home gym or wherever you want to train. Beginners can benefit from using it to improve balance and in doing so, toning other muscles and more advanced fitness enthusiasts can include it in HIIT cardio workouts and more intense muscle exercises.
Bosu Ball Balance trainer review
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The Bosu claims to be the original balance trainer and this may well be true, they have certainly been making them for 20 years. The Bosu Balance Trainer is a hemispherical shaped trainer that is essentially half an inflatable ball mounted on a flat base. There is an easy to use hand pump and adaptor provided for inflating the Bosu. After use the Bosu can be easily deflated and stored virtually flat. Once inflated the ball becomes an unstable platform that requires extra effort and the use of numerous major and minor muscle groups to remain balanced on whilst performing a variety of stretching, balancing and calisthenic exercises.
The surface itself is dynamic so you can work so many different muscle groups even if you only practice a couple of different exercises on the ball. You can buy the Bosu ball in a whole range of fun colours that include blue, green, black, purple and pink. All of the different colours choices come with a dvd and a hand pump. Pumping up the ball doesn’t take long and you’ll quickly find the right amount of air to make the platform inflated enough so that your feet don’t sink into it like a half inflated bouncy castle. Bosu is one of the most renowned balance trainer brands and even though the Bosu ball looks like a simple piece of kit and borderline toy, it can have a big impact on your workouts if used correctly. Take full advantage by spending the time learning how different movements and exercises work different muscle groups across your body. If you don’t want to do a serious workout but want to tone your muscles, lose some weight or improve your balance, it is always a lot of fun to stand on this ball, move around and enjoy yourself without any fitness goal in mind.
The Bosu is 25 inches in diameter and gives a good trampoline style response when jumped on with both feet, also the Bosu has ridges running around the surface of the ball to help you to grip. The Bosu is not very hard to balance on but you just have to constantly adjust yourself slightly to stop wobbling too much and this engages many more and different minor muscle groups than doing the same exercise on a solid surface would. So whether using your hands or your feet or even your knees, the Bosu’s added balance effect makes your exercises more powerful, more fun and more beneficial all around. The Bosu Balance Trainer comes with an exercise wall chart and also a 2 DVD pack of workouts which can be downloaded. It’s not necessary to follow the dvd, but you might find it gives you a few new exercises and innovative ways of using the Bosu ball that you can add into your workout routine.
Comparing the Bosu ball and Terra-core
Having reviewed both of these two trainers, The Bosu Balance Trainer and The Terra-Core Balance Trainer, I have to say that they are really quite different. Intially in appearance with the Terra-Core being quite a large- 46 inches long, 18 inches wide, heavy and solid looking rounded rectangular shape, which even with it’s top platform deflated, remains quite a hefty looking piece of equipment and as we now know, weighing in at 34 lbs. The Bosu on the other hand is circular in shape, smaller-26 inches diameter, more compact and much lighter, weighing only 17 lbs, half the weight in fact of the Terra-Core. The Bosu at 10 inches stands taller above the ground than the Terra-Core which is only 6.5 inches high.
The Terra-Core is really quite a sophisticated and highly compact piece of multi functional equipment and with its integral handles and rails and its 34 lbs weightiness the Terra-Core can even be used as a dumbbell. The Bosu on the other hand is a very simple and straight forward piece of equipment. The Bosu is a balance ball and it works very well for balancing exercises. The extra height and larger surface area of the Bosu make it better for balancing, more challenging and with the extra bounciness of the Bosu, definitely more fun.
Terra Core Vs Bosu Ball – Which is better?
The Terra-Core is a serious bit of kit, it looks the part-black with orange trim, feels the part-it is heavy, plays the part and does it very well. The different ways of using the Terra-Core are almost endless, it’s versatility and adaptability along with it’s build quality and sturdiness make it an essential piece of equipment for any serious or even half-serious home fitness fanatic. The Bosu is much more light-hearted in appearance and comes in a selection of vibrant colours. The Bosu is light, highly portable and convenient to store. It works well as a balancing ball and with the help of the two downloadable DVDs can be used with a variety of different exercises and is great exercise and fun for the whole family. Both the Terra Core and Bosu ball are excellent for working out a whole range of muscles, losing weight, stretching, performing HIIT workouts and a whole range of other fun fitness activities.
I feel like I’m trying to compare an enormous 4 feet long space-age boom box with a Space-Hopper stuck up to its waist in a hole in the ground. If I feel like having some fun balancing and bouncing around on a brightly coloured stuck-in-the-ground Space-Hopper, which is actually great fun and surprisingly good for exercising, then I’m going for the Bosu, if on the other hand I want to make some serious music, then the Terra-Core is my choice.