Swiss ball magnifies the difference between a sit up exercise and a crunch exercise. A sit up exercise emphasizes your hip flexors by bringing the trunk towards your thighs. A crunch reduces the space between your sternum and your pelvis.
A crunch is a very tight and small motion in comparison to large movements it happens in a sit up. Keep the difference in mind as we go through the steps in doing a stability ball crunch.
A crunch on a flat floor does not allow any extension of the spine which you can see in a low back arch. An arch in the lower back translates to increasing the space between your sternum and your pelvis. This increased space means lengthening of your ab muscles which is a prerequisite for the contraction that follows in the crunch.
Swiss ball provides a full range of motion for your crunch exercise because it allows you to wrap your lower back around it. Floor crunches provide a limited range of motion that makes them less effective.
Additional advantage of the Swiss ball is the constant instability which forces you to engage your core stabilizers or around your waist not just in front.
How to Do A Swiss Ball Crunch?
- Sit on the ball and walk forward until your mid back is on the ball.
- Keep your feet wide enough apart, so you don’t fall over. As you progress you can narrow your base of support by bringing your feet together which engages your core stabilizers even more.
- Place your hands slightly behind your head and keep your elbows wide.
- Exhale and crunch by lifting your chest up and keeping your head and your trunk and one line. Crunch motion does not happen at the neck; it happens at your abs level.
- Inhale and lower your body by wrapping it around the ball without losing to point of tension. If you go too far so that the ball begins to carry your weight you are essentially resting in the middle of your set. Effectiveness of your crunch requires continuous tension through out your set.
- When finished walk back to a seated position on the ball before you and exercise.