A few days ago, I posted an exercise I frequently do called the Reverse Crunch. That exercise is great for core strength and toning, but when I am at a gym, and there is proper equipment around, I like to mix things up a bit. This following exercise is the same as a Reverse Crunch, but you use a stability ball to add some difficulty. The stability ball adds a small amount of resistance, and it also forces you to use better form. You must tightly squeeze your abdominals in order to lift the ball from the ground and it also does not allow your legs to sway too far from a proper position.
To perform a Reverse Crunch with a Stability Ball:
- 1. Find a stability ball that allows you to rest your legs on top while creating a 90 degree angle at your hips and your knees (your calves and feet will be resting on the ball, parallel to the floor).
- 2. Lie flat on your back with your hands at your sides.
- 3. Place the Stability ball under your calves, resting against the back of your hamstrings. Your knees should only be a few inches apart.
- 4. Squeeze your abs and legs in order to lift the stability ball slightly off the floor (You are now in Position 1 as shown in the first picture to the right).
- 5. While squeezing the stability ball, raise your knees to your chest.
- 6. While in motion of bringing your knees to your chest, roll your pelvis back and raise your hips up off the floor, creating a curve in your spine (You are now in Position 2 as shown in the second picture to the right).
- 5. Hold Position 2 for a second and squeeze your abdominals.
- 6. Slowly lower your legs and pelvis back down to Position 1.
- 7. Repeat the exercise for the recommended amount of reps (I usually do 3-5 sets of 15 reps).
- 1. Just like any serious ab exercise, control is important! These motions do not depend on momentum, but rather slow controlled motions that engage your muscles.
- 2. If this exercise is too difficult, I recommend starting with Reverse Crunches without the Stability Ball. I give step by step directions on how to perform this exercise here: Click Here
- 3. Notice that when lowering my legs back down to Position 1, I try not to let the ball touch the floor; this will keep your core activated the entire exercise. If you need to take a break mid-exercise, lower the ball to the floor completely, and when ready, lift the ball off the floor again.
- 4. Another possible variation of this exercise, that I find a bit easier to do, would be to have your knees further apart on the ball. The wider your knees are from each other, the easier this exercise appears to be.
- 5. Make sure to exhale while bringing your legs up into your chest (from Position 1 to Position 2), and inhale when returning your legs back down to Position 1.
- 6. Squeeze your abdominals when you hit the peak of Position 2. You should feel a burn in your entire core.
- 7. If you are performing this exercise on a mat, DO NOT hold the edge of the mat. Leave your hands flat on the ground, and depend solely on your abdominals to perform this exercise.
- 8. You will notice that it is common for the ball to slip from your legs during this exercise. Try your hardest to keep it in place. If it does move, simply use your hands to get it back into a proper position and continue the exercise.
- 9. Stability balls come in all different sizes. Try to find one that allows you to make a 90 degree angle at your hips and knees, letting your calves and feet lie parallel to the ground while resting on top of the ball.
Let me know what you think of this new variation of the Reverse Crunch. I hope you like it! If you have any questions or concerns, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org