If you want to spice up your abdominal workout, make stability ball crunches part of your routine. Exercising on a stability ball consistently challenges your core and stabilizer muscles to keep you balanced on the ball. In addition to improving your posture, flexibility, strength and balance, it’s also less hard on your back than abdominal exercises done on the floor. For optimal results, learn how to safely perform crunches on a stability ball.
Sit on a stability ball with your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor.
Walk your feet slowly forward, allowing the ball to roll over your buttocks and up toward your back. Stop walking forward when your tailbone and lower back rest on the ball.
Pull your navel in as if you’re trying to bring it closer to your spine. This will engage your core and help stabilize your body.
Double-check that your knees are directly above your feet, that your chin is off your chest, and that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Place your fingertips on the sides of your head behind your ears, pointing your elbows out the entire time. Avoid bringing your elbows together; flare them out the entire time so you feel a good stretch in your chest. This is your starting point.
Use your abdominals to slowly raise your upper body off the ball. Imagine crunching your rib cage closer toward your pelvis. Keep your head aligned with your spine the entire time. Avoid lowering your chin on your chest and pulling on your neck. Face forward during the range of motion, and exhale at the top of the crunch. Count to three during the ascent to ensure you’re not moving too fast.
Lower your upper back slowly to the ball using the strength of your abdominals. Count to three during the descent, and inhale when you’re back to the starting point.
Complete eight to 12 crunches one the stability ball, and gradually work your way up to finishing two or three sets.
For a greater stability challenge, move your feet closer together.
If you’re new to using a stability ball, perform the crunches in front of a wall. You can place your feet against the wall and prevent the ball from rolling under your body.
To make stability ball crunches easier, extend your arms forward or cross them in front of your chest, instead of placing your fingertips behind your ears.
American College of Sports Medicine