Leg drop crunches (also known as a leg drop and reach) with a stability ball are a fun exercise that targets the abdominals, but also provides a decent workout for the glutes and thighs. This exercise can be performed with a smaller than usual stability ball, if necessary. While it may not seem like it takes the balance typical of stability ball exercises, the effort required in keeping the ball correctly stabilized adds to the challenge of this manoeuvre.
How to Perform a Leg Drop Crunch with a Stability Ball
Preferably you should use a stability ball that is the correct size for your height. You can determine if you have the right size by sitting on the stability ball and setting your feet flat on the ground. If your knees are at right angles then you have the right size. If your knees are below your thighs your ball may be too large.
- Lie flat on the ground, preferably on a yoga mat, or a folded beach towel. Extend your legs completely. Place the stability ball between your ankles and grip it around the middle. This may be difficult at first, so adjust your feet until you have a firm grip. Extend your arms straight along the ground above your head.
- Lift your legs while gripping the ball until your heels point towards the ceiling and the stability ball is over your hips. Keep your legs straight and move slowly and fluidly while keeping your back flat and relaxed on the floor and your stomach muscles tight.
- Use your stomach muscles to lift your upper body, then move your arms forward until you can grab the stability ball. Keep your arms straight while doing this. Then, slowly lower your arms and legs to their starting positions.
- Repeat the movements, but this time transfer the ball from your hands back to your ankles. Continue repeating until you have completed your desired number of repetitions.
- Remember to breath deeply while performing this exercise. Do not jerk or try to build momentum as this will reduce the effectiveness of the movements and may cause you an injury.
How to Increase the Difficulty of a Leg Drop Crunch
Increase the number of repetitions you do to increase the effectiveness of this exercise. You may also want to experiment with different sized stability balls as smaller balls will be more difficult to hold. If you are lowering the ball completely when returning to your starting position, try holding it above the ground for a few seconds.
To increase the difficulty even further, you can try using a heavier medicine ball instead of a stability ball, although this may use different leg muscles, as it is much smaller. You will also have to be very certain you won't drop the ball on yourself while performing the exercise.
Leg drop crunches require a combination of balance and control that can be difficult at first, but are well worth the effort. After a few sessions performing this exercise, you should be able to see and feel the difference in your abdominals.