A pike crunch on a stability ball is also known as a jackknife and is an excellent exercise for strengthening your hips, arms and legs, as well as working your core abdominal muscles. This exercise requires a fair amount of balance and control, particularly when done with a bench, so be careful the first time you try it. However this difficulty adds to the effort your abdominal muscles will have to make to keep your balance, and will help you to tone up more quickly.
How to Perform a Stability Ball Pike Crunch
Be sure you have the right size stability ball. This is important for this exercise, as the wrong size can make it difficult to control the ball. When you’re sitting on your ball, your thighs should be in a straight line from your hips, parallel to the floor. If they are pointing up or down, you should find a different size ball.
- Get down on all fours with the ball behind you. Put your hands flat on the floor, at around shoulder width with your arms straight, but don’t lock your elbows. Carefully lift your legs onto the ball. It should be situated under your shins, not touching your knees.
- Keep your back extended in a straight line, with your stomach tight and your shoulders relaxed. Keep your head down so you are looking toward the floor. This is the starting position.
- Contract your abdominal muscles, and bend your knees, pulling the ball towards your chest. You should end up with the ball directly under your feet or ankles. Keep your back straight and your abdominals tensed. Don’t round your shoulders or your lower back.
- Return to the starting position and repeat as many times as you like.
How to Make a Stability Ball Pike Crunch More Difficult
One of the best ways to make this exercise more difficult is to increase the number of sets and repetitions you do. However, if you want to make each repetition more challenging or varied there are several variations you can try. One of the most common is using a bench to rest your arms, which some people find more difficult and others find easier. Simply place your forearms on the bench before putting your legs on the ball. Make sure the bench is sturdy, as you could seriously injure yourself if it moves during the exercise.
Another variation which is slightly more difficult is to rest your forearms on the floor while doing the pike crunches, rather than keeping your arms straight. This leaves your body at a higher angle for the exercise. Alternatively, you can hold the starting position longer during each repetition. Simply keeping your balance and position will work your arms and stomach muscles.
Stability ball pike crunches are a quick way of giving your abdominal muscles a decent workout. There are several different variations, so you can increase the difficulty over time. Performing this exercise with care will protect your back, and help your abs look taut and toned in no time.