A stability ball reverse crunch is a safer alternative to traditional crunches as your back can be kept straight throughout the exercise, reducing possible strain. Reverse crunches will work your hips, legs and stomach, as well as your glutes.
How to Perform a Stability Ball Reverse Crunch
The size of your stability ball doesn’t matter as much with this exercise, and in fact you may want to experiment with different sizes to find the one that is easiest to use. Smaller sizes will probably be easier to grip, making it less likely you’ll lose control of the ball.
- Lie on your back with the ball by your legs. Bend your knees and rest your calves on the ball. It should be pressed up snugly against the backs of your thighs. Let your hands rest flat against the ground by your sides. Your feet and legs should be quite close together.
- Keeping your back and head flat against the floor (you should be looking at the ceiling for the whole exercise), grip the ball by squeezing your calves toward your thighs and lift the ball in an arc toward your body. You should be using your abdominal muscles to pull your legs and the ball toward you.
- Lower the ball back to the starting position. Repeat as often as you need. Try to keep your movements fluid and slow, and don’t use momentum to raise or lower the ball, or you will decrease the effect it has on your abs.
How to Increase the Difficulty of Reverse Crunches
After you have built up the number of repetitions and sets you can do with this exercise you might be looking for an additional challenge. First, try setting your hands behind your head. This will increase the work your abs do to keep yourself balanced. Be careful not to use your hands to try and raise your head.
You should also try to increase the distance that you lift the ball. Eventually, you should be able to lift your hips off the ground and bring your knees almost to your chest. Remember to keep your motions slow and deliberate and try not to build up speed to make the exercise easier.
If you need even more of a challenge, try doing normal crunches with the reverse crunch. While you are bringing up your lower body, pull your upper body in to meet it, lifting your shoulders off the ground. Only use your abdominal muscles for this and try not to tense your neck or shoulders.
Finally, you can use a medicine ball in place of a stability ball to increase the amount of weight you are lifting. This will also work your inner thighs, however you should make sure you won’t drop the ball.
Reverse crunches are very effective and you should start to see results from them quickly. If you have a sore back, or are worried about straining it, they make a safer alternative to traditional crunches.