A crunch is a great exercise to include in any workout. Often when lifting weights, people focus on strengthening their arms, legs or chest, and often forget that it is also very important to strengthen and tone the muscles of their core. This basic exercise is a great tool to help you increase strength in your core.
About the Ab Crunch with a Stability Ball
Before you perform any new type of strength training exercise, it is important to understand what muscle groups are targeted by the exercise, and why it is important. The ab crunch with a stability ball helps to increase the strength in the abdominal and oblique muscles, as well as those of the lower back. While a traditional crunch also targets these muscles, performing the exercise with a stability ball adds an extra component to the exercise, making it more challenging.
Positioning Your Body
Before trying the ab crunch with a stability ball, it is important that you position your body properly. Start by finding a stability ball that hits you at a height approximately similar to that of your hips. Place the ball in the center of a room, making sure that there are no dumbbells or other pieces of exercise equipment that could possible interfere with your workout. Sit on top of the stability ball, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Make sure that your spine is as straight as possible.
Performing the Ab Crunch with a Stability Ball
Now that you are positioned properly, you can perform the exercise. Start by taking a few deep breaths. As you exhale you breath, slowly lean backwards, dropping your back towards the ground. Now inhale your breath, and use the muscles in your core to lift your upper body back up to the original position. During the entirety of the exercise, try to keep your spine as straight as possible. Perform at least ten repetitions of the exercise before taking a short break. Do at least two sets of ten repetitions of the ab crunch with a stability ball in order to achieve optimal results.
Increasing the Intensity
Before attempting to increase the intensity of this exercise, make sure that you can perform at least three sets of fifteen repetitions comfortably. Increasing the difficulty of the exercise too quickly can result in major injury. Once it is time to increase the intensity, you can do so by extending your arms over your head. Be sure to keep your arms in line with your spine during the entire course of the exercise. Doing this will increase the length of the lever being moved, thereby greatly increasing the difficulty of the exercise. You'll be amazed at how this small change can drastically change the difficulty level of the crunch!