Exercise Ball Crunch

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exercise ball crunche demonstration

Main Target: upper abs
Equipment needed: exercise ball / stability ball / swiss ball

Exercise Ball Crunch (also known as swiss ball crunch or stability ball crunch) is one of the best abs exercises according to a study. This exercise is greatly suitable for those who experience lower back pain performing other variations of crunches because of a support of the exercise ball.

How To Do Exercise Ball Crunch Properly:

This exercise is more effective if done properly with a correct technique.

Step 1: Get In a Starting Position

Before you begin this exercise sit down on the exercise ball. Walk your feet out. Your lower back should be about at the edge of the ball but still fully supported on the ball. Your back should be arched and your abdominal muscles completely stretched out. Your legs should be bent at 90 degree angle. Your feet flat on the ground. Put hands beside your head. Now you are ready to go.

Step 2: Begin The Ab Exercise

To begin the exercise ball crunch contract your abdominal muscles and curl your upper body up. Raise your torso no more than 45 degrees. Simultaneously curl your hips up towards your shoulders. This will engage the lower abs also. Then return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

There should be no or little movement of the exercise ball during the exercise.

Breath Correctly

Fully exhale on your way up. Inhale on the way down.


  • Depending on the exercise ball position you can make this exercise easier or tougher than the regular crunch. This study suggests to place exercise ball below the scapulas for those with abdominal muscle weakness. This will allow to perform the crunch motion with less effort than when performed on a stable bench or floor. To increase the training load and, therefore, increase the abdominal muscle activity, place the ball at the level of the lower lumbar region.
  • Put your finger tips behind your ears and look in the ceiling at one spot above you or look back throughout the entire exercise to avoid pulling your head with your hands.
  • For a better balance put your feet wider apart.
  • To make the exercise less stable and thus more effective, bring your feet closer together.
  • To make this exercise a level lighter, put your hands crossed on your chest.
  • Extend your arms behind your head to make this exercise more difficult.
  • Choose appropriately sized exercise ball for your height. Your legs should be at about 90 degree angle when you sit at the top of the ball with your legs at a side of the ball.

Common Mistakes

  • Chin too close to the chest.
  • Head pulled with hands.
  • Not fully stretching out abdominal muscles on the way down.
  • Performed as a sit-up not crunch movement.

Exercise Ball Crunches Video Demonstration

About Matiss Bartulis

Sweets and pizza addict. Online and real-life fitness coach. Author of the "From Fat To Six Pack" E-mail training course. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.