Crunches on Swiss ball vs. on floor

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    Crunches on Swiss ball vs. on floor

    Is it true that crunches on the ball are more of a challenge than crunches on the floor? I had heard so, but there's so much misinformation out there I wanted to ask and make sure.


    I thought they were supposed to be better for the back, not more challenging.


      I've heard that a couple times now. A swiss ball is very elastic and allows a lot of movement which comes with some pros and cons:

      Being that elastic means you have to do more stabilization work in order not to fall off the ball. So regarding this point your core needs to work a little harder.

      Depending on the size of the ball and where you place it underneath your back you may also be able to lean so far back that you "overstretch", leaning your upper body downwards. This makes it a harder position to get out of, so in this case your abs will also work a little harder.

      However, if you look at the actual movement there are a couple things that happen: instead of anchoring your hip and lower body on the floor and using only your abs to lift your upper body you're using the legs to push your hips into the ball while your abs lift your upper body. Your abs are now only partially responsible for bringing your upper body into a vertical position (using your leg drive to lower your hips being the other part). So, when it comes to the actual lifting motion doing crunches on a swiss ball is easier than doing it on a flat floor.

      I hope this helps a bit


        TheRaven So, my "core needs to work a little harder" and my "abs are not only partially responsible for" the crunch, so "doing crunches on a swiss ball is easier".

        Hmm I'm not really sure now which will make my body work harder. I guess like so many things it's complicated! Thank you for taking the time to answer!


          Lifting your upper body is the main thing that will load your abs, which is now being significantly reduced by moving your hips down as well. The additional stabilization you have to do will not counterbalance it and make it harder. Overall it's still easier on a swiss ball. Does that make it clearer?


            The Swiss ball can help with a variety of things the floor doesn't do. For example, a Swiss ball provides the opportunity to engage your stabilizer muscles, not just your abs or obliques. The floor holds you in a solid position, as does a bench, inclined, declined, or level. You can do great corework off the floor but it'll be for the major muscle groups, not necessarily the core musculature which is deeper in your body.

            To answer your question: Does a Swiss or stability ball make crunches more challenging? I'd answer with "Does a strange dog bite?"

            Maybe. it depends on the technique, what specific exercise or movement you're performing, and what your goals are. Crunches off the ground can be incredibly efficient if you incorporate weights or secondary movements. A Russian Twist on the ground, for example, is an excellent exercise for the obliques. But doing hyper-extended side sit-ups off a ball with weights can also be as effective.

            It simply depends. I do both with and without stability balls, depending on my objectives and my mood.


              A while back I did a semi-theraputic exercise course and the instructor used Swiss balls (they're generally called gym balls or yoga balls in the UK) for a lot of exercises.

              Because some people in the class were recovering from injuries the support was good for them, but it's also a good thing for your core (I know I'm repeating Warmaker here) in a lot of exercises. We did all sorts of upper-body exercises: punches, weighted punches, shoulder presses, bicep curls and the like, sitting on a ball, and it's a good way to engage your core while you move weights, which is good for your form and your core, so if you have a ball it's worth trying out at some point.


                TheRaven Yes, thank you!

                colinclean Warmaker , Ok, I see. Swiss ball moves the exercise from the major muscle groups to the deeper tissue. When Spartan Trials offers Swiss ball as an option, I will take it.

                ​​​​​​​THANK YOU ALL!!!