Muscles Targeted: This exercise is designed for intermediates who have experience with doing different abdominal exercises. It targets the middle and upper abdominal muscles and also works the lower back and overall core. The secondary muscles involved include the shoulders and triceps which are activated when holding the medicine ball in the air during the exercise.
Exercise Instructions: Using a large exercise ball, position your back on the ball with your feet placed firmly on the floor. Your lower back should be centered on top of the ball. Hold a medicine ball securely over your head and crunch your upper body forward while keeping the medicine ball overhead. Be sure to contract your abs at the top of the movement for a one-count. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: This is a powerful abdominal exercise that can help you tighten up your midsection. If you want to create lean and defined abdominals, you have to target all of the muscle groups of your stomach. The upper abdominal muscle is part of the rectus abdominis. There are several different exercises that can isolate the lower, middle and upper abdominals which depends on how the movement is performed. The upper abs are engaged in many abdominal exercises and this area tends to be the leanest when compared to the middle and lower part of the abs, which are much easier to accumulate body fat on. Along with doing medicine ball crunches on an exercise ball, its important to include several other ab exercises which will cover the entire region of the stomach and core.
Things To Avoid: Posture is very important when performing this exercise. You need to understand how to properly execute medicine ball crunches on an exercise ball first and foremost, so read the exercise guide carefully. The medicine ball provides additional resistance so do not position it lower than your upper chest. Doing so will dramatically reduce the resistance and decrease the effects of the exercise. Balance yourself on top of the exercise ball and keep the movement tight and controlled. Use a mirror to watch your form and technique while always focusing on the movement. Do not use momentum to propel yourself forward too fast since the ball might roll out from under you and injure you in the process. If it’s too difficult to perform, position yourself lower on the ball. If you want to challenge yourself, push yourself higher on the ball. You should feel a tightness in your abs as you raise your upper body and perform the crunch portion of the exercise. If not, then you are doing the exercise incorrectly. Go slower and make sure to contract your abs while securing the medicine ball in your hands. Stop for a moment on top of your movement, and then slowly lower your upper body back down without throwing your hands too far overhead. Always make sure to balance yourself on the exercise ball.
Reps and Sets: As this is a difficult exercise, start out very slow by doing 8-12 repetitions per set. Add reps as you master the exercise. Once you do, you can do failure sets as long as you do each rep correctly. Focus on a total of 3-4 sets of 20-30 reps and train your abs 2-3 times per week for the best results. Always allow a full day between abdominal workouts in order to fully recover.
Other Exercises To Use: Medicine ball crunches on an exercise ball is a great abdominal exercise that should be used in conjunction with other exercises for the other areas of your midsection and core. For the lower abs, try Medicine Ball Leg Raises and Inverted Exercise Ball Leg Pull Ins. For the middle portion of the abs, perform Exercise Ball Abdominal Crunches and regular Abdominal Crunches. For the obliques you can do Oblique Crunches or Dumbbell Oblique Side Bends. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of all the exercises that target the abs.