Who would have thought a 2-foot diameter bouncy ball would turn out to be such a versatile and effective piece of gym equipment? Crunches are one of many exercises you can do with the help of an exercise ball. This exercise works your abdominal muscles, and it offers the benefit of being easier on your back compared with floor crunches. It’s an exercise that can put you on the right path to a flatter stomach.
Belly Fat Myth
If you’re struggling to flatten your stomach, exercise alone usually won’t get you over the hump. Targeting the abdominals with hundreds of exercise ball crunches won’t melt belly fat away; that whole idea is a myth. Exercise ball crunches can certainly help strengthen and tone your abs, but it’s cardio exercise that can really burn the calories necessary to start shedding the belly fat. Do any of your favorite aerobic exercises – brisk walking, cycling, skating or swimming – for at least 30 minutes a day five days a week, says the Mayo Clinic. More is better when it comes to burning calories.
A study conducted at San Diego State University tested 13 of the most popular ab exercises to see which ones work the ab muscles the best. The researchers measured effectiveness using an EMG machine to monitor muscle activity in the abdominal and oblique muscles. Exercise ball crunches came in third place behind the bicycle maneuver and captain’s chair. They came is sixth place regarding oblique muscle activity. Overall, the exercise ball crunch scored highly in this study, so it’s certainly a smart way to firm up your abs.
The key to reducing body fat is taking in fewer calories than you burn, called a calorie deficit. Start by eliminating empty calories from your diet, such as soda, candy, sugary treats, specialty coffees and fast foods. Oftentimes you’ll find that eliminating “bad” calories can reduce your daily intake by several hundred calories. Creating a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day is enough to help you lose 1 pound per week.
Putting It All Together
Getting sleek, sexy abs is a multistep process. Exercise ball crunches can help tone your abdominal region; aerobic exercise can help you burn the calories needed to help achieve a calorie deficit; eliminating unhealthy calories from your diet can get you closer to achieving a calorie deficit and ultimately burning the fat from your midsection. Spend up to five minutes daily, or 10 minutes every other day, doing an exercise ball crunch workout. Combine that with doing any of your favorite aerobic exercises and eating a diet based on whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. You should start seeing the results within a month or two.
Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since 2006 including the Developer Shed Network and Huddle.net. He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog, PromoteHealth.info, has become an authority in the healthy-living niche. He graduated with honors from Kellogg Community College in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science.