Core Exercise: Swiss-Ball Jackknife
Here’s an exercise to try on the Swiss ball (Swiss-Ball Jackknife), once you’ve got the hang of balancing. It looks like a distorted push-up but is really an upside-down reverse crunch (where you bring knees to chest instead of chest to knees) – and because you are upside down its going to take even more effort to control your abs as you’ll be fighting gravity too.
The Swiss-ball jackknife is a core stabilizing exercise that improves balance, strength, and flexibility throughout the hip and abdominal region. This valuable but relatively advanced exercise demands great balance and control. It works the core muscles that flex your hips and also stresses your abdominal muscles.
How to Perform Swiss-Ball Jackknife?
STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Get into pushup position—your hands set slightly wider than and in line with your shoulders—but instead of placing your feet on the floor, rest your shins on a Swiss ball. Your arms are completely straight and your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles.
MOVEMENT (ACTION): Without changing your lower back posture, roll the Swiss ball toward your chest by pulling it forward with your feet. Tighten your abs to keep your hips from sagging toward the floor. Pause at the top, then slowly return the ball to starting position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backward.
Swiss-Ball Jackknife Tips & Key Points
- Do not allow your hips to sag throughout the movement.
- Make sure that your knees do not drop down.
- Choose a ball that has a diameter about the same as the length of your arm.
- Avoid bending your elbows or letting your shoulders rise up towards your ears because this will place stress on your back.
- Control is the key here – you’ll know if you’re doing the exercise right as it will quickly become obvious that most of the effort is coming from your midsection.
Swiss-Ball Jackknife – Muscles Used
This is a stability exercise that trains your entire core, including your abdominal, lower-back, and hip muscles.
TRX Jacknife. This exercise has the same technique and can be completed on the TRX.
Here’s another way to work your abs (core) without using plain old situps and crunches. Because it’s so effective and easy to use even at home, the Swiss ball has rapidly become a important part of a total fitness regime. This exercise will help you utilize its full potential for building core strength and more, because they also work the muscles in the midsection, chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs. You should definitely include this exercise to your core (abdominal) workout.