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How to Do an Exercise Ball Crunch for Back Pain Relief

Learn how to do exercise ball crunches from physical therapist Eric Sampson in this Howcast video.


I want to spend a couple of minutes now talking about a great exercise that can be used for the back patient. It's a higher level exercise that requires a fair amount of stability and strength so it's not something I would introduce to a patient who's just joining us with a lot of pain, acute pain or spasm, but rather as they were getting better and they're moving on with their care. They've been working on some core strengthening. The patient that really enjoyed doing sit ups and crunches on the floor, this is a great option for them using an exercise ball or a swiss ball.

So why don't you kind of walk a few feet forward? That's about right.

Now have your hands behind your neck and come all the way down into an extension and back up into a crunch. This exercise is called a crunch but the best part about doing a crunch on the ball is that we can come back down. She's actually putting her spine into a little bit of extension and then coming back up into a flex position. So it gets a nice balance of extension and flexion.

If she was on the floor doing it she would not be able to fall into a little bit of extension pose because the floor would be in the way. So it really enables patients who enjoy crunches who are still suffering a little bit with their condition to get back into doing an exercise they enjoy and it will not cause any harm to their spine and to their problem. Repetitions is the key, maybe 10 to 15 repetitions per set, and reassess after that. This is the sit up or the crunch on an exercise.

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