Why A Pilates Exercise Ball Is Better Than Other Ab Equipment
Being a Fitness YouTuber for over a year now, I am quite familiar with all the information out there related to ab workouts.
And I must say, there is a TON of bad info out there, which I will lay out in this article. Most of the ab exercises I see range from being ineffective to actually being harmful to your body!
Some of you reading this article perhaps found it through my ab wheel exercise article. In that article I said that I didn’t think that that exercise should be done by beginners. However, if done with good form, the ab wheel can indeed be quite effective for working out your abs.
HOWEVER, some ab exercises, even done with PERFECT form, will still be HORRIBLE for your body.
Take the seated ab crunch machine here for example. Many gyms have it, despite it being a horrible piece of equipment, which I’ll discuss more about in a video down further.
Now I’m sure some of you who have used this machine are saying right now, “OMG U DISS DA AB WHEEL N NOW DA CRUNCH MACHINE! WHUT IS WRONG WIT U MAN!?”
Well I’m here to tell you to be At Ease! I’ll explain why this machine is terrible for you and why a Pilates exercise ball is so much better.
I’ll also be explaining why crunches on a Pilates exercise ball is better than doing regular crunches on the ground. If you are interested in owning your own, you can buy yourself a Pilates exercise ball off Amazon.
Pilates Exercise Ball vs. Ab Crunch Machine
When comparing the ab crunch machine to the Pilates exercise ball, there is NO question that the exercise ball is far better for your back.
To explain why, let’s first delve into basic human anatomy.
As you can see in the picture below, your spine is composed of vertebral bones. Between each vertebral bone is an intervertebral disc that adds height and acts as a shock absorber.
You see those yellow things coming out the back of that vertebral column? Those are nerves coming out of the spinal cord itself. Where those nerves travel to allows that area to experience sensation and to move. Some of the nerves in your lower back travel all the way down to your legs.
Now, have you ever heard of a bulging disc or a disc herniation? Each disc has an inner gooey layer and a harder outer layer. Over time and through repeated stress, that inner layer can bulge or break through (herniate) the outer layer. If that disc bulges backwards or herniates, nerves can get compressed. This can lead to a burning, electrical sensation traveling all the way down your leg!
Now you’re probably wondering, ” Well what the HECK does this have to do with a Pilates exercise ball or the ab crunch machine!?”
Well, I’m glad you asked! Let me explain in my video here why the ab crunch machine is terrible and why you are better off with the Pilates exercise ball. Watch this video all the way through as you will learn a lot, believe me!
So as you can see from the video, I dislike the ab crunch machine because it can exacerbate disc bulges and even cause a disc herniation.
Not only is the Pilates exercise ball safer to use than the ab crunch machine, but it is more effective as well.
If you’re already convinced that you want to use a Pilates exercise ball in your ab workouts, you can purchase the ball from Amazon.
Let me now talk about why doing crunches on the Pilates exercise ball is better than doing crunches on the ground.
Pilates Exercise Ball vs. Floor Crunches
It’s true that doing floor crunches and crunches on a Pilates exercise ball both workout your abs. But doing ab crunches on a Pilates exercise ball actually gives you more bang for your buck!
You must be wondering now, “Why would THAT be!? A crunch is a crunch!”
You’re correct on that, you are doing an abdominal crunch whether you’re on the ground or on a ball.
HOWEVER, because the Pilates exercise ball is an unstable surface, your core must work HARDER during the exercise.
Think about it….When you do a regular crunch on the ground, the floor is completely stabilizing your body.
Because the floor is completely stabilizing you, your abs will not need to work as hard.
On a Pilates exercise ball, however, your core must activate more in order to keep you from falling off of the ball!
Not ONLY that, but when you do a regular crunch, the floor is blocking you from lowering your body back further.
When you do a crunch on a Pilates exercise ball, you can get slightly more range of motion in your Rectus Abdominis muscle.
Final Thoughts On The Pilates Exercise Ball
In summation, working out your abs on a Pilates exercise ball is more effective than doing floor crunches or seated crunches.
Seated crunches are a poor ab exercise because they can cause and/or exacerbate disc bulges in your spine.
Floor crunches are okay, but they are done on a stable surface.
Crunches on a Pilates Exercise ball are not only easy and safe (provided you stay on the ball!), but the unstable surface will cause your core to activate even more.
For these reasons, I recommend going over to Amazon to buy a Pilates exercise ball for yourself!