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How to Do a Swiss Ball Crunch—and 5 Other Moves You Can Do With This Piece of Equipment

Not sure what to do with that stability ball? We’ve got six core-strengthening suggestions.

The Swiss ball—also known as an exercise, stability, or physio ball—is one of the best tools for building core strength, thanks to its inherent wobbliness. Whether you hold it, lean against it, or balance on it, the Swiss ball creates an unstable environment for movement, Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., CEO and owner of TS Fitness in New York City, tells Runner’s World.

“This forces your core and other stabilizer muscles to become engaged. Your core keeps your spine stable and helps to absorb the force put on the body from running,” he says. That translates to faster miles and fewer injuries.

So, roll that Swiss ball out from the corner of the weight room (or re-inflate the one you tucked in the back of your closet) and get to work with this challenging, six-move Swiss ball workout designed by Tamir for runners.

The circuit kicks off with a twist on a classic deadbug and progresses to more challenging moves.

“The Swiss ball crunch and the hand-to-foot pass target the rectus abdominis—the anterior part of the core that is an important component of making sure the torso stays upright. And the knee tuck, pike-to-plank, and stir-the-pot are exercises that strengthen the core by resisting extension dynamically,” he says. “This is important to keeping optimal running form.”

How to do it: Perform each exercise below for the number of reps listed, resting for 20 seconds between exercises. Repeat the full circuit a total of 3 times.

Each move is demonstrated by Tamir in the video above so you can master the proper form. You will need a Swiss ball and an exercise mat.

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Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flexed, arms extended toward ceiling, and actively squeeze a Swiss ball between your knees and palms. The ball should hover above your torso. Engage your core and extend your left arm and right leg away from you while keeping the ball in place with your right hand and left knee. Return to starting position. Then extend right arm and left leg. Continue to alternate, keeping the ball as immobile as possible. Perform 8 reps on each side.


Start by sitting on a Swiss ball with your feet flat on the floor. Lean back while walking your feet out until your shoulders, upper back, and lower back touch the ball. Place fingertips behind ears. Engage core and keep chin up as you lift shoulders and upper back off ball in a crunch. Perform 15 reps.

Knee Tuck

Start in a high plank position with shoulders over wrists, but instead of placing your feet on the floor, rest the tops of your feet on a Swiss ball. Keeping hips level, engage core to draw knees in toward your chest as you roll the ball forward, then return to plank. Perform 15 reps.


Kneel in front of a Swiss ball with forearms resting on ball, hands in fists. Extend legs back, coming into a forearm plank on the ball, so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels; gaze about a foot in front of you. With hips tucked, core engaged, and glutes squeezed, circle forearms counterclockwise to move the ball, keeping the rest of your body still. Do 10 reps and then circle the ball clockwise for 10 reps.

Pike to Plank

Start in a high plank position with shoulders over wrists, but instead of placing your feet on the floor, rest the tops of your feet on a Swiss ball. Engage your core to lift hips straight up as you roll the ball forward to your toes. Return to starting position. Perform 12 reps.

Hand-to-Foot Pass

Lie faceup on a mat, holding a Swiss ball overhead, legs straight out in front of you. Keep elbows straight and engage core to lift head, neck, shoulders, and upper back off the mat. As you bring the ball over your chest, draw your legs toward your hands. Pass the ball from hands to feet at the top of the move. Slowly lower upper body and legs, with ball clasped between feet, to mat. Pass the ball from feet to hands on the next rep. Perform 12 reps.

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