Video Demonstration

Looking to add some challenging core training with minimal equipment then add the Swiss Ball Jackknife to your training routine today. This exercise also gets referred to as Abdominal Knee Tucks.

You should be at an intermediate fitness level or higher before you attempt to add this lift to your training routine.

The Swiss Ball Jackknife is a Compound(multi-joint) Calisthenics/Pilates exercise.

This article will include a video, image and written step by step description on how to do this exercise.

Its difficulty level, the equipment you need to do it. The different muscle groups that get worked when you perform it.

The benefits you get when adding it to your training routine. Also, some different training cues to use when you are performing it.

How to do the Swiss Ball Jackknife

Image Example

woman showing how to perform the Swiss Ball Jackknife

Step by Step Description

Step 1: Move to the start position by placing your calves and the tops of your sneakers onto the top of a swiss ball. Put each of your hand's palms on the floor directly under your shoulders. Extend your arms, so they are locked out. Tighten your Core, Quads, Butt and pull your shoulders back and down. Your body should now form a straight line from your head to your heels.

You are now in the starting position.

Step 2: Exhale and pull your knees in toward your chest. Bring them as close to your chest as you can(make sure to keep your feet on the stability ball the entire time). Pause and hold this position for one to two seconds.

Step 3: Inhale and reverse the movement by extending your legs until they are back at the starting position.

You have now completed one repetition. Repeat as desired.

Difficulty Level

The Swiss Ball Jackknife gets rated at an Intermediate level.

If you are just starting off with your abdominal training, you should focus on some more of the fundamental abdominal exercises like planks.

Equipment Required

You will need a swiss/stability ball to perform this exercise.

If you currently do not have access to one check out the stability balls available over at Amazon or your local Walmart should also have some.

Swiss Ball Jackknife Muscles Worked

The Primary muscles worked are your upper abdominal muscles.

The Secondary muscle used for this exercise is your Lower Back, Hip Flexors, Gluteus, Chest and your calves.

Swiss Ball Jackknife Benefits

Building a strong core reduces your chance of receiving an injury in your daily activities. It can also reduce lower back discomfort and in some instances completely relieve the sufferer of all pain.

Heavy compound movements like deadlifts and squats require a significant amount of core strength. By increasing your core strength with abdominal exercises like this, it can help you to raise the amount weight you can lift on different compound movements.

Core stabilizing exercise like this has been shown to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance in the hip and abdominal regions.

Training Tips

Make sure you keep your lower back in a neutral position the entire time(even when you are pulling your knees towards your chest). If your back rounds when you pull your knees in towards your chest, you risk injuring your lower back. It is most common for people to let their hips sag. Watch out for this and keep them in line with the rest of your body the entire time.

Inhale when you are pulling your knees in toward your body. Exhale when you are pushing your legs back out.

Keep your core and leg muscles tight the entire time you are performing the lift.

In Closing

If you have been neglecting your core training, more than just your abs will suffer. Many of your Compound lifts like Squats will suffer from the reduced core strength.

Movements like these require your entire body's chain to be strong. Any weaknesses like your abs will limit the maximal weight you can lift. Weak abs also increase your chances of getting a lower back injury when you perform your compound lifts.

The Swiss Ball Jackknife is also a useful exercise you can perform when you are traveling, or on days you just can't make it to your local gym. Since Swiss balls can get deflated and their pumps are nice and compact, you should be able to fit them in your luggage bag.

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