Primary Muscle Group: Abdominals, Obliques
Secondary Muscle Group: Hip Flexors
Equipment Needed: None
The Benefits of Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle Crunches an effective ab exercise, targeting not only your six pack abs but also the deep abs (transverse abdominis) and the obliques. If you want to work your core, this Bicycle Crunch exercise is a great choice. It's a no-equipment, beginner's/intermediate level exercise you can do anywhere. Many people use it as part of your ab strengthening workout or add it to a full body workout.
The bicycle crunch is excellent for activating the rectus abdominis, your upper abdominal muscle, and it is second only to the Russian twists for activating the obliques—your side abdominal muscles. Because you are raising your legs, you also engage the transverse abdominis, which is the deep ab muscle that is hard to target. Besides working your abs, you will also be toning your thighs as both your hamstrings and quads will be involved with bicycling.
Having a strong core will help you maintain a good posture and performing well at your daily tasks. It is also a key component of good performance in sports and physical activities. Doing a variety of ab and core exercises ensures you are engaging your muscles in different ways.
If you are looking for new and exciting workouts you can download a Free Workout Plan or purchase one of our Workout Plans that comes with access to your own fitness advisor for the duration.
The Risks of doing Bicycle Crunches
If you have any back or neck problems, you need to talk to your doctor or physical therapist about whether Bicycle Crunches are safe for you to perform. If not done with proper form, they can compress the spine and stress the neck. Avoid Bicycle Crunches after the first trimester of pregnancy, as soon as the belly expands. If you have any back problems, be aware of how your lower back is feeling and stop the exercise if you find yourself straining it.
How To Do Bicycle Crunches
1. To do Bicycle Crunches, start by lying flat on the floor with your back against the floor and bend your knees. Your feet should be on the floor and your hands are behind your head.
2. Engage your core muscles, which will draw in your abdomen & stabilize your spine.
3. With your hands placed on your head, move your shoulder blades back and slowly raise your knees to about a 90-degree angle, lifting your feet off the floor.
4. Exhale and slowly, at first, go through a bicycle pedal motion, bringing one knee up towards your armpit while straightening the other leg, keeping both elevated higher than your hips.
5. Rotate your torso so you can touch your elbow to the opposite knee as it comes up towards you.
6. Alternate to twist to the other side while drawing that knee towards your armpit and the other leg extended until your elbow touches the alternate knee.
For Perfect Technique
During this exercise your torso should be doing all of the rotation and not your hips. For this to happen you should be driving your legs straight forward and backward. Keep your lower back pressed into the floor during the movement. Your hands should only be placed on your head so to avoid pulling your head forwad in the motion of the crunch as this could seriously increase the risk of injury.
Once you have mastered Bicycle Crunches you should try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Lying Leg Raises
1. How to: Lie on a mat on the floor, face up, legs extended.
2. Place your hands underneath your lower back and glutes so your pelvis is supported.
3. Begin to raise your legs toward the ceiling, pressing your thighs together and keeping the legs straight.
4. Lift until your hips are fully flexed and you can’t go any higher with straight legs, then lower back down and repeat.
How To Do Crunches
1. Lie down on your back. Plant your feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Bend your knees and place your arms across your chest. Contract your abs and inhale.
2. Exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
3. Inhale and return to the starting position.