The bicycle crunch is a very effective abs exercise that not only targets your core but also works on your oblique and deep abs. When done correctly, this exercise targets not just one but three of your abdominal muscles, including your rectus abdominis, obliques and transverse abdominis.
Besides targeting the abs, bicycle crunches also tone your thighs, hamstrings and quads, as all these muscles are involved during this exercise. It is a beginner-level, and no-equipment exercise that you can do anywhere as a part of your core strengthening or full-body workout.
How to do a bicycle crunch? The correct form and technique
One of the best ways to make the most out of a bicycle crunch is to slow down your speed while doing it. The slower you perform it, the more effective it will be for your body. Moreover, make sure to engage your core through every rep with no momentum.
- Start by lying down on a flat surface with your knees bent and your lower back pressed to the floor. Your hands should be behind your head.
- Engage your core muscles and abdomen, and stabilise your spine.
- Hold your head gently with your hands; pull your shoulders back; raise your knees at a 90-degree angle, and lift your feet from the floor.
- Slowly start the bicycle pedal motion by bringing one knee towards your armpit while straightening the other and keeping both of them higher than your hips.
- As your knee comes up, slightly rotate your torso and touch the other knee with your elbow.
- Perform the same on the other side
- Do at least 15 to 20 reps and three sets.
Check out this video for reference:
What muscles does this exercise work?
Bicycle crunches target your rectus abdominis, hips, and external obliques. However, the pedaling motion works into your transverse abdominis, which is a harder and deeper muscle to reach.
Benefits of a bicycle crunch
There are several benefits of doing a bicycle crunch. Some of the best ones are:
#1 This exercise shows visible results faster
Bicycle crunches work in your abdominal region and make them strong and defined. When you train your abdominal muscles, you build more size and strength. As a result, these muscles reveal themselves more easily, and you get to see results faster.
#2 It gives you a strong core
Bicycle crunches help to build a strong core, which in return benefits your overall health. A strengthened core enhances endurance, improves posture and reduces the chances of back pain and injury.
#3 It enhances coordination
Exercises that allow you to move opposite legs and arms, like bicycle crunches, can help enhance and improve your body’s overall coordination.
#4 It gives you a flat tummy
If you want to get a flat stomach, this exercise is just for you. No, it won’t provide spot reduction, but it will help in toning your abdomen. The bicycle pedaling movement of this exercise will help you tone your body, especially your stomach region, and will give you a flatter abdomen.
#5 It aids weight loss
Another surprising benefit of bicycle crunch exercise is that it helps weight loss. This exercise may seem quite easy, but it is actually intense and allows you to burn more calories. The intensity of this workout helps you to lose those extra kilos by burning calories, and that continues even after you’ve completed the workout.
Safety and precautions to keep in mind
Bicycle crunches are indeed an effective abs exercise, but if not done in the correct form, they can potentially stress your neck and compress your spine. If you have any neck or back injuries, make sure you talk to your doctor about whether bicycle crunches would be appropriate for you.
Also, avoid doing this exercise if you have a damaged disk, you experience pain when you bend forward, or you are in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy.
So, if you are looking for an excellent exercise that will specifically work on your core and abs muscles, look no further than this air bicycle exercise. Remember to practice the bicycle crunch in the correct form, and don’t overdo it as it can lead to lower back pain or injury.