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Bicycle Crunches

What Are Bicycle Crunches?

How to do bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches are a variation of the ab crunch that involves using a cycling motion with the legs and rotating the upper body to challenge the core. This exercise strengthens the rectus abdominis and the internal and external obliques and can also improve coordination and stability.

The bicycle crunch is a beginner friendly movement that requires no equipment and minimal space. It works well as part of a core workout, in a circuit, or even as part of a full body strength session. Strengthening the core with bicycle crunches can help with posture and back pain and contribute to other lifting exercises like squats.  

Check out some of our other ab exercises: Sit ups, Crunches, V sit ups, Russian twistsButterfly sit ups

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Bicycle Crunches

What Are Bicycle Crunches Good For?

Bicycle crunches are good for strengthening the core, in particular the rectus abdominis and the internal and external obliques, while also challenging coordination and stability. A strong core contributes to good posture, reduced injuries, and more power and stability in compound lifts and sports performance.

Are Bicycle Crunches Bad For Your Back?

Bicycle crunches are not bad for your back as long as they are performed correctly. To protect your lower back, keep it pressed against the floor throughout and only allow your torso to rotate. If your back starts to arch it will shift the tension away from the core and onto the lower back, exposing it to injury risks.

Do Bicycle Crunches Burn Fat?

Bicycle crunches do not directly burn fat, and they do not burn many calories, so won’t help in creating a calorie deficit which is needed for fat loss. As a form of resistance training, bicycle crunches help to build muscle and strength, which is important in any fat loss journey.

Do Bicycle Crunches Give You Abs?

Bicycle crunches strengthen the abs and can help to define the abdominal muscles. However, most people find they need to reach below a certain level of body fat before their abs are visible. Strength training along with fat loss is usually required for a ‘six pack’ or visible abs.

Tips for Bicycle Crunches

Performing bicycle crunches in a slow, controlled manner is important to ensure the core controls the movement rather than shifting the tension to other muscles.

Aim to keep the lower back pressed against the floor and hips in a neutral position during the move, with only the torso rotating. This helps to reduce risk of injury to the lower back and neck. If you cannot get your elbow to your knee while maintaining this form, use a smaller range and aim to improve this over time.

How To Do Bicycle Crunches

  1. Lie on your back on the floor and lift your legs up so that they are extended straight and hovering above the ground. Position your hands on your head just behind your ears.

  2. Engage the core by squeezing your belly button towards your spine and then begin the reps by bending one leg so that your knee comes towards you while simultaneously lifting your shoulders and upper back off the floor, rotating your torso so that the corresponding elbow travels towards your knee.

  3. Return the leg and elbow and repeat on the other side.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.