There are many benefits of bicycle crunches. They are one of the most popular ab-blasting exercises.
They’ve been around for a long time and are often recommended by fitness influencers and other professionals to tone the stomach, burn calories, and build strength.
But is this movement that great? More importantly, what are the benefits of bicycle crunches?
Read on because we are breaking it all down today.
4 Notable Benefits of Bicycle Crunches
1. Great Ab Crunch Variation
Bicycle crunches are challenging and fun. They are more engaging to perform than traditional sit-ups and crunches, making them a great addition to ab routines.
2. No Equipment Needed
The beauty of bicycle crunches and many other ab exercises is they don’t require any equipment. All you need is something comfortable to lie on (an exercise mat would do great, but even an old blanket can work), and you’re good to go.
3. Burns More Calories
Traditional crunches and sit-ups don’t burn many calories because the motion is simple and limited to the torso. Plus, it only works the rectus abdominis.
In contrast, bicycle crunches are more dynamic and involve the entire body, which means it takes more energy (calories) for your body to move. In addition to the rectus abdominis, you train your upper back, shoulders, and lower body.
4. Targets All Portions of the Abs
Another notable benefit of the bicycle crunch is that the movement trains all portions of the abs, including the upper and lower regions. Your upper abs work because your torso is engaged, and the involvement of your legs forces the lower abs to contribute.
Additionally, this crunch variation develops your obliques because of the twisting motion, leading to more balanced core development. (1)
With that said, bicycle crunches alone won’t get you a shredded core. If your goal is to get ripped abs, 90 percent of that will come from your efforts in the kitchen. You need to lower your body fat percentage to 12 percent or less to make your abs and obliques more defined. Ab exercises alone won’t get you there. (2)
How to do Bicycle Crunches (Step-by-Step)
- Lie on the floor, place your hands at the sides of your head, and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Bring your left knee toward your right armpit as you straighten your right leg in one motion. As your knee travels up, twist your torso several degrees, bringing your right elbow toward the knee.
- Immediately extend your left knee and bend the right one toward your left armpit, this time bringing the left elbow to the knee.
- Alternatingly touch your knees to the opposite elbows. The movement should be rhythmic. Breathe steadily as you do reps and keep your abs engaged to maintain a slightly rounded lower back that’s in contact with the floor.
Safety and Final Considerations
Bicycle crunches are relatively safe to do, even at a higher intensity. The primary thing to be careful of is your hands pulling on the back of your head. Avoid doing that because it can strain your neck and lead to aches.
So even though your hands are placed at the back of your head, make sure you do not pull your head and neck. Your hands are only there for placement, not to help generate the motion. The motion and energy are generated with your abs and your legs!
Apart from that, follow the best practices as you would for other exercises:
- Warm up well with some light cardio and dynamic stretching
- Start slow to get a good feel for the movement and how to do it
- Monitor for any aches that may develop during the activity
- Focus on small and steady performance improvements.
Here are some additional ab exercises and workouts:
- Is Planking Good for Abs?
- 5 Steps to Ripped Abs
- Crunch Exercise
- Ab Workout at Home
- Crunch Kicks
- Upper Ab Workout
- Cable Ab Workout
- Knapp, S. (2020, November 12). Oblique muscle – the definitive guide. Biology Dictionary. https://biologydictionary.net/oblique-muscle/
Lindberg, S. (2018, September 27). What’s the ideal body fat percentage for ABS? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/body-fat-percentage-for-abs#male-percentages