This exercise allows you to strengthen not only the rectus muscles of the abdomen (those abdominal muscles in six packs), but also your internal and external obliques.
These are the muscles on the sides of your torso, which can help you achieve chiseled abs and provide core support for your body.
Read on to find out what bike crunches are and how to do them step by step.
What is a crunch bike?
The bike crunch is a beginner-level no-equipment exercise abdominal exercise that you can do at home, at the gym, and even on the go while traveling.
This is done lying on the floor on your back, and it involves twisting from side to side.
It can easily be modified to be easier for beginners, or it can be made harder for more challenging abdominal training.
“Bicycle crunches are good for functionality because they work with multi-plane movement,” says Jesse Levy, partner trainer and zone director for Camp Gladiator as well as a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer. “Even though you’re lying on your back, your abs are fully engaged as you squeeze them hard for the duration of the movement. We also add a transverse twist which also engages the oblique abdominal muscles.
How to Do Bike Crunches
Bike crunches require proper form to reap the full benefits.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight. Interlace your fingers behind your head, gently resting your head on your fingers. Keep your elbows pointed out to the sides and try to relax your neck.
- Press your lower back into the floor, engage your core to lift your shoulder blades off the floor, and bring your right knee toward your chest as you rotate your torso to bring your left elbow toward your right knee. Keep your left leg straight.
- Reverse the movement by straightening your right leg as you bend your left leg and bring it toward your chest as you rotate your torso to bring your right elbow toward your left knee.
- Keep repeating and once you’ve mastered good form, start switching legs and rotating faster to add a cardio element. However, your lower back should stay on the ground throughout the movement.
Variations of the Bicycle Crunch
1. Hammer Blow
- Lie face up on a mat with your arms at your sides (palms down), legs raised, and hips and knees bent at 90 degrees so your legs are parallel to the floor.
- Lift your head and shoulders off the mat and begin pedaling your legs, keeping them close to the floor and fully extending each leg as you strike.
2. 90 crunch knees
- Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. Place your fingers on the sides of your head behind your ears.
- Lift your shoulders off the ground and sweep your arms in an arc, so that they eventually reach your heels.
- Reverse the movement to return to the starting position and repeat.
Standing Bike Crunch
Bike crunches can be performed on your back (as explained above) or standing up.
A standing bike crunch is a good option if the horizontal version hurts your back and neck and you need to build core strength.
- Start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on either side of your head near your ears with your elbows apart.
- Keeping your torso straight, use your abdominal muscles to lift your right leg to meet your left elbow in a twist.
- Return to the center and repeat on the other side.
What are bike crunches used for?
Bike crunch workouts strengthen many parts of your core, including the rectus abdominis, which stabilizes the pelvis and prevents your lower back from overextending when your legs move.
This exercise also stresses the internal and external oblique muscles.
Strengthening these muscles can help achieve a strong, defined waistline, and these muscles also help with day-to-day functional activities.
By working the obliques, you build the muscles that help you bend your torso from side to side, twist and turn.
You will improve your core power to aid in good posture and support any spinal movement.