Bicycle crunches are a type of abdominal exercise ideal for marking the abdomen. With the correct technique, they allow for developing the strength of the core muscles, both lateral and frontal.
The name of the exercise refers to the pedaling that occurs on the bicycle; in fact, the movement is analogous to cycling.
This article describes the technique of bicycle crunches, what they are for, and the most common mistakes when doing this exercise.
What are bicycle abs?
Bike riding crunches are one of the best for abdominal exercises. This exercise simulates the movement of the bicycle horizontally; the complete work of the abdomen ensures it.
To learn how to perform this exercise most efficiently, it is recommended that beginners start with the classical variation and a slow movement since it is the easiest way from the point of view of the technique.
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How to do bicycle crunches?
The bicycle crunches should be performed at a medium or slow speed and with the sensation of involving the abdomen in work. The duration per exercise is 3 to 6-7 seconds. A beginner should do 10-12 reps on each side for three sets. The rest between sets is 1 minute. The correct technique for the bicycle crunches is described below:
- Lie on the floor with your lower back pressed against the floor and your knees bent. The feet must remain against the floor and the hands behind the head.
- Contract your core muscles and stretch your body to stabilize your spine.
- With your hands resting gently on your head, pull your shoulder blades back and slowly raise your knees to a 90-degree angle, lifting your feet off the ground.
- Exhaling and slowly, perform a movement similar to that of the bicycle pedal, lifting one knee towards one arm while straightening the other leg
- Rotate your torso so that you can touch the elbow with the opposite knee
- Alternate turning to the other side while touching that knee to the other extended leg
How can you tell that you are doing a good technique?
A characteristic burning sensation in the abdominal muscles is the primary signal that the abdominal muscles are involved in the exercise.
Also, a slight tremor in the abdomen and the front surface of the body can become a good indicator of the correct technique.
On the contrary, if you feel pain in your back or neck, this is a clear sign that you are doing bicycle crunches incorrectly.
If you are one of the self-taught people who train at home and cannot independently understand what kind of mistake you are making, it is best to seek the advice of a personal trainer who can adjust the technique.
Bike abs: common mistakes
One of the most common mistakes when doing bicycle crunches is lifting your head excessively up and arching your neck.
This causes an excessive load on the cervicals. It is essential not to put pressure on the head; bring it closer to the knees; lightly support your head with the palms of your hands and avoid the temptation to look into the mirror.
The second mistake is to shift the weight from the abdomen to the leg muscles. In this exercise, the legs should only serve as a counterweight. If you can’t feel your abdominal muscles, don’t try to drift into your legs. This can cause injury to the lower back.
What are bicycle abs for?
Bicycle sit-ups increase strength and achieve symmetry of the abdominal muscles.
When doing bicycle crunches, the main load falls on the middle part of the rectus abdominis. Secondarily, the upper part of the abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis muscle, and the obliques are worked.
The muscles of the front surface of the hips, spine, and lower back are also involved in work. The gluteal muscles are less involved. However, exercise only works if you know how to tighten your abdomen.
This exercise works not only to achieve a six-pack but can also be considered an excellent exercise to improve posture.
Are bicycle abs to burn fat?
Both the bicycle crunches and any other type of exercise to work the abdomen allow strengthening of the muscles of the middle zone. But they are not the best method to burn fat.
If the primary goal of your training is to reduce belly fat, you will need a comprehensive plan that consists of a combination of an eating plan and regular exercise to burn fat. Cardio is generally recommended for beginners.
The bicycle crunches are an essential exercise to strengthen the middle zone. Its different variants allow working both slow and fast muscle fibers.