The bicycle crunch exercise is an awkward looking, difficult exercise that requires balance, stamina and a strong core to complete successfully. You’ve probably seen it being done many times at the gym by people who look a little like turtles on their backs. This kind of crunch isn’t for the faint of heart. It will make you sweat. It will make your burn calories. Most of all, it will tone and shape your core from the outer obliques to the inner abdominal muscles. When you are preparing for the bicycle crunch exercise, you are preparing for a real workout.
Clear the Space
To begin, find a comfortable space either on a mat or on carpet. You will be performing this crunch by balancing on a small part of your body, so making sure to begin on a soft but firm surface is essential. Using a yoga mat or gym mat will do just fine.
Start the bicycle crunch by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground a comfortable distance from your hips. It is best to begin with your hands behind your head, as if you were doing a normal crunch. Keeping your hands here will help maintain your form as you begin the exercise.
Begin the Exercise
Slowly raise your upper and lower body up off the ground until you are balanced steadily on your buttocks, legs raise and your torso erect but nearing a 45 degree angle toward the ground. On every exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and bring your legs in one at a time. Keeping your hands behind your head, curl over opposite arms and legs until your elbows reach past your knee. For example, when your left knee is brought in toward your chest, your right elbow will reach past it.
In this way, your body will twist in each direction, all while your abdominal muscles are contracted. It will look like you are riding a bicycle upside down, hence the crunch’s name. Remain in this erect V-form and continue doing the bicycle crunches until you’ve completed a set of 25, 35 or 50, depending on your fitness level. Be sure to keep your legs raised in the air to obtain the full benefit of this exercise.
Consistency in Breath and Form are Crucial
Remember to breathe consistently between crunches, but always contract your muscles on an exhale. When you’ve completed a set, slowly relax your body and allow your feet to sit back on the ground and your upper body to lie back down as well. Rest for 30 seconds, breathing normally and repeat the set.
The bicycle crunch, when done correctly, is a fantastic tool you can use to tone and shape your abdominal muscles and obliques. Even keeping your legs in the air while performing it can help burn extra calories. Much of the crunch’s success lies in the ability to remain balanced and keep your form.