What are bicycle crunches?
Crunches are a core exercise that targets your abdominal muscles. They work on all of these muscles, specifically the ones that make the six-pack abs (rectus abdominis) and your obliques.
To make crunches more challenging and interesting, people practise their different variations. One such amazing variation is bicycle crunches. They are a type of callisthenics, which means they use your body weight for resistance training.
As the name suggests, a bicycle crunch exercise is one in which you need to move your legs to mimic a pedalling motion. They are an effective combination of twist and contraction motions that target your oblique muscles along with your mid and lower abdominal muscles.
How to do bicycle crunches?
Wondering how to do bicycle crunches? Though a bicycle crunch exercise may seem simple at the outset, it requires a lot of focus, precision, and balance.
Follow these steps to perfect the bicycle workout:
- To start the cycle crunch exercise, lie on your back on the yoga mat.
- Press your lower back onto the floor while keeping your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Place your hands behind your head while keeping your elbows wide. You can interlace your fingers for additional support.
- Gently bring your knees up with your shins parallel to the floor.
- Lift your shoulder blades off the floor slowly. Remember not to do it with a sudden movement.
- Straighten your left leg at an angle of 45-degrees while turning your upper body towards the right while lowering your left elbow towards the right knee. Make sure to engage your abdominal muscles and not just your elbows.
- Return to the centre while keeping both your knees bent.
- Now repeat on the other side. Straighten your right leg to an angle of 45-degrees and turn your torso to the left. Do this while bringing your right elbow towards the left knee.
- This is one rep of cycling crunches.
Sets and reps of cycle crunch exercise: You can do 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps each.
Which are some of the best bicycle crunches variations?
While this was the basic bicycle crunches workout, there are several variations of this workout that you can try. These variations are excellent for motivating and challenging yourself and making yourself fitter.
- Standing bicycle crunches: Also known as standing criss-cross exercise, standing bicycle crunches are performed like the standard bicycle crunches, but standing. There are several standing bicycle crunches benefits including an improved balance, strong oblique muscles & core, and toned abs. You can enhance its intensity by increasing the speed of the pedalling movement.
- Raised legs bicycle crunches: In this variation of this exercise, while the basic movements remain the same, your legs will be pointed towards the ceiling at an angle of 90-degrees. This can be made more challenging by adding pace to it.
- Bicycle crunches with a hold: This is an excellent variation of this exercise that targets your deep abs, hips, spine, and pelvis. The basic pedalling move remains the same except that you need to hold the pose for 8-10 seconds when your knee and elbow are touching. Remember, this bicycle crunch variation needs to be done slowly and should not be paced up.
What are the benefits of bicycle crunches?
Bicycle crunches have more benefits than you can imagine for your mind and body. Here is a roundup of bicycle crunches benefits:
- Bicycle crunches are an excellent way to strengthen some of the major muscles in your body. These include your glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors, abs, and obliques. This helps in preventing muscular pain, stiffness, and strain and improves your endurance.
- This exercise is an effective way to build your abs muscles, especially for those who want six-pack abs.
- Bicycle workout is an intense workout that helps to crank up calories. It works as an effective weight loss exercise that makes you look toned and saves you from potential obesity-related health risks such as diabetes, heart diseases, kidney problems, etc.
- A strong core is the foundation of every movement that you make. It is essential for the smallest to the biggest movements such as walking, standing, lifting, sitting, etc. Bicycle crunches are an excellent way to activate and strengthen your upper and lower abdominal muscles.
- One of the most important bicycle crunches benefits is that they are very beneficial for people who a lead sedentary lifestyle or need to spend many hours in front of a screen. This exercise strengthens your back muscles and prevents posture-related pain and stiffness.
- This exercise along with its variations have a great impact on your mood. For example one of the most important standing bicycle crunches benefits is that it improves your circulation. This not just keeps your organs functioning optimally and improves your immunity but also enhances your cognitive functioning. It enhances your mood, focus, concentration, and memory too.
- This exercise is simple to do and learn, especially bicycle crunches for beginners. You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or gym space and can easily be included in your workout at home.
How to do bicycle crunches safely?
Here are some things that you need to keep in mind while doing this exercise safely, especially bicycle crunches for beginners:
- Pregnant women and those who suffer from spinal problems must avoid doing bicycle crunches.
- Standing bicycle crunches must not be done by people who suffer from a herniated disc.
- Be mindful of your form and posture. This helps avoid muscular compression and stress.
- Never start doing the bicycle crunch exercise without learning its proper technique from an experienced trainer.
- Avoid doing cycling crunches if you are stressed or have a fever or flu.
A bicycle crunches workout is not only an effective workout to include in your daily exercise routine, but it is also a great alternative to other abs exercises such as situps and crunches. However, the key to gaining the benefits of bicycle crunches is consistency. Do them regularly without taking too many breaks and see yourself get into that perfect shape.
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