Bicycle crunches are a variation of the traditional crunch that can help you form rock hard abs and obliques.
They are considered one of the most effective exercises for building strong abdominal muscles. However, they are much better for bulking than cutting because they don’t burn a lot of calories.
The crunch, in itself, is one of the best known and most popular exercises for the core. Bicycle crunches are one of many variations. They are critical to adding to your ab routine or workout regimen if you are serious about tightening your core and building strong muscles. It can also help maintain good posture and prevent back pain.
To do a bicycle crunch, first, start out by laying flat on the ground. Your lower back should be pressed against the floor or mat, and your belly button should be pulled in tight. Then, once in this position, put your hands behind your head while simultaneously lifting your shoulder blades up off the ground. Then, bring your knees in toward your chest. Then, straighten one leg, so it is at a 45-degree angle with the ground, and simultaneously turn your upper body in the opposite direction. Then, bring the elbow you started off with toward its opposite knee. After doing this, switch sides. Make sure you are doing this in a slow and controlled manner, so you give your muscles a chance to work.
Some things to remember when doing this crunch:
- You are not doing this exercise for speed. You are doing it for control. Focus both on keeping your breathing steady and maintaining correct form. You should also maintain a relatively athletic manner of breathing, and inhale through your mouth and exhale out of your nose.
- A common mistake that people make is to pull too much with your elbows. Your entire ribcage should be moving, not just your elbows. This can hurt your neck. It can also cause significantly strain on your neck muscles, which are relatively delicate compared to other muscles in your body.
- In the beginning, start by doing 1 or 2 sets of between 15 and 20 crunches. As you get better, try to double the number of sets. This is a relatively challenging workout and should be built up to.
Getting Ready to Crunch
It is necessary to warm up for these types of crunches because of how they engage the entire body. An excellent catch-all warmup that you can do before are jumping jacks or any other form of light cardio. This will help get your blood flowing before you start working out. You always want to prepare and activate your ab muscles correctly.
A good stretch to activate your ab muscles for this exercise is the cat-cow stretch. First, you put your hands and knees on the floor parallel with your shoulders and hips, respectively. Your back should be as flat as possible, and your abdominals should always be engaged. First, inhale while arching your back and forward toward the floor in a concave fashion. Then, exhale while rounding your back up in a convex fashion — shift between these two for a full abdomen stretch.
This crunch is already a variation of the traditional crunch, but to add a little more heat to it feel free to add weight. The best place to add weight for this exercise is by putting a plate behind your head, but make sure not to compromise form.
This exercise is known for its ability to level up a traditional ab exercise and to improve mobility, strength, and posture. The best thing you can do while doing sets of bicycle crunches is to be aware of your form and how your body responds to this exercise.