How To Do A Bicycle Crunch Like A Boss
Bicycle crunches are an O.G. abs move—right alongside situps and planks.
But they are really, really easy to get wrong.
You've got to treat your obliques better than that, though.
Brush up on your technique with these tips from New York City fitness expert Chris Ryan, C.S.C.S.—and get ready to work your side abs like never before:
- Lie on your back on the floor.
- Pull your chin toward your chest and roll your shoulders down and in.
- Bring your hands to the sides of your head (rather than locking them around your head). Your middle finger should gently rest on your temples, with your shoulders slightly above the floor.
- Keep your elbows open, which will engage your obliques.
- Bring your legs into tabletop position, pointing your toes.
- Engaging your abs, pull your right elbow and left knee toward one another, extending your right leg straight.
- Switch sides and pull your left elbow and right knee toward one another, extending your left leg straight.
- Alternate sides.
- Complete 30 reps total.
The whole time you're crunching, remember the following pointers to really maximize your burn (a good thing! we swear!):
Engage those abs:Your ribs should feel as if they’re pulled into your abs as hard as possible, says Ryan. Squeeze your bellybutton into your tailbone.
Leave your neck alone:This shouldn’t hurt your neck. If you feel a strain, your core is not engaged. Keeping your fingers at your temples, rather than pulling at the back of your head, will help.
Get more from it:Make sure you’re moving in a full range of motion, extending your legs all the way, and rotating through your abdominals.
Go slow:Rather than cranking them out as fast as possible, really focus on contracting your abs muscles as you go. One way to do that is to do them in a slow five-five-five pace, recommends Ryan. Take five seconds for the first part of the move (bringing your elbow to your knee), hold for five seconds, then take five seconds to release back to start. Four of those reps—which will take one minute—will feel like you just did so many more.
This move fits nicely into any bodyweight workout, says Ryan. The good news is that they require no equipment, just a softer floor (or a mat) to avoid hurting your tailbone.
Another tactic: do them as part of the recovery phase of a HIIT workout, he says. Instead of a full minute rest, dedicate 30 seconds of that to slow bicycle crunches.
Video: How to do a Bicycle Crunch
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