Depending on your weight and the intensity of your workouts, you’ll burn about 3.9 calories for every minute of bike crunch, which equates to 234 calories per hour. The best part about bike crunches is that you can often do them for over a minute and burn even more calories.
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How the calculator works
The calculator for determining calories burned from bike crunches uses MET values to give you an accurate picture of how many calories you will burn. A high MET value means that exercise requires more physical effort.
What is a MET value?
MET stands for Task Metabolic Equivalent, and MET values allow us to give you an estimate of energy expenditure for many different exercises, like the bike crunch.
This value is the ratio of working metabolism to resting metabolism. which is the rate of energy used versus the length of time spent doing these types of exercises.
In other words, a MET value of 1 equals the amount of energy you expend at rest, and a MET value of 3 means you expend 3 times as much energy as at rest.
Almost all activities and exercises have MET values assigned to them. Some of the activities are common, and some are not so common. For example, we have calculators using MET values for activities like skydiving, skating, and lawn mowing!
Some activities have varying intensity levels and are assigned different MET values, but bike crunches only have one MET value of 2.9.
The formula used by our bike crunch calculator to determine the number of calories burned per minute is (body weight in kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200.
A person weighing 160 pounds will burn about 234 calories per hour doing bike crunches. This activity has a MET of 2.9, which means it burns almost 3 times more calories compared to rest.
Here’s what the formula for calculating calories burned while doing bicycle crunches will look like for a 160-pound individual.
Calories burned (per minute) = (body weight in kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200
Calories burned (per minute) = (72.6 x 2.9 x 3.5) ÷ 200
Calories burned (per minute) = 3.9 calories ×60
Calories burned (per hour) = 234 calories per hour
How to Do Bike Crunches
Although the bicycle crunch may seem like a simple exercise, there are a few tips you need to know before incorporating this exercise into your gym routine. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do bicycle crunches the right way:
Lie on your back on the floor or on a mat for support. Press your lower back against the floor and bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the floor.
Place your hands behind your head, interlacing your fingers if you prefer. Keep your elbows apart and gently hold your head in your hands.
Bring your knees up with your shins parallel to the floor. As you lift your shoulder blades off the floor, be careful not to strain or pull on your neck.
As you straighten your left leg to an angle of approximately 45 degrees, rotate your upper body to the right, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee. (Make sure the movement is coming from your rib cage, not just your elbows.)
Come back to center with both knees bent and elbows out.
Repeat on the other side: Straighten your right leg to a 45 degree angle and twist your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow to your left knee.
Return to starting position to complete 1 rep.
Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
What muscles do bike crunches work?
Bike crunches are a dynamic exercise that works several different muscle groups at the same time. This exercise mainly works the rectus abdominis and your external oblique muscles.
Other secondary muscles that bike crunches work are your hips and transverse abdomen, which is your deep core.
Common mistakes to avoid
Even having step-by-step instructions may not help you avoid some of the common mistakes beginners make when doing bike crunches. Below are the most common mistakes people make when doing bike crunches.
Doing bike crunches too fast
The biggest mistake beginner and advanced athletes make is doing bike crunches too quickly. Make sure you perform controlled movements at moderate speed with bike crunches and complete each rep correctly instead of rushing through them.
When doing bike crunches, you need to make sure your torso does all the rotation in the movement. The hips should not rotate at all and you should drive your straight legs forward and back while keeping your lower back supported on the floor.
Bike crunches can strain your neck if you don’t do them with the right form. Make sure you don’t pull your head forward as you do the movement. If you start to feel your neck tense, just twist your torso as far as you can.
Bike crunches provide many different benefits when performed correctly. Below are the main benefits you will find when doing bike crunches.
Having a strong core helps your body in different ways. When you strengthen your abs, you will notice that you can do other exercises longer since this exercise increases your endurance.
Some other positive side effects of a strong core include better posture, better balance, reduced back pain, and reduced risk of injury.
No equipment needed
Perhaps the best advantage of doing bike crunches is that it doesn’t require any specialized equipment. You can do them indoors or outdoors, which means you can do this exercise regardless of the weather.
However, to make exercising on your back and neck easier, you can use a mat to lie on while you perform the exercise.
Visible results faster
While you can’t shed belly fat on a bike, doing this exercise regularly will build strength and build muscle. This makes it easier for you to see the definition of your abdominal area as you begin to reduce body fat over time.
Practicing with a whole-body approach is the best way to see body fat melt away and see results from your efforts in the gym.
Increased heart rate
The crunch bike is ideal if you track your heart rate and are looking to increase it in the gym. You can perform bike crunches at different tempos to monitor your heart rate and increase or decrease it as needed.
Once you get the right form, bike crunches can start to get too easy if you do them frequently. That’s why it’s always a good idea to explore some variations of the bike crunch if you’re looking for a more challenging abdominal workout.
High Bike Crunch
The elevated bike crunch is a more advanced version of the standard exercise but involves lying on a bench to do the crunch.
This means that your legs lower more with each repetition, which increases your range of motion and the core has to work harder to lift the legs towards your twisting torso.
Bosu Ball Bike Crunch
This variation of the bike crunch increases the difficulty of the exercise because it introduces instability into the mix. Since the bosu ball has a flat side, it’s a bit easier to use for bike crunches than a standard gym ball.
To do this variation, you need to lie down so that your lower back is resting on the ball while keeping your feet on the ground.
Then do the bike crunch as usual and twist your torso as you sit down to bring the elbow to the opposite knee and bring your foot back to the ground before lifting the other knee.
More calorie calculators
Try our other calorie-based calculators below.
Bike crunches may be overshadowed by the popularity of the traditional crunch, but you’ll find unique benefits of working into the bike crunch for your gym routine.
As with any exercise, it’s important to make sure you’ve mastered the correct form before moving on to any of the variations we’ve covered in this article.
If you regularly incorporate bicycle crunches into your gym routine, you can expect to see a more defined core and better posture during your daily activities.
Jetté, M., Sidney, K., & Blümchen, G. (1990). Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription and functional capacity assessment. Clinical Cardiology, 13(8), 555–565. https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.4960130809