Most people do bike crunches badly – slow down the exercise to build a strong core, says a personal trainer

insta_photos/Getty Images

  • Bike crunches are a bodyweight exercise that works your entire core, from upper abs to obliques.

  • However, many people miss out on the benefits by doing it wrong, according to one trainer.

  • To master the technique, slow down, focus on your lower back, and increase as needed.

Bike crunches are a popular abdominal exercise for working all your abdominal muscles without a gym.

However, common mistakes like moving too quickly or losing tension in your core can defeat the purpose of the exercise, according to Miriam FriedNew York-based personal trainer and founder of MF Strong.

“Bicycle crunches can be effective, but most people do them incorrectly, with a choppy motion,” she told Insider.

To build a stronger core with bikes, focus on maintaining the basic position correctly, moving with precision, and doing scaled versions of the exercise to perfect your form.

Keep your lower back against the floor

Done correctly, bike crunches can work all parts of the abs, from the obliques on the sides of the trunk to the rectus abdominis (“upper abs”) and transverse abs (deep muscle that helps stabilize the spine).

The core of the exercise is to engage your core by pressing your lower back firmly against the floor throughout the movement.

  • Start by lying on the floor on your back with your hands behind your head.

  • Bend your knees until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, pressing your lower back against the floor.

  • Extend one right leg without touching it to the ground, while bringing the other knee towards the opposite elbow.

  • Lift and rotate that elbow toward the knee, pushing your shoulder blade away from the floor.

  • Switch sides and repeat.

If your lower back arches or leaves the floor, that’s a signal to adjust the exercise to make sure it’s working your core instead of stressing your back.

Use slow, controlled movements

According to Fried, it’s very common to see people performing bicycle crunches inefficiently by rushing them.

Accelerating the movement generates momentum, relieving abdominal tension, which is the opposite of what you expect from bike crunches, she said.

Instead, keep a steady, deliberate pace as you bring your opposite knee and elbow together, then extend to switch sides.

the American Council on Exercise recommends holding the top position (knee to elbow) for a second or two before lowering back down to the starting position.

Try similar exercises like dead bugs or hollow holds

If twisting prevents you from maintaining good form by causing your lower back to arch, consider working up to bicycle crunches with other exercise variations.

The hollow hold position is a simple way to practice stabilizing your core without movement, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete.

  • Start by lying on your back on the floor.

  • Press your lower back into the floor and raise your legs. Keep your legs together and engaged, contracting your leg muscles.

  • Raise your head and shoulders off the floor.

  • Raise your arms above your head and behind you, creating a banana shape with your body.

The lower you hold your arms and legs, the tighter your abs will be, which will increase the difficulty.

Hollow holds can be difficult for even a short duration, Fried said.

For an easier, scaled variation, try the dead bug exercise.

  • Start by lying on your back on the floor.

  • Bend your knees to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor.

  • Raise your arms straight in front of your chest.

  • Slowly straighten and lower one leg toward the floor, bringing the opposite arm overhead.

  • Switch sides and repeat.

According to Fried, the Hollow Grip and Dead Bug can be effective, so pick the one you can do with good form.

“Hollow plugs are my favorite, but customers often regress to a dead bug,” she said.

Read the original article at Initiated

Back To Top