When the weather starts heating up, the pressure to slim down and tone up increases, because clothes get skimpier and more skin is revealed. Well-defined abdominals can be your best accessory this summer, and the bicycle crunch is one of the exercises you can do to help you achieve this. According to study findings by the American Council on Exercise, bicycle crunches are one of the most effective exercises when it comes to engaging the rectus abdominis at the front of your tummy, and the obliques at the sides of your waist. Learning proper form is essential to prevent injuries and get optimal results.
Lie face up on a mat with your legs extended and your arms next to your body.
Bend your knees and raise your feet off the floor to form a tabletop position. Your lower legs should be parallel to the floor and your thighs should be vertical so your knees are directly above your hips.
Place your fingertips on the sides of your head, right behind your ears, and flare your elbows out sideways, away from your ears. Imagine opening up your chest.
Pull your navel toward your spine to engage your core and to stabilize your back.
Raise your head, shoulders and shoulder blades off the floor using your abdominals to create the motion. Avoid pulling on your head with your fingers. Count to three as you crunch up to avoid moving too fast.
Rotate your torso to the left halfway during the upward motion. Simultaneously, bring your left knee into your body, and aim to bring it toward your right elbow. Exhale when your elbow and knee meet.
Reverse the motion, rotating your torso back and lowering your shoulder blades to the floor. At the same time, extend your left knee, so your leg is straight and hovers about 2 inches above the floor.
Inhale, and then repeat the exercise on your side, rotating your torso to the right and bringing your left elbow and right knee together.
Perform eight to 12 repetitions on each side, and slowly work your way up to finishing two to three sets.
To make bicycle crunches easier, keep your legs at a 45-degree angle above the ground as you come out of the crunch. The closer your legs are to the ground, the harder the exercise will be.
American Council on Exercise