Move of the week: bicycle crunches – for activating your core

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: bicycle crunches.

Few exercises burn quite like ab exercises. Whether you’re specifically targeting lower abdominals with knee tucks, obliques with Russian twists or your upper abs with deadbugs, you’re almost guaranteed to feel a satisfying ache as your strengthen the different parts of your core.

A great exercise to engage your core in lots of different ways, however, is a bicycle crunch. 

What is a bicycle crunch?

A bicycle crunch is a great no-equipment core strengthening exercise that can be used as part of an ab circuit, or added into a full body workout. They’re great because…

A strong core is essential for every day movement: bicycle crunches help train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony, helping you with everything from every day movement to running and even weightlifting. 

They target multiple parts of your core: engaging not just the usual abs, but also the deep abs and obliques. 

They can be done anywhere: whether you’re training at the gym, in your living room or outside.

What muscles do bicycle crunches work?

This all-rounder exercises activates your abs, but specifically:

  • Rectus abdominis (upper abdominal muscle)
  • Obliques (side abdominal muscles)
  • Transverse abdominis (the deep ab muscle engaged by raising your legs)
  • Hamstrings and quads — from bicycling

How to do a bicycle crunch

1. Lying on your back, place your hands behind your head.

2. Lift your legs off the ground and, keeping the left leg hovering above the floor, bring the right leg up to tabletop position.

3. At the same time, twist your torso so that the right knee comes to meet your left elbow.

4. Repeat on the other side. 

Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.

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