How to Do a Bicycle Crunch for a Strong, Stable Core (Livestrong)

Posted: Mar 27, 2023 in In the News

This article originally appeared in Livestrong on March 27, 2023.


How to Do a Bicycle Crunch for a Strong, Stable Core

By Kim Grundy

Unlike the standard abdominal crunch that works just the front of your midsection (aka the rectus abdominis), the bicycle crunch exercise works those front muscles, your side obliques and even your lower body a bit. Plus, it's a fun way to add in some variety when you get bored of the basic crunch or plank.

So, are bicycle crunches effective? If you want a stronger core to improve your athletic performance or help support your back (or both!), the bicycle crunch is a great move that should be incorporated into your exercise program.


Read on to learn more about how to do the bicycle crunch, muscles worked, benefits, form tips, variations and how to add it to your workout routine.

  • What are bicycle crunches?‌ Bicycle crunches are a body-weight exercise. To do a bicycle crunch correctly, lie on your back with your hands behind your head (elbows out wide) and rotate your torso as you touch your elbow to your opposite knee, all while your legs move in a pedaling motion. This exercise incorporates both trunk rotation (side-to-side motion) and flexion (the ability to bend forward).
  • Who can do bicycle crunches?‌ This move is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to strengthen their obliques and rectus abdominis (the "six-pack" muscle) with one exercise. It's not for everyone, however. "Those that have low back pain or a low back injury or neck pain should typically avoid performing the bicycle crunch exercise," Grayson Wickham, DPT, CSCS, physical therapist and founder of Movement Vault, tells
  • What muscles do bicycle crunches work?‌ "Bicycle crunches are a core exercise that helps activate and strengthen your rectus abdominis, obliques and hip flexor muscles," Wickham says.

How to Do Bicycle Crunches Properly

The Benefits of Bicycle Crunches

1. They Strengthen Your “Six-Pack” Muscle

The bicycle crunch is the top exercise for strengthening your rectus abdominis — the muscles in front of your abdomen — according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), beating exercises like the captain's chair, crunches and the ab roller. Bicycle crunches also play a role in supporting your back during everyday activities like running, bending over and lifting.




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