The Standing bicycle crunch is a great variation of the traditional Bicycle Crunch (where you lay on the floor on your back) for those individuals who are experiencing difficulty with mobility or who want to improve their balance. When I say mobility, I am referring to getting down on the floor and back up again as this can be a major issue for seniors or anyone recovering from an injury.
One of the reasons I like this exercise so much for active aging and injury rehabilitative individuals is because it allows you to increase your core strength and improve balance at the same time. This exercise places an emphasis on the oblique muscles of the core to strengthen them and promote a stronger abdominal cavity. Additionally, because you are standing while performing the exercise you will also burn more calories when compared to laying on your back due to the additional muscles that are involved in the movement. Studies have even shown this exercise to be more effective when compared to standard crunches.
Furthermore, this exercise is wonderful for those of us with Atrial Fibrillation because it is low enough in intensity to not spike our heart rate, but still provide us with a great workout.
As with most standing ab exercises a standing bicycle crunch reduces your risk of straining your neck or injuring your lower back. Having poor technique with ab exercises which require you to lay on the floor can lead to a variety of spinal problems, which is why I always stress having proper form when performing floor exercises. If you have questions about proper form for these movements, message me in the comments below or review my past posts on ab exercises for the floor.
How To Perform A Standing Bicycle Crunch:
- Stand with your feet hip width apart and a nice straight posture.
- Tighten your core.
- Bring your left knee up and slightly over while bringing your right elbow down and across your core while twisting your core to the left. The elbow and knee should touch gently in the middle of your core.
- Pro Tip: To intensify this move, hold the contraction for 1-2 seconds before releasing.
- Balance Tip: Don’t worry if you aren’t ready to perform this exercise freestanding yet. Simply stand with with arm holding onto the back of a sturdy chair or against a wall while performing this exercise until you feel comfortable trying it without external assistance. Practice makes perfect and I know you can do it!
- Keeping the core engaged, slowly return the left leg and elbow to their original position.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Perform 8-10 reps per side for 2-3 sets.
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