You can put your core workouts together in many different ways. Find out what the health and general benefits of bicycle crunches are.
Keep in mind that you still want to approach bicycle crunches in optimal ways to get the most out of these benefits. That means implementing good amounts of resistance, repetitions, sets, rest, and nutrition.
1. Bicycle crunches can grow and strengthen muscles
While they engage your cardiovascular system to some extent, bicycle crunches are typically still a resistance training exercise.
Muscle fatigue will likely be the reason you can’t do more repetitions.
That means bicycle crunches can be helpful for growing, strengthening, and improving endurance in the muscles you work. In turn, this leads to a variety of other benefits.
Some of the main muscles you work with bicycle crunches are your:
- Obliques (side core muscles)
- Abs (front core muscles)
- Hip flexors (front highs)
- To a small extent quadriceps (front thighs)
An interesting aspect of bicycle crunches is that you work your obliques in a dynamic way but your abs typically in a static (isometric) way.
This is worth noting because isometric exercises tend to be less effective for building muscle.
In turn, certain bicycle crunch alternatives or doing the exercise in a way where you really move your shoulders up and down tend to be more effective for growing and strengthening abs.
Additionally, how many bicycle crunches you should do depends on what muscles you want to focus on and what you want to improve.
For example, to grow your oblique muscles with bicycle crunches you would do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (and even up to 50) repetitions with a weight you find challenging.
Many people will find their body weights challenging enough for this. Stronger individuals may need to use some extra resistance in the form of free weights and/or ankle weights.
2. Bicycle crunches could prevent and reduce back pain
From the things above it should be clear that bicycle crunches can help grow and strengthen important core muscles. Doing these things in this area specifically can be helpful in certain situations.
More specifically, many people struggle with aches and pains in their lower back.
One review of multiple studies concluded that you can reduce lower back pain by doing core-strengthening exercises like bicycle crunches (1).
Another study compared the effect of a core stabilization exercise program to routine physical therapy exercises on 120 people with lower back pain.
They observed that the core stabilization exercises were more effective in reducing pain (2).
3. Bicycle crunches can grow different muscle fiber types
As briefly mentioned, you can modify bicycle crunches to work your ab muscles in different ways. Interestingly enough, this can also influence what types of muscle fibers you grow (3).
More specifically, you can put muscle fibers into two main categories called “type 1, slow-twitch muscle” and “type 2, fast-twitch muscle” fibers.
Your muscles contain both of these but you can change in what ratios they are present.
This can be a benefit because these muscle fiber categories have their own specific areas where they stand out.
If you want to use bicycle crunches to make standing up for long periods of time easier, you would do them in the normal way where you keep your shoulders raised off the ground.
On the other hand, doing a bicycle with more dynamic shoulder movements can help prepare you for shorter movement sessions.
Additionally, doing weighted bicycle crunches when your body is ready for them can help you train more type 2 muscle fibers too.
4. Bicycle crunches burn a few extra calories
Bicycle crunches are not that effective for this next benefit but it is worth briefly mentioning.
Because your movements are likely more intense than usual, your body will have to use more energy (calories) than usual while doing bicycle crunches.
Additionally, building extra muscle mass helps you burn more calories throughout the day.
While the results of bicycle crunches will definitely not be that big compared to many other workouts, this can help to a tiny extent for goals like losing weight.
It is important to note that your habits in other lifestyle areas still need to be good enough for this goal. Doing more bicycle crunches will not always lead to weight loss.
5. Bicycle crunches can improve coordination
You can describe coordination as moving your body parts as intended in terms of timing and distance.
There are people that are clumsier than others but to some extent, coordination is a trainable skill.
The way you train coordination is by challenging your body in this area with exercises like bicycle crunches.
These are not the most challenging movement in this area but will require more coordination effort than most people are used to.
In turn, this benefit of bicycle crunches can potentially help you avoid bumping into things in your daily life to some extent.
6. Budget-friendly workout
Many sports and exercises require at least some investment in workout equipment options.
This can often be worth the extra health benefits and fun you get but it may be possible to get positive effects from more budget-friendly workout options too.
An example of this is the bicycle crunch exercise.
While you likely want something like a yoga mat, you theoretically don’t have to invest anything to do bicycle crunches.
Even if you want to do weighted bicycle crunches, household objects and budget-friendly equipment options can go a long way.
This can be great for people who want to keep their fitness budgets small and/or want to save up for certain pieces of fitness equipment.