The floor version is a popular exercise but you can also do bicycle crunches while standing. Find out how to do this and what changes.
Standing bicycle crunches are simply a variation of bicycle crunches where you stand up while you do the exercise. Nothing really changes in terms of the movements your body parts do.
On the flip side, the different angle makes it so standing bicycle crunches challenge your obliques and abs a lot less.
This is not good if you actually want to grow, strengthen, or improve endurance in these muscles.
Even if you would add weights, standing bicycle crunches would focus more on your lower back muscles.
In short, standing bicycle crunches are typically not recommended. Especially if you consider that there are so many good core exercise alternatives, both standing and lying down, available.
How to do a standing bicycle crunch
Take the following steps to do a standing bicycle crunch:
- Stand up straight and lightly rest your hands on the sides of your head.
- Slowly move one shoulder to the hip of the opposite side. At the same time, move this part of your hips toward the moving shoulder.
- Return to the position of step 1 in a controlled motion.
- Either complete your set on one side and then do the same number of repetitions on the other side or alternate between each side.
If you find standing bicycle crunches too challenging, you can hold something for balance. This could still offer the same core workout if you approach it right.
Besides that, you don’t want to pull your head too hard. Your hands are mainly there to do something with your arms instead of swinging them around.
Muscles worked with standing bicycle crunches
In practice, bodyweight standing bicycle crunches will actually work your lower back muscles and hip flexors more than anything. Your oblique muscles will also work to a tiny extent.
Additionally, your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thigh muscles, outer thigh muscles, and abs have to work to some extent to keep your body upright.
This is a lot different from regular bicycle crunches because the different angle makes gravity pull on different muscles.
Since many people do crunch variations to work their abs and obliques, most people want to choose something different from standing bicycle crunches.
In theory, you could set up resistance or a cable machine to add resistance to your obliques and abs.
In practice, this will not be worth the extra effort over just choosing one of the exercise alternatives.
Standing bicycle crunches vs bicycle crunches
The different angles make standing bicycle crunches an exercise with a very different focus than regular bicycle crunches.
More specifically, standing bicycle crunches will mainly be challenging for your lower back and hip flexors muscles.
On the other hand, bicycle crunches will be good for working your obliques and abs (and to some extent hip flexors).
Additionally, regular bicycle crunches will actually be able to work these muscles to an extent that offers results.
Your lower back and hip flexor muscles can likely deal with more than standing bicycle crunches have to offer.
Standing bicycle crunches benefits
Because they are both at-home-friendly exercises, the positive effects of the standing version will be somewhat similar to regular bicycle crunch benefits.
That being said, keep in mind that the muscles you mainly work are still very different.
- Can improve muscle endurance: While the muscles won’t be the same as the regular version, standing bicycle crunch alternatives can still improve endurance in a few different areas.
- No equipment or location required: You don’t need to invest anything or move yourself to any location to do standing bicycle crunches.
- Balance and coordination: You can improve your balance and coordination by challenging yourself in these areas. Standing bicycle crunches can likely help you with this.
It is nice to know that standing bicycle crunches still offer some benefits over doing nothing. Even though they are typically not the most effective choice.
Standing bicycle crunch alternatives
You may conclude that standing bicycle crunches don’t actually work the muscles you want to focus on. If this is the case, you can consider some of these other core exercise alternatives:
- Regular bicycle crunches
- Windshield wiper exercise
- Sideways leg raises on the captain’s chair
- Side plank variations
- Russian twists
- Ab wheel V-rolls
What muscles you want to work and in what ratios will determine what standing bicycle crunch alternatives are good choices for you.
Are standing bicycle crunches a good exercise?
Standing bicycle crunches are typically better than doing nothing but it is hard to really call them a good exercise.
They will mainly work your lower back and hip flexor muscles to an extent that is not even very challenging.
Since most people who are interested in standing bicycle crunches are interested in working their core muscles, you likely want to turn to one of the more effective alternatives instead.
Even if you find lying down on the ground uncomfortable, you can start with something like a side plank dip instead.
Are standing bicycle crunches effective?
No, standing bicycle crunches are not effective for most training goals. Unless you want to train balance and coordination, you want to turn to one of the alternatives instead.