The standing bicycle is a compound exercise that targets and strengthens the core, glutes, and thigh muscles.
It is a variation of the bicycle crunches, an exercise that possesses several benefits to the body. It will help you burn excess calories, improve your balance and strengthen your oblique muscles.
Performing it is easy as it does not require any equipment. It relies on your bodyweight only. It is a versatile exercise that will not break your bank.
Also, you can conveniently perform it at home. It is suitable for everyone regardless of age or gender.
It is also known as Standing Bicycle crunches or Standing Criss Cross workout.
Targeted muscles: Rectus Abdominis, Core, and Obliques
Exercise Type: Endurance.
Exercise Mechanics: Isolation.
Difficulty Level: Beginner.
Required Equipment: No equipment
- Stand on a flat surface with your feet spread hip-width apart. Be sure to maintain an upright posture.
- Add tension to your core.
- Lift your right knee slightly while lowering your left elbow and passing it across your core. Twist your core to the right while performing the movement. Ensure your knee and elbow get in contact when they reach the middle of your core. Hold that position briefly before releasing.
- Engage your core throughout the movement.
- Lower your right leg gently while raising your elbow back to its original position.
- Repeat the same movement with your left leg and right arm.
- Repeat the reps as many times as you desire.
- To make the exercise more challenging, attach weights to your ankles.
- Engage your abs often. It will prevent using them to gain momentum.
- If you are unable to balance on your own, perform the exercise while leaning on the wall with one hand.
MUSCLES WORKED BY STANDING BICYCLE
The standing bicycle exercise targets the torso and the abdominal muscles. It will activate your rectus abdominis which will, in turn, strengthen your torso.
Also, it will work your external obliques, improving your waist strength. Strengthening your obliques will improve your stability while also aligning your spine correctly.
It will also work your hips by activating the rectus femoris. To a lesser degree, it will work your glutes.
BENEFITS OF STANDING BICYCLE
IT WILL STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE
The standing bicycle exercise is essential for a stronger body. It will not only strengthen your core but will add many health benefits to your body.
The sideways movement initiated by twisting your torso will strengthen your core. This will increase your endurance, improve your posture and reduce the risks of injury.
It will add to your whole-body strength and will limit back pain.
IT WILL BOOST YOUR COORDINATION
The standing bicycle exercise employs a technique in which your opposite legs and arms move at the same time. This will improve your coordination.
Also, by closing your eyes, the exercise will become more challenging and will demand your concentration, which, in turn, will improve your coordination.
IT WILL ACCELERATE YOUR MUSCLE GROWTH
The standing bicycle exercise targets your abdominal muscles. It will, therefore, build strength in that area and increase the size of those muscles. This will improve your looks and boost your morale in athletic competitions.
ALTERNATIVE OF STANDING BICYCLE
STANDING CABLE CRUNCH
The standing cable crunch is an isolation exercise that targets the rectus abdominis and core muscles.
It relies on a high pulley machine and involves pulling a rope attached to the machine. It is commonly performed with moderate to high reps.
The standing cable crunch movement is easy to perform and requires minimal supervision. It is appropriate for both male and female athletes. It is, therefore, a suitable alternative to the standing bicycle exercise.
- Attach a strong rope to a high pulley machine, then adjust the weights accordingly.
- Stand with your back facing the cable tower. Hold the rope with both arms over your shoulders. This is your starting position.
- Crunch the weights by flexing your spine. Allow the weights to crunch as far down as possible.
- When the movement is at its peak, pause for a moment, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat the reps till you meet your set target.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING STANDING BICYCLE
RELYING ON THE MOMENTUM
A common mistake with the standing bicycle exercise is relying on momentum to aid your movement.
Since the exercise will use your latissimus dorsi to aid in swinging your arm towards your feet, it is easy to get carried away and rely on the momentum.
While it will help you to crunch up your body, it will prevent you from benefiting from the exercise because you will not be using the strength of your abs.
Avoid relying on the momentum by slowing down your movement.
TURNING THE EXERCISE INTO A HIP WORKOUT
Another common mistake with the standing bicycle exercise is turning it into a hip workout. This will occur when you let your hip flexors take over the movement. Avoid rotating your hips at all costs.
GOING TOO FAST
Most athletes tend to accelerate the standing bicycle exercise movement. Accelerating the movement will reduce your workout times, and will interfere with the duration in which your body is under pressure.
Also, it will interfere with your form. As a result, it will not improve your endurance. Avoid this mistake by taking the exercise slowly. Do not rush it.
HOLDING YOUR BREATH
Most exercises require you to hold your breath. The standing bicycle exercise does not require that. It is a mistake to hold your breath when performing this exercise.
Holding your breath can reduce the amount of oxygen flowing in your body and will result in pain and cramps. Avoid this mistake by breathing normally throughout the exercise.
The standing bicycle exercise is a suitable exercise for athletes looking for endurance. It is easy to perform, does not require any equipment, and is versatile – Meaning, you can perform it anywhere.
It is a gender-neutral exercise and does not limit training based on age. The movement is relatively easy and does not require constant supervision.
Its alternatives, such as the standing cable crunch, are more complicated and require a cable pulley machine, making it the go-to option. Try it out.