Bicycle Crunches to Target Obliques

How-To Video and Step-by-Step Instructions

Bicycle crunches are great ab exercises for women that require no additional weight training equipment.

Sometimes called Alternating Obliques, this abdominal workout mainly targets your internal and external obliques (the muscles on your side waist that sometimes get covered by love handles!), as well as your Abdominis Rectus (the abdominal muscles down the front of your body that make up "six pack abs").

See Ab Exercises for Women for more exercises targeting your various abdominal muscles.

Step-by-Step: How to Do Bicycle Crunches

  1. Start by lying on your back on the floor or a mat; bend your knees so that your upper legs are at 90° to the floor (your feet will be in the air); touch your fingertips to the sides of your head.
  2. Lift your shoulders off the ground and touch your right elbow to your left knee while extending your right leg.
  3. Alternate and touch your left elbow to your right knee while extending your left leg.
  4. Repeat the crunches until you feel a burn. You should be increasing the number of repetitions as your abdominal muscles become stronger.

Tips for Safe and Effective Oblique Crunches

  • Putting your fingertips to the sides of your head, instead of behind your head, will prevent you from pulling on your head. Pulling your head can cause injury to your neck.
  • Each time you touch your knee to your elbow, be sure to roll up your spine by lifting your shoulders off the floor.
  • Don't let your feet touch the floor during your repetitions.
  • With any type of crunch or abs exercise, try to also focus on your deepest abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis--the muscles you feel when you cough). This will provide greater stability and help you to work more than one set of abdominal muscles with each exercise.
  • If you were actually riding a bicycle instead of doing a bicycle crunch, you would be moving your legs in a more round cyclical movement. With oblique crunches, however, your legs should be moving in a more linear movement.

Benefits of Abdominal Exercises for Women

  • Ab exercises such as crunches help to strengthen your core muscles (core muscles include your abs, back and pelvic muscles). A strong core helps you more easily do most physical activities, from such basic things as bending over to pick something up to more strenuous activities such as lifting weights.
  • Strong core muscles help you to more effectively and safely perform all other weight lifting or strength training routines.
  • Abs exercises help you to get rid of stubborn stomach fat and unwanted love handles. But remember, if you're working out to get rid of unwanted fat, you're most likely going to have to alter your eating habits in addition to working out.

Beyond Bicycle Crunches

A strong core and strong abs are crucial for a fit and healthy body. Incorporating abdominal exercises into your weight training routine will get you on your way to this important goal.

Truth About Abs

If you want to go even further, perhaps even as far as developing six pack abs, and get an overall strong and great looking body, then take a look at Mike Geary's The Truth About Abs website.

Geary explains how abdominal exercises for women should not be our main focus if we want to get great looking abs. A full body workout and weight loss are what we really need to do. Geary provides all the tools you need to get an overall strong and great-looking body.

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