Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle Crunches - How to - Exercise Library

Bicycle Crunches are a great core exercise that gets the entire core moving and working.

Bicycle Crunches are easy for beginners to pick up and learn, but also still challenging for more advanced athletes.

In this guide I’m going to go over how to do Bicycle Crunches, what muscles they work, and a couple variations and alternatives.

How To Do Bicycle Crunches

  • Lay on your back with your knee and hip flexed to 90 degrees
  • Raise your shoulder blades off of the ground several inches and put your hands behind your head.
  • Keep your chin off of your chest and keep your left leg off of the ground.
  • Straighten your right knee while simultaneously driving the left knee in the opposite direction toward your shoulder.
  • Touch your left knee to your right elbow and immediately repeat to the other side.
  • Each time your right elbow touches your knee left knee, count as one repetition.

Coaching Points

Your hands behind your head should only be there for support. Do not pull on your head.

Muscles Worked

Bicycle Crunches primarily work the Rectus Abdominis and the Obliques. The Hip Flexors, TFL and Quads are also very active during Bicycle Crunches.

Bicycle Crunch Variations

If you’re looking to change up your Bicycle Crunches a bit, here is a popular variation that you can try out:

Bus Drivers

Bus Drivers are very similar to Bicycle Crunches, but the body positions are different.

Instead of laying on your back, Bus Drivers are done while balancing on your butt.

The movement itself stays basically the same though, rotating back and forth taking opposite elbow to opposite knee and repeating.

Oblique Crunches (Right Over Left)

If you want to target your obliques, but want something a little less complex – Oblique Crunches are a Bicycle Crunch variation.

For Oblique Crunches, start laying on your back, bend both knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Now, place the right foot on top of the left knee.

Crunch up and rotate – taking your left elbow to your right knee. Repeat for the designated reps and then switch sides.

Bicycle Crunch Alternatives

If you can’t do Bicycle Crunches, for whatever reason, here is an alternative that you might be able to try out.


Switching your Bicycle Crunches to Regular Crunches is a good alternative if you need something a little more beginner friendly.

For Crunches, start by laying on your back with feet up off the ground and knees at a 90 degree angle.

Support your head with your hands and crunch up by lifting your shoulder blades up off the floor, taking your elbows toward your knees.

Oblique Crunches (Right Over Left)

I just covered Oblique Crunches as a variation, but it’s also kind of an alternative. Either way, felt appropriate to add them in both places.

Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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