The bicycle crunch is a good exercise for the abs, but it can lead to severe injuries if done the wrong way. Before including bicycle crunches in your workout schedule, make sure you learn the right way to do the exercise. Below are some essential bicycle crunch tips to help you do a perfect crunch and avoid common bicycle crunch injuries.
Slow Down the Tempo
Bicycle crunches are best done at a slow tempo. A high crunching tempo may force you to pull the back of your head, which results in you moving your neck back and forth. This posture and movement can lead to severe back injury because of the impact caused on your cervical spine.
Maintaining a slow tempo when doing bicycle crunches will help you to maintain the right posture throughout the workout. Remember that a slow tempo forces your abdominal muscles to work harder as you move up and down. Also, it's more impactful to hold your crunch for a second or two, so that you can get your abdominal muscles working even harder. Maintaining a slow tempo will indeed give you better results sooner.
Align Your Neck with Your Spine
Aligning your neck with your spine when performing a bicycle crunch is a critical body form you should maintain to avoid incurring an injury. Often misalignment of the neck and spine occurs when you use your hands to pull the neck forward. Remember that poor neck-spine alignment can cause great discomfort and neck pain.
To align your neck with your spine, rest your hands on the back side of your head without pulling the head forward. As you move back and forth, make sure your lower back is pressed down and focus on moving just your waist when you twist during the crunch. Moving the waist alone helps you avoid twisting your hips as this will affect your form and may lead to an injury.
Use a Bench
Using a bench to do bicycle crunches helps you to avoid maintaining a poor body posture. Often, the temptation to pull your neck and curl your spine is greater when you're lying down and holding your head with your hands, than when using a bench. If you're not yet good at doing perfect bicycle crunches when lying down, it's advisable you first try using the bench.
The main variation you will make when doing bicycle crunches on a bench will be with your hands. So instead of holding the back of your head, extend your arms backwards and hold the bench you're on with your hands, advises Sarah Klein. The bench allows you to achieve greater stability.
Bicycle crunches help tone your abdominal muscles and you can easily do them at home or at the gym. The above-mentioned tips on bicycle crunch workouts will help you do some perfect crunches.