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Bicycle crunches are an effective abdominal exercise, especially for targeting the inner and outer obliques, which run alongside your torso. Since the hands are positioned behind your head, it is easy to pull on your head and neck while rotating your body. However, the pulling motion can bring an injury to your neck while also causing your body to move out of alignment. Paying attention to and perfecting your form when performing bicycle crunches can help you to keep your neck neutral and free from pain.
Lie on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your stomach in toward your lower back. Lift your legs so your knees are stacked directly over your hips. Point your toes while maintaining the 90-degree bend in your knees.
Place your hands behind your head. Allow your head to gently rest in your hands; avoid taking hold of your head or neck. Point your elbows out to the sides. Lift your head and shoulders straight up and off of the mat. Keep your chin lifted; pick a spot on the ceiling to hold your gaze, which can help you to maintain alignment in your neck.
Bring your right knee in toward your left elbow and simultaneously straighten your left leg. Maintain the alignment between the neck and spine during the full extension of the crunch. Twist your torso to meet the knee, but avoid forcing your torso forward by pulling on your head and neck. Allow the lift and twist to come from your abdominals.
Return to the starting position and then immediately perform the crunch on the other side, bringing your left knee in toward your right elbow and straightening your right leg. Aim for 12 crunches on each side.
- Focus on form at first rather than repetitions. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the number of crunches you perform.