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Supine Bicycle Exercise 2023

The Supine Bicycle, also called Bicycle Crunches, is a core body exercise targeting the abs, particularly the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles.

  • Rectus Abdominis – are the “six-pack” muscles.
  • Obliques – muscles on the side of your abs

The Supine Bicycle is the second exercise in Conditioning Drill Two, which strengthens the abdomen’s muscles and controls the trunk’s rotation. 

Conditioning Drill 2, Exercise 2: Supine Bicycle


This exercise strengthens the abdomen muscles and controls the trunk rotation.

Starting Position: 

  • Supine position with the fingers interlaced, hands on top of the head. 
  • Hips, knees, and ankles are flexed at 90 degrees, and lower legs are parallel to the ground. 
  • The head is off the ground.

Cadence: SLOW


  1. On Count One: Bring the left knee toward the chest while flexing and rotating the trunk to the left, attempting to touch the right elbow with the left thigh. As the left knee rises, the right leg extends.
  2. On Count Two: Return to the starting position.
  3. On Count Three: Bring the right knee toward the chest while flexing and rotating the trunk to the right, attempting to touch the left elbow with the right thigh. As the right knee rises, the left leg extends.
  4. On Count Four: Return to the starting position.
Supine Bicycle Exercise
Supine Bicycle Exercise

Check Points:

  • At the starting position, ensure that the hands are on top of the head, not behind the neck.
  • Maintain the tightness of the abdominals throughout the exercise.
  • On counts 1 and 3, attempt to fully extend one leg while bringing the knee of the other to the elbow.


  • On Counts 1 and 3, do not jerk the neck or arch the back to assume the up position.

How to do the Supine Bicycle Crunches Exercise at Home

To do the supine bicycle crunches, follow the following steps:

  1. To do the supine bicycle crunches, follow the following steps:

  2. Place your hands lightly behind your head, keeping your elbows wide.

  3. Lift your head, shoulders, and feet off the ground, engaging your core muscles.

  4. Bring your right knee towards your chest while simultaneously rotating your upper body to bring your left elbow towards your right knee.

  5. Switch sides by extending your right leg and bringing your left knee towards your chest while rotating your upper body to get your right elbow towards your left knee.

  6. Continue alternating sides in a fluid, controlled motion resembling a bicycle pedal motion.

Enhance Your Bicycle Core Exercise for Better Results

In this section, I will show you how to make supine bicycles (which is a core exercise) way more effective than how you’re doing them now, so you can get more sweet ab core gains with every rep that you do.

One of the best things about supine bicycle crunches is that they’re a core exercise that can help you work not only your upper abs but your lower abs and your obliques all at the same time if you do them right.

The Proper Form: Upper Abs

Starting with the upper abs, one of the biggest mistakes that we make is trying to sit our entire body off of the ground when we do the bicycle.

While your upper abs are being used to initiate that getting up of your body, once you’re about halfway up from being on the ground, your hip flexors start to take over to bring you up the rest of the way.

And then, at the top, when you bring in the knee and twist, you are not really feeling that upper ab engagement anymore.

So instead of sitting up all the way, we can best activate our upper abs by just trying to curve our spine and essentially crunch ourselves up by just getting our shoulders off the ground and rounding our spine slightly, but squeezing those upper abs tightly.

The Proper Form: Lower Abs

Moving on to the lower abs: When we want to activate our lower abs during an exercise like this, we want to think about tucking our hips towards us, almost like tilting our hips towards our bodies.

Instead of pedaling your feet like you would pedal a traditional bicycle, like an actual mechanical bicycle, try it in reverse.

So instead of just spinning one foot in front of the other, pedal those feet backward. And as you do so, that’s going to help you more activate that hip tilting towards your body aspect of the bicycle.

That’s going to help you engage your lower abs a lot more than if you just pedal forward. And trust me, that simple switch is really going to fire up those lower abs.

The Proper Form: Obliques

And when it comes to activating our obliques more on this exercise, a lot of us tend to keep our elbows tucked in way too much. 

We tuck our elbows to the sides of our heads, and we’re hardly getting any twisting action during the bicycle, yet that twist and turn is what’s going to fire up those obliques.

So take those elbows out wide and keep them out wide, essentially trying to keep your elbow in line with your head and then trying to twist your body as you bring in the knee.

Make sure that as you do this, we still want to get that shoulder lifted off the ground slightly. So don’t bring in the knee too much.

We want to bring in that knee just slightly past the hips, which will allow us to get that crunch and that twist off of the ground as we bring that opposite elbow toward the knee.

But don’t be discouraged if you can’t touch your elbow to the knee. You’ll get there eventually. But we just want to really make sure that we are feeling that twist, that turn, and that slight lift of the shoulders off the ground to fire up those obliques.

So I highly encourage you to try out those little changes. If you want a little routine to try, here’s a simple one:

Bicycles30 seconds
Rest30 seconds
Repeat3-5 rounds

Supine Bicycle Crunches for Beginners

If you’re new to the supine bicycle crunches exercise, start slowly and focus on maintaining proper form. 

As you become more comfortable with the movement, gradually increase the speed and duration of your repetitions.

Benefits of the Supine Bicycle Crunches Exercise

Incorporating the supine bicycle exercise into your workout routine offers several advantages:

Core strength

  • The supine bicycle crunches targets your rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back muscles, helping improve overall core strength and stability.

Lower abs

  • This exercise effectively engages your lower abdominal muscles, which can be challenging to target with other activities.

Cardiovascular endurance 

  • The dynamic nature of the supine bicycle crunches makes it an excellent option for increasing your heart rate and improving cardiovascular endurance.


  • The rotational movement involved in the supine bicycle promotes increased flexibility in your spine and hips.

Supine Bicycle Variations: Keep Your Workout Fresh

To keep your workouts engaging and challenging, consider incorporating these supine bicycle variations:

Weighted Supine bicycle

  • Hold a small weight plate or medicine ball between your hands to increase resistance and intensity while performing the exercise.

Extended leg bicycle

  • Instead of bending your knees, keep your legs straight and perform the exercise with a scissor-like motion to engage your hip flexors more effectively.

Reverse supine bicycle

  • Rotate your upper body in the opposite direction of your legs, bringing your elbow towards the opposite hip rather than the knee.

Supine Bicycle Workout Routine and Equipment

For an optimal supine bicycle workout routine, aim to perform 3-4 sets of 10-20 repetitions, adjusting the number of sets and reps based on your fitness level and goals.

In terms of supine bicycle equipment, this exercise can be performed with minimal gear – all you need is a comfortable mat or soft surface to lie on.

Muscle Activation and Alternatives

To ensure optimal supine bicycle crunches muscle activation, focus on engaging your core muscles throughout the movement and maintaining a steady, controlled pace. 

Avoid pulling on your neck or allowing your lower back to arch during the exercise.

If you’re looking for supine bicycle alternatives, consider exercises such as Russian twists, leg raises, or mountain climbers, which also target the core muscles effectively.


By following the guidance in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the supine bicycle exercise and unlocking the power of your core. 

Consistency is vital, so incorporate this versatile movement into your regular workout routine to boost stamina and enhance overall fitness.

George N.