Calories Burned Doing Bicycle Crunches
Depending on your weight and exercise intensity, you’ll burn about 3.9 calories for each minute you do bicycle crunches, which equates to 234 calories per hour. The best part of bicycle crunches is that you can often do them for longer than a minute and burn even more calories.
Calories Burned with Ab Exercises (weight: 170 lbs)
|Exercises||MET||30 min.||60 min.|
|Abdominal Roll Wheel||4||162||324|
|Hanging Knee Tucks||3.2||130||259|
How the Calculator Works
The calculator to determine the number of calories burned from bicycle crunches uses MET values to give you an accurate picture of how many calories you’ll burn. A high MET value means that the exercise takes a higher amount of physical exertion to perform.
What is A MET Value?
MET stands for metabolic equivalent of task, and MET values allow us to give you an estimated expenditure of energy for many different exercises, like the bicycle crunch.
This value is the ratio between the working metabolic rate and the resting metabolic rate , which is the rate of energy that is used relative to the duration of time spent doing these types of exercises.
In other words, a MET value of 1 is the equivalent of the amount of energy you expend while at rest, and a MET value of 3 means you are expending 3 times as much energy compared to being at rest.
Pretty much all activities and exercises have MET values assigned to them. Some of the activities are common, and some are not so common. For example, we have calculators using MET values for activities like skydiving, skating, and mowing the lawn!
Some activities come with varying levels of intensity and have different MET values assigned to them, but bicycle crunches only have a single MET value of 2.9.
The formula that our bicycle crunches calculator uses to determine the number of calories burned per minute is (body weight in Kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200.
A person weighing 160 pounds will burn approximately 234 calories per hour from doing bicycle crunches. This activity has a MET of 2.9, which means that it burns almost 3 times as many calories compared to being at rest.
This is what the formula for calculating the calories burned while doing bicycle crunches will look like for a 160-pound individual.
- Calories burned (per minute) = (body weight in kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200
- Calories burned (per minute) = ( 72.6 x 2.9 x 3.5 ) ÷ 200
- Calories burned (per minute) = 3.9 calories x 60
- Calories burned (per hour) = 234 calories per hour
How to do Bicycle Crunches
While the bicycle crunch may seem like a straightforward exercise, there are some pointers that you should be aware of before you work this exercise into your gym routine. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do bicycle crunches the right way:
- Lie on your back on the floor or a mat for support. Press the lower back into the floor and bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the ground.
- Place your hands behind your head, interlacing fingers if preferred. Keep your elbows wide and gently hold your head in your hands.
- Bring your knees up with your shins parallel to the floor. As you lift your shoulder blades off the floor, be careful not to strain or pull on your neck.
- As you straighten your left leg out at about a 45-degree angle, turn your upper body to the right, bringing your left elbow towards the right knee. (Make sure the movement comes from your rib cage, not just your elbows.)
- Return to center with both knees bent and elbows wide.
- Repeat on the other side: Straighten right leg to a 45-degree angle and turn your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow toward your left knee.
- Return to the starting position to complete 1 rep.
- Repeat for 15-20 reps.
Which Muscles Do Bicycle Crunches Work?
Bicycle crunches are a dynamic exercise that works several different muscle groups at the same time. This exercise primarily works the rectus abdominis and your external oblique muscles.
Other secondary muscles that bicycle crunches work are your hips and the transverse abdominis, which is your deep core.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Even having step-by-step instructions may not help you avoid some of the common mistakes that beginners make when doing bicycle crunches. Below are the most common mistakes we see people make when doing bicycle crunches.
Doing bicycle crunches too fast
The biggest mistake that beginners and advanced athletes make is doing bicycle crunches too quickly. Make sure that you are doing moderate-speed controlled movements with bicycle crunches and complete each repetition correctly instead of speeding through them.
When doing bicycle crunches, you need to make sure that your torso is doing all the rotation in the movement. The hips shouldn’t be rotating at all and you should drive your legs straight forward and backward while keeping your lower back pressed to the floor.
Bicycle crunches may cause you to strain your neck if you don’t do them with proper form. Make sure that you don’t pull your head forward when doing the motion. If you start to feel that you’re straining your neck, just rotate as far as you can with your torso.
Bicycle crunches provide many different benefits when performed correctly. Below are the biggest benefits that you’ll find by doing bicycle crunches.
Having a strong core helps your body in many different ways. When you strengthen your abs you’ll notice that you can do other exercises for longer since this exercise increases your endurance.
Some other positive side effects of a strong core include better posture, improved balance, reduced back pain and reduced risk of injury.
No equipment needed
Perhaps the best benefit of doing bicycle crunches is that it doesn’t require any specialized equipment. You can do them inside or outside which means that you can do this exercise no matter what the weather is like.
However, to make the exercise easier on the back and neck, you may want to use a mat to lay on while you perform the exercise.
Visible results faster
While you can’t bicycle crunch your belly fat away, doing this exercise regularly will build strength and hypertrophy. This makes it easier for you to see definition in your abdominal region as you start cutting down body fat over time.
Practicing with a total-body approach is the best way to see body fat melt away and see results from your efforts in the gym.
Increasing heart rate
The bicycle crunch is ideal if you are tracking your heart rate and are looking to increase it in the gym. You can perform bicycle crunches at different tempos to monitor your heart rate and increase or decrease it as you see necessary.
Once you get the correct form down, bicycle crunches may start to become too easy if you do them frequently. That’s why it’s always a good idea to explore some variations of the bicycle crunch if you’re looking for a more challenging ab workout.
Elevated bicycle crunch
The elevated bicycle crunch is a more advanced version of the standard exercise but involves having you lie on a bench to do the crunch.
This means that your legs lower further in each rep which increases your range of motion and the core needs to work harder to lift the legs to your twisting torso.
Bosu ball bicycle crunch
This variation of the bicycle crunch increases the difficulty of the exercise because it introduces instability into the mix. Since the bosu ball has one flat side, it makes it a little easier to use for bicycle crunches than a standard gym ball.
To do this variation, you need to lie down so your lower back is resting on the ball while keeping your feet on the floor.
Then do the bicycle crunch like normal and twist your torso as you sit up to bring the elbow to the opposite knee and return your foot to the floor before raising the other knee.
The Bottom Line
Bicycle crunches may be overshadowed by the popularity of the traditional crunch, but you will find some unique benefits from working in the bicycle crunch to your gym routine.
As with any exercise, it’s important to make sure that you have the correct form mastered before you move on to any of the variations we discussed in this article.
If you consistently work bicycle crunches into your gym routine, you can expect to see a more defined core and better posture when doing your daily activities.
- Jetté, M., Sidney, K., & Blümchen, G. (1990). Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity. Clinical cardiology, 13(8), 555–565. https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.4960130809