When it comes to working the oblique muscles, trainers love turning to the bicycle crunch exercise. The variation of the OG crunch gets you bendy across your core, which leads to that satisfying soreness along your sides once you’re done. But if you’re not doing the bicycle crunch properly, your obliques aren’t going to benefit one bit.
To make sure that you’re not doing all of that crisscrossing for nothing, Nike master trainer Traci Copeland is spilling the most common mistakes she sees in bicycle crunch form (also known as “yogi bicycles,” she says). In this week’s episode of The Right Way, Well+Good’s YouTube series that dives into exercise move fundamentals, Copeland reveals the four major form mistakes that she sees people make in the staple core move, all of which sabotage your ab work.
When she demonstrates the wrong way to do bicycle crunches, it basically looks more like a crunched-up turtle with flailing legs than an actual bicycle. “What I typically see is you lying on your back with your arms lifting your head and jerking your neck, and kicking like your life depends on it,” says Copeland of the form mistakes to avoid. Going too fast like this inhibits getting into your body’s full range of motion, which means that you won’t be strengthening your obliques, you’ll just sort of be flailing about.
Missing the proper form of a bicycle crunch can also lead you to hurt yourself. When you twist from your neck, it can lead to tightness (something that people dealing with tech neck definitely don’t need more of). And crisscrossing too quickly without control can put stress on your back, which is a mistake you can easily avoid if you just pay attention to form.
To make sure that you nail the core exercise—and earn that soreness in your oblique muscles—hit play on the video below, and Copeland will reveal everything you need to know about doing bicycle crunches in proper form.
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