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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

How To Do The Bicycle Manoeuvre ABS Exercise?

The Bicycle Manoeuvre is the same exercise as the Pilates Criss Cross. It has been determined by the American Council on Exercise to be the best of the ab exercises, and is an excellent way to develop a flat stomach.


This exercise incorporates both trunk flexion and rotation which strengthens the following muscles:

  1. External abdominal oblique

  2. Internal abdominal oblique

  3. Rectus abdominis

  4. And the transversus abdominis

These muscles allow you to bend and twist your trunk. Strengthening these muscles will

  1. Help you keep your back well aligned

  2. Provide support for your abdomen

  3. Help you rise from a sitting or lying position

  4. In addition, you improve your physical appearance.


It is scientifically determined to be the best abdominal workout. It is the best ab exercise because it involves both the compression of the abdominopelvic cavity and the rotation of the vertebral column.

Best of all, this exercise requires no equipment.


It is a difficult workout to do. However, the health benefits make it worth the effort to perform this workout properly and often.


You can place your hands centred behind your head with your fingers lightly interlaced. However, if you have a tendency to lift your torso with your arms and hands, you should place your hands just behind your ears rather than behind your head. This will encourage you to lift yourself with your abdominal muscles rather than with your arms.

Also, you may have a tendency to cheat by moving your knee closer to your rising torso to decrease the distance that you need to lift yourself. Concentrate on keeping your thigh at a 90 degree angle to the floor as you lift to touch your knee with your elbow.

How to Do The Bicycle Manoeuvre?

a woman doing bicycle manoeuvre abs exercise, Credits: foter

  1. Lie flat on a Pilates or Exercise Mat with your lower back pressed to the mat

  2. Put your hands beside your head and over your ears

  3. Raise your knees to form a 90degree angle with vertical thighs and horizontal shins

  4. Extend your right leg out with your leg about 30 to 45 degrees above the floor

  5. Keep your left thigh vertical and your left shin horizontal

  6. Raise your shoulders off the mat with your abdominal muscles and rotate to touch your left knee with your right elbow

  7. Switch legs and rotate in the opposite direction to touch your right knee with your left elbow

  8. Keep even, relaxed breathing throughout the workout

  9. Continue until your muscles are fatigued

Common Mistakes

Avoid these errors so you get the most out of this exercise while preventing strain or injury.

Hip Rotation

Your torso should be doing all of the rotation. Your hips should not be rotating, you should be driving your legs straight forward and backward. Keep your lower back pressed into the floor during the manoeuvre.

Neck Straining

Don’t pull your head forward, make your torso do the work of rotation. If you find yourself straining with your head and neck to get your elbow to contact your knee, instead just rotate as far as you can with your torso.

Bicycle Crunch Variations

Standing bicycle crunch

This is an easier version of the exercise that mimics the movement of the bicycle crunch, but from a standing position. Bend at the waist and bring your turning arm down to meet the knee of the opposite leg, which you raise so they meet around your midriff.

Elevated bicycle crunch

For a more advanced version, try the elevated bicycle crunch, where you lie down on a bench to perform the exercise. This means your legs lower further in each rep for a greater range of movement, so your core has to work harder to lift them to your twisting torso, and also helps to improve your hip mobility.

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