The Bicycle Crunch

The Bicycle Crunch

Weekly Fitness Challenge: Despite the name, no pedals, gears or skin-tight shorts are required for this simple exercise — find a bit of floor space, and it will slide seamlessly into your busy workday or family life. Why, then, is it called a “Bicycle” Crunch? Read on to find out…

How you’ll benefit:

The Bicycle Crunch is all about building your core muscles, which include everything in your torso. Regular crunches will get boring for you and your abs pretty quickly, so instead, give the bicycle crunch a try. Strengthening your core will give you better posture, as well as lessening wear and tear on the spine, allowing you to breathe deeply. Air pedalling may not seem as cool as air guitar, but you can still shred that guitar while crunching – no one’s gonna stop you.

Easy 4-step method:

This one starts out easy: Clear a spot on the floor where you can spread all the way out — a carpet, rug or mat is a good idea.

  • Lie down flat on your back.
  • Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle from your head, and put both your hands behind the bottom of the back of your head. So far so easy, right?
  • This is where the workout starts: Bring one knee towards your chest while straightening the other. At the same time, rotate the top of your body so that your opposite elbow touches the knee of your bent leg. Remember to protect your neck by visualizing that you have an apple between your chin and your chest.
  • Switch it up by alternating each side in a pedalling motion.

Now you know where the name comes from, and after doing 10 of these you’ll also know why it’s such a good core workout. If you’re just starting out, allow your legs and shoulders to rest on the floor for a second or two between crunches. Then…

Amp it up:

The longer you can keep your legs and shoulders from touching the ground, the more you’ll work your core. After mastering the movements with short rests between crunches, try doing two in a row without resting, and then three, and then four, until you can do an entire set of ten without your shoulders and legs touching the floor.

Let’s face it, we’d all like to look like Zac Efron, but most of us just don’t have the time to dedicate ourselves to that intensive form of training. Instead, losing a couple notches on the belt is easy enough to do by adding the bicycle crunch into your routine.

The World’s Easiest Way to Six-Pack Abs

The World’s Easiest Way to Six-Pack Abs

April Fools!

Unfortunately, as much as we all want it, there’s no easy way to six-pack abs. Like anything in life that’s worth your while, a chiseled midsection requires a little time and effort — but you already knew that! The good news is, we’ve got your back with tips that’ll help you live healthier, and happier. If rock hard abs are what you’re after, that too.

Now, you clicked this post for a reason. Make it worth your while by throwing down a plank today, and get one step closer to that body you want. While you’re at it, sign up for our free 6-Week EZ Guide to Get Fit for more gym-free exercises like this that’ll help you towards your goal.

Or, you can always slip into a six-pack (as shown below). After all, a little positive visualization never hurt anyone.

2 Simple Moves to Tighten Up Your Abs

2 Simple Moves to Tighten Up Your Abs

We all know juggling work and family often gets in the way of being more active. The good news is, these easy-to-follow exercises will slide seamlessly into your day.

Whether you want to make everyday activities easier, or naughty night-time activities more frequent, these 2 easy do-anywhere ab-building exercises are just the ticket.

Your Core

It’s called your “core” for a reason. This muscle group includes everything in your torso, and it’s central to good balance, posture and back health. From carrying heavy loads to walking to sex, your core is the foundation of all your body’s movements. The best-known muscles in your core — your abdominals — are also deemed to be among the most attractive in the human body.

Standing Bicycle Crunch

We’re not sure who named this one: There’s no bike involved, and while the movement is a bit like pedalling you’re actually standing. Regardless, these crunches can be performed anywhere you can move around a bit: in the rec room, while watching the game…

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The easy 3-step method:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and place both your hands on the back of your head with your elbows pointing out.
  2. While activating your core (ie. tightening your stomach muscles), twist your upper body to the right and raise your right knee so that it touches your left elbow.
  3. Pull your leg back to the floor and return your elbow to its original position. Repeat the move 10 times, and then reverse it by twisting to the left and lifting your left leg 10 times. That’s one set. Aim for three sets, with a 15-second break in between.

The Plank

This name makes a lot more sense because, well, your body forms a plank. You’ll need a bit more floor space, but it’s still ideal for living rooms.

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The easy 3-step method:

  1. Start on all fours. Line up your shoulders directly over your hands and your hips directly over your knees. Then, extend your legs and drop down onto your forearms.
  2. Align your shoulders with your elbows and bring your body into one straight line. Be careful not to let to let your hips sink by activating your core.
  3. You are now in the plank position and hold for as long as you can. Start with five full breaths and go from there. There are no “reps” with the plank. The longer you hold it, the better the ab workout.

Both of these moves on their own will firm up your core, but cranking them off in succession will deliver a more complete workout and results faster. You’ll feel the burn, but that means it’s working!

Disclaimer: Remember to consult your physician or other qualified health professional for any changes to your physical activity. Only qualified health providers can provide health care by examining your health history, as well as your current physical, mental and emotional condition, and use their expertise and experience to advise you.

Get Lumberjack-Fit with Mountain Climbers

Get Lumberjack-Fit with Mountain Climbers

Get fit and strong fast with one exercise that does it all. Mountain Climbers will get you lumberjack-fit as the movement helps to increase your cardio, strength, flexibility and blood circulation. This exercise is also great to help show off those ab muscles that are hibernating.

Be prepared for Mountain Climbers to get challenging fast as it works your full body –  strengthening your core, shoulders, chest, hips, hamstrings and glutes.

Get climbing and let us know what you think in the comment section below! 

 

Movement:

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1.  Start in a push-up position with your hands placed wider than shoulder width. Keep your arms completely straight and squeeze your glutes (a.k.a. butt muscles). Your body should form a straight line from head to feet. 

 

 

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2.  Keeping your lower-back posture strong, lift your right foot to raise your right knee towards your chest. Return to the starting position and raise your left knee to your chest. Alternate back and forth for 30 seconds or until you feel the burn.

  

Add this to your workout: Complete 3 sets of eight to twelve reps for each leg. To make the exercise more difficult, speed up how fast you “climb” while keeping the correct posture. As you get stronger, you can add variations.

 

Works: Abs, Lower Back, Upper Back, Shoulders, Chest, Hamstrings, Hips, Glutes.

 

 

Exercise of the Week: Bicycle Crunch

Exercise of the Week: Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is a variation of the crunch we looked at in a previous blog post. The bicycle crunch primarily works the top of your abs and is a great exercise for your core.

Regularly working your abs will help build your core strength which improves your balance and posture, which is great to combat back, aches and pains. 

Instructions: 

  1. Lie down with your back pressed onto the floor and put your hands behind the bottom of the back of your head.
  2. Have your legs bent at a 45 degree angle.
  3. Bring one knee as close to your chest as you can while straightening the other. At the same time, rotate the top of your body so that your opposite elbow touches the knee of your bent leg.
  4. Alternate each side in a pedalling motion (this is where we get the name ‘bicycle crunch’ from).

EOW - Bicycle Crunch

Make sure to focus on your form as you work. You should feel tightness in your abs and not your legs or back.

If you feel any pain, especially in your back or hips, stop the exercise immediately.

Start of with 3 sets of as many reps as you can do a couple times a week. Build towards achieving 3 sets of 15 -20 reps on each side, three to four times a week.

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