You might ask – does biking work abs? While working your abs is important, it can be hard to muster up the will to get down on your mat (or floor) and pump out some crunches. Trust me, I struggle with it just as much as the next person. Which is why it’s been so important for me to find alternate ways to work my abs that are just as challenging as the more common abs exercises. You’ll be surprised at all the forms of exercise you can do that will target your core — including cardio workouts like biking.
Biking is a popular form of exercise for those who are looking to work the glutes and legs. However, biking is also a great way to work the abdominal muscles. There are actually a few different ways that biking can work the abs. A major way that you activate your abs while biking is you are using them to keep you stable as you pedal. However, there are ways to kick that intensity level up and work the core harder while you bike.
Four Ways To Work Abs During A Ride
If you’re questioning, does biking work abs? The quick answer is yes, biking works the abdominal muscles. There are some factors you can change while biking that will increase the intensity and help target the abs more than just leisurely riding around. Here are four ways to work your abs during a ride:
Get Out of the Saddle
Get out of the saddle – literally. Research shows that in order to work those abs, it’s time to get out of the seat. The Département de Mécanique Appliquée at the Université de Franche-Comté found that “lateral sways” of the bike leads to greater activation in everything including the biceps, triceps, glutes and the rectus abdominis muscles which give you your six-pack. The researchers found that the muscles of the stomach must work harder to stabilize the pelvis once you remove the saddle support. So, if you’re wanting to engage the abs, then get out of the seat on your next ride!
Another great way to work your abs while biking is by doing bike crunches. While you are riding, move one elbow close to your side while continuing to hold the handlebar. After a minute, switch and move your other elbow close to its side. This has the effect of tightening each side of your abs. Doing bike crunches while riding will engage the entire core, especially the obliques.
Ab contractions are another variation of crunches that you can do while biking. Simply take a deep breath, start pedaling, and focus on contracting your abdominal muscles. Do this for around 10 to 15 seconds, then go back to just pedaling. Continue to contract your abs throughout the ride in order to work the muscles to their full potential.
Once you do lift offs, you’ll no longer ask – how does biking work abs? Lift offs are an outstanding move that are sure to ignite your abdominal muscles. In order to do them, lift out of the saddle while you are peddling. Lower back down and lightly touch the saddle, while simultaneously contracting the abs. Continue to do this while keeping the focus on your core. You will definitely feel doing five minutes of lift offs the next day!
Consider Where You Bike
Your terrain can also play a role in how much you’ll be using the core while riding. If your terrain is mostly flat, then you probably won’t be engaging the abs. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, when you are cycling on a road bike, your body and bike are usually working in complete harmony. This is good news if you’re looking for a relaxing ride. But if you’re looking to burn fat and define your core muscles, flat terrain isn’t what you need. To really engage the abs, you’ll need to find some hills that have a good incline.
Mountain biking is another prime way to work the abs. According to researchers, “this very high exercise intensity is related to the fact off-road cyclists expend most of their effort going against gravity cycling uphill.” Mountain biking is another form of a HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercise. Not to mention, most of the time when you are mountain biking you are going uphill – so the core is constantly engaged. So the answer to the question “does biking work abs?” is yes, mountain biking absolutely can give your abs a workout.
HIIT training is one of the most popular exercise forms for those who are looking to reduce their body fat levels and build the core muscles. The Strength and Conditioning Journal states: “HIIT has been shown to be superior when compared with steady-state training for those attempting to lose weight. While moderate-intensity steady-state aerobic exercise (the so-called ‘fat-burning zone’) results in an increased percentage of fat burned during a workout, total caloric expenditure and lipolysis (i.e., fat breakdown) are substantially greater in an HIIT protocol.”
Maintaining proper hydration is important when performing any type of exercise. When you are biking, be sure to drink plenty of water and take plenty with you. Besides staying hydrated, watching what you eat places a key role in developing abdominal strength. Try to avoid drinks and food that are high in sugar.
Biking is a great cardiovascular exercise that promotes weight loss while strengthening the legs and glutes. But a question that gets asked is does biking work abs? While biking does primarily strengthen the lower body, you can also work your abs if you know how. In this article, we touched on four easy ways you can work your abs while biking. They are to 1) get up and out of the saddle (stop sitting), 2) bike crunches, 3) ab contractions and 4) lift offs.
In addition to those four exercises, it’s also important to keep in mind where you are biking. If it is a nice flat route, you aren’t going to be working on that six pack. You need to find some long inclines that will make you work. Mountain biking is good for the abs as it is uphill a good bit of the time. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water and drop the sugary beverages. Now you know the answer to the question does biking work abs!