So you’re ready to start your fitness journey towards rock-hard abs and the perfect summer body, but you’re wondering what’s the best way to make yourself look and feel great? Maybe you’re thinking about pulling your old bike out of the garage and taking it for a spin, but you’re not sure whether riding a bike can even help tone your abs? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Riding a bike naturally helps with your abs development because you need to engage your core and abdominal muscles whilst riding a bike to stay balanced. But there are other things you can do whilst riding to help you develop even stronger abs, such as contracting your abs, sitting up straight, standing up, completing bike crunches, or riding one handed. These subtle differences in the way you ride your bike will help you develop even stronger abs!
In this article, we’ll take you through these factors and more, to help you develop your abs in the way you want to by riding a bike. Hopefully, this information will equip you with everything you need to hit the road and get your abs looking the way you want them to in no time at all!
Ready to start your fitness journey today? Then let’s go!
Trying These Techniques Out Whilst Riding A Bike Will Help You Develop Even Stronger Abs
We already know that riding a bike is great for your abs because they help you stay balanced whilst riding. The problem is, this alone probably isn’t going to be enough to help you tone your abs. But let’s talk about what you can do whilst you cycle to make riding a bike even more beneficial to your abs.
Contract Your Abs
One way that you can help engage your abs whilst cycling is purposeful contraction. If you’re new to fitness and you’re not sure how to contract your abs, then force yourself to cough right now. Those muscles you feel tightening as you cough? They’re your abs. Now all you need to do is contract them by holding them in.
If you do this whilst riding you force your abs to work even harder to help you maintain your balance. You don’t need to keep them contracted for the entire ride, but concentrate on holding them for one minute and then relaxing. Do this as often as you can without causing yourself too much discomfort, and you’ll notice stronger abs from riding your bike!
Sit Up Straight
It can be hard whilst you’re riding a bike, because you may feel tempted to lean forward with your head down to cycle through the pain in your legs, but try to avoid this if you can. Leaning forwards makes it much harder for our abs to be engaged, and we’re much more likely to relax them in this position.
Try it for yourself now. Lean forwards in your chair and you’ll feel how much more relaxed your abs are compared to when you sit up straight. We kn0w that cycling is good for your abs anyway, but if you force yourself to sit up straight whilst you’re riding your bike, you’ll notice how much of a workout your abs really get.
Standing up on a bike requires even more balance than when you’re sat down. You don’t have to stand up for the whole time you’re out there cycling, but if you do bursts of 5 minute intense cycling whilst standing up, you’ll notice a difference in how much work your abs have to do just to keep you balanced.
These periods of intense activity followed by a more relaxed ride (whilst staying sat up straight and contracting your abs occasionally, of course) is often better for your abs than simply riding the entire route whilst standing. That’s because muscles can sometimes become fatigued, meaning they won’t develop any more than they already have because they’re trying to protect themselves from damage. Changing the intensity of your workouts from standing up whilst cycling to sitting down again can help develop even stronger abs than simply riding standing up the whole time.
Complete Bike Crunches
It sounds mad, but you can complete crunches on your bike whilst you ride. A typical bicycle crunch requires you to be lay down on the floor whilst bringing one knee up and twisting your body slightly so your opposite elbow goes towards the knee. You then alternate. The best thing about riding a bike is that you’re almost halfway there anyway.
Your legs are already moving in the same way you need it to be doing to perform a bicycle crunch. That just means all you need to do now are the elbows. As you’re cycling along naturally, use your opposite elbow to the knee that is currently higher up, and point your elbow inwardly towards it. This slight twist engages your abs more because of the way you are turning your spine. Do short periods of bike crunches as your cycling along to get your abs working even harder.
Ride One Handed
This comes back to what we said earlier about your abs naturally being used whilst riding to keep you balanced. Well, how can we use that information to make your abs work harder? That’s simple! Deliberately make yourself more unbalanced by riding one handed. The more unbalanced you are, the harder your abs need to work to help you stay on your bike.
Try riding one handed for a short while. Only a minute or two, but make sure you’re doing it in a space that is quiet. The last thing you want to do is cause yourself or someone else an injury. After you’ve ridden one handed for a short while, switch hands and ride one handed with that hand for a minute or two. It’s important that you do both hands to keep both sides of your abs working hard, not just one side.
What Other Benefits Does Riding A Bike Have?
If you’re going to be riding your bike anyway, then it might interest you to know what other benefits you’ll be getting from riding a bike besides stronger abs. And we’re pleased to tell you that there are loads of benefits! Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise for your physical and mental health, so read on to find out why.
Upper/ Lower Leg Muscles
Your quads and hamstrings are working overtime whilst you ride, so if you want nice toned upper legs, then cycling is brilliant. Cycling also engages your glutes too. Few people notice that their calves in their lower legs are working incredibly hard at the same time because they’re so focussed on their upper leg muscles, but you really get a lot out of cycling for almost every muscle in your legs – both upper and lower.
We’ve spoken about your core alongside abs a few times throughout this post, but your core gets an excellent workout on a bike too. This includes your abs, of course, but also your back muscles. Just be mindful of your posture as you ride because it’s whilst you’re sitting up straight that your core gets the most work done.
It goes without saying that cycling is great for your overall fitness levels too. It helps improve your stamina, aids in weight loss, engages all the muscles we’ve discussed so far, and gets you outdoors and moving instead of being stuck indoors. Cycling is wonderful at improving your overall fitness, not just your abs.
Last, but by no means least, riding a bike really aids with your mental health. Getting outdoors in the fresh air and doing some exercise is wonderful for your mental health because of the rush of endorphins you get afterwards. The feeling of accomplishment you get from exercise, knowing that you’re doing great things for your body, is second to none.
Are There Better Ways To Tone Your Abs?
There aren’t ‘better ways‘ per se, but there are things you can do to help tone your abs more efficiently. One way of doing this is with varied exercises. Cycling can certainly be a part of it, but you should do other exercises that specifically target your abs to help develop them faster. This can be anything from planks, to crunches, to jumping jacks – they all help with developing your ab muscles. The best thing to do is keep your exercises varied though, so your abs don’t become to used to one particular exercise.
Another great thing you can do to tone your abs is to lose weight. It doesn’t help develop your abs directly, but losing weight allows your muscles to appear more defined. Concentrate on cardio exercises and a healthy balanced diet to lose weight, and you’ll soon be able to see your abs much clearer. Team this with the ab workouts we mentioned above, and you’ll be able to see the rewards for the efforts you’ve been putting in.
Just because there are exercises that specifically target your abs, doesn’t mean you should stop cycling for ab development. Ride your bike with all the tips we’ve mentioned throughout this post, and you’ll still see an improvement. Just make sure you’re doing more than just cycling if you want to see bigger differences in your abs sooner.
Riding a bike helps with developing your abs by making them stronger and more toned. But you have to be purposeful in your cycling to get the best results. Remember to contract your abs, sit up straight, stand up occasionally, complete bike crunches, and ride one handed where you can, and you’ll notice much better abs than if you simply rode along without engaging your abs purposefully.
Remember that cycling doesn’t just help with your abs though, so jumping on a bike is going to be beneficial to you for a whole host of other reasons too! Get yourself out there and we guarantee you’ll be looking and feeling better in no time at all! Best of luck!