An air bike, which is sometimes called a bicycle crunch, is an abdominal exercise that is good for building up strength in the core muscles and is effective for weight loss. To perform this exercise, an athlete lies on his or her back and lifts both legs into air while bending them at the knee. The athlete then alternates bringing together each elbow with the opposite knee. The motion of the legs during this exercise is similar to the pedaling motion of someone on a bicycle, hence the name of the exercise.
In order to perform an air bike, the athlete begins by lying on his or her back, usually on some type of mat. The athlete raises the legs into the air and bends the knees. The thighs should be perpendicular to the floor while the calves will be roughly parallel, although they might be at an angle slightly higher than that. The athlete should place his or her hands behind the head but must be careful not to put a strain on the neck during the exercise.
To begin the air bike exercise, the athlete contracts the core abdominal muscles so that one knee moves towards the chest. The other knee will move slightly away from the chest. At the same time, the athlete raises the opposite elbow off the floor and brings it toward the knee. Once the elbow and knee touch, he or she lowers the knee away from the chest while bringing the other knee toward it. Meanwhile, the athlete also lowers the elbow while bringing the other toward the knee that is now moving toward the chest.
The athlete should then repeat this motion for the desired number of repetitions while trying to synchronize his or her breathing. The athlete should always inhale while bringing one leg to the chest and exhale when bringing the other. Throughout the air bike exercise, the athlete should be contracting the abdominal muscles and focusing on maintaining proper form. Though the upper spine will curve forward, it is important to keep the lower back flat against the floor, and the body should not rock at all.
The air bike exercise provides a very effective workout for the core muscles. It involves so many parts of the body that it also provides more of a cardiovascular workout than most ab exercises. There is no effective way for an athlete to use weights to increase the resistance of this exercise, so he or she can either add repetitions or perform the exercise more slowly to increase the intensity.