The supine bicycle is a classic ab exercise. It has been around forever primarily because it is so effective. With a few simple movements, you can work your entire core, from abs to obliques.

How to do the supine bicycle

Supine Bicycle: ab exercise

The elbow and knee meeting during the Supine Bicycle.

  1. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and both feet off the ground.
  2. Keep one leg extended and bring your other knee up and in towards your chest.
  3. Curl your opposite shoulder off the ground, and bring that elbow across your body until it touches the raised knee.
  4. Now repeat with your other knee and elbow in slow, deliberate movements.

The supine bicycle in action

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 Muscles used in the supine bicycle

The supine bicycle is a great ab exercise because it uses so many core muscles at once.  Your lower abdominal muscles help keep your legs up and moving. Your upper abdominal muscles engage when you curl your upper body off the ground. Finally, your obliques help with the twisting motion as you reach your elbow over to touch your knee.

Substitutions for the supine bicycle

There aren’t too many ways to scale down the difficulty of this exercise. One method is to rest your extended leg on the ground rather that keeping it raised. The bottom line is that if this exercise is giving you trouble, you need to build up a base of core and abdominal strength. Check out our list of ab exercises and work more of then into your workout routine.

Looking to increase the challenge?

Besides strapping on ankle weights, the best way to these make bicycles harder is to slow your speed way down. Each time your elbow and knee meet, hold that pose for a long moment. The isometric tension will smoke quickly your abs.