A strong core is essential for not just most workouts, but also posture, balance, and lower-back health. To strengthen those muscles, we’re big fans of ab workouts whether they’re bodyweight, use fun equipment like sliders, or bring all the heat with dumbbells. But as much as we encourage people to work their ab muscles, they may not be getting the most out of the exercise if they don’t have proper form. NASM-certified personal trainer Guychard Codio, cofounder of New York City Personal Training, told POPSUGAR that, if he could choose just one ab exercise that his clients tend to do wrong, it’s the bicycle crunch.
Bicycles are a move that a lot of people do, he said, but they don’t know how to rotate to fully engage their obliques and deep abs known as the transverse abdominis or TVA. To help clients learn how to properly engage their core, he has them do planks and side planks. “Learning where your muscles are and how they feel and how to engage them is key before you do some ab exercises,” Guychard explained, adding that if you don’t learn how to engage your abs, you’ll be using other muscles to compensate, and this can also lead to lower back pain.
Ultimately, people don’t use their entire torso and core to twist during bicycles; they just go through the motions with their elbows and use their head and neck instead. Ahead, check out Guychard’s tips for how to properly do a bicycle crunch — and get to crunchin’ the right way (if you’re doing it wrong)!