Utilizing a smaller range of motion, bicycle kicks can be used as an alternative to standard leg raises.
- Lying on the back, fully extend the legs. The entire body should be parallel to the ground.
- Place arms above the head or off to the side for added stability.
- Slowly bring the left leg toward the chest, bending at the knee as it comes to the chest. Bring it as close as it will go.
- With the left leg is at the chest, bring the right leg, bending at the knee, toward the chest while at the same time, extending the left leg back to its straight position. (Note: To put more emphasis on the obliques, one may bring the torso up (with the hands behind the head), and twist the torso so one's elbow meets the opposite knee as it comes towards the chest.)
- Do not allow the legs to touch the ground at the bottom (keep them 2-6 inches above the ground). Hold the lowered position for 1-2 seconds before alternating to the other leg.
- Repeat steps 3-6.
This motion is meant to be continuous with one leg extended and the other close to the chest. These movements should be done in smooth and controlled fashions.
Placement of the arms behind the head or off to the side allows for complete focus of the abdominal muscles. This position can also help to prevent unnecessary back strain while providing greater balance.
No matter the method, this exercise can put strain on the lower back region. It is recommended to stretch the lower back before and after this exercise.
This exercise only puts focus on one side of the abdominal muscles at a time. It is a great option for those who find other lower ab exercises too difficult.