Is Cycling Good for Abs?

Will Cycling Give You Abs? Cycling won't give you rock-hard abs but that doesn't mean that your core won't benefit...

Will Cycling Give You Abs?

Cycling won't give you rock-hard abs but that doesn't mean that your core won't benefit from it.

And building a stronger core will make you a better cyclist, too.

In cycling, you use your abs for stabilisation; your core keeps you steady and stable in the saddle. This is intensified when you're tackling steep inclines or uneven and difficult terrain, so if you're new to riding, you may notice soreness in your obliques that lasts a day or so. If you're an outdoor cyclist, you'll find that rougher terrains will not only make for a tougher ride but a deeper core workout, too.

Cycling doesn't provide enough movement to work the abdominals out efficiently when you're riding but as Bike Radar points out, 'as the intensity of a ride increases so does the activity of the abs'. The website goes on to say that 'poor abdominals could cause excessive movement of the hips, knees and ankles while cycling'.

There has also been scientific research suggesting that cycling can help build core strength. GQ writes that scientists in the Département de Mécanique Appliquée at the Université de Franche-Comté found that riding hard uphill created 'lateral sways' leading to a more pronounced effect on the abs.

GQ adds that the reasons behind this are two-fold: it's harder to cycle uphill, so the workout is made more difficult but also that the pelvis has to work harder when there isn't a seat. Remove the saddle, and you will have a more efficient core workout.

Form and posture are, of course, going to be key. Getting your bike professionally fitted to ensure that you are cycling efficiently will ensure you have a comfortable ride and reduce the risk of pain or injury.

You may need to make adjustments to the pedals, saddle or handlebar but a cycling specialist will be able to help you.

Is Cycling Good for Weight Loss on the Stomach?

If you've got abs, then you'll want to see them and that means reducing the amount of belly fat they're hiding behind. Cycling doesn't burn belly fat any faster than it burns fat anywhere else on the body, but riding a bike either indoors or outdoors is a highly effective way of exercising and losing weight.

The amount of calories you'll torch depends on several factors including gender, weight, and height. It also depends on the terrain you're riding over or, if you're on a static or indoor bike, the amount of resistance you're adding to your workout.

It's easier to work out calorie burn when you're using an indoor bike as the conditions you're riding in are more consistent and you can pre-set the resistance. Ride hard and the average class can burn up to 600 calories in an hour.

Of course, that can be tough when you're exercising at home. It's why the RE:GEN is Zwift-compatible so that users can ride and race against friends and stranges in online environments. You can simulate hill climbs, too, by standing on the pedals to support your cycling abs.

Is Cycling Good for Abs?

Cycling indoors is good for your abs, too.

You may not always get the same experience as if you were outside, alternating terrain or taking on hill climbs but you can use the bike's resistance settings to create a harder workout and burn more calories. After all, you're still using your core for stabilisation even though the saddle and bike are both static.

If you're worried about posture, then attending a class or asking for help at the gym can be useful. You'll find plenty of tutorials on YouTube but you may find it difficult to 'feel out' what your body's position is like without a full-length mirror or without someone there to advise you on how you're sitting.

Posture is important on bikes, too. You should alter the height of the saddle and handlebars to ensure you're in a comfortable but optimal position. Furthermore by Equinox advise 'aligning your handlebars level with your saddle or slightly higher is ideal'. They also suggest relaxing your belly, writing that you should notice your core muscles contracting and relaxing rapidly during a sprint.

Indoor cycling has the advantage that it's a year-round way of exercising but it's important to get into a rhythm and to ensure you're pushing yourself by making use of the digital resistance or by turning on your competitive edge and jumping onto live stream classes. You can also sign-up to incentive-based apps like Sweatcoin to get rewarded for your efforts.

Cycling isn't a core workout per se but that doesn't mean it's not good for the abdominals. It can be a great way to burn fat (when combined with a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime), improve your cardiovascular health and increase your all-round fitness. It's a great social activity, too, whether you're joining a cycling club, hitting the trails or cycle lanes with friends, signing up to classes or downloading an app and competing against a global leaderboard.

 Is Biking Good for Hips? 

Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise, which means it doesn't put as much pressure on the hips and knees as other types of physical activity like running. It's why cycling is often popular with people suffering from chronic health conditions or those recovering from injury. You'll also usually see upright and recumbent indoor bikes in rehabilitation settings. 

It also helps strengthen muscles around the hip. 

But the benefits of cycling for hips isn't just that its inherently low-impact. According to the John Hopkins Arthritis Centre, cycling opens up the hips, increases their range of motion and speeds up blood flow. It has also been shown to slow progression of osteoarthritus. The Hospital for Special Surgery writes that one study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found 'cycling significantly reduced joint pain and stiffness and improved muscle strength in middle-aged and older adults with osteoarthritis'.

What's more, the Cycling Against Hip Pain programme in the UK has seem some surpising results. Launched in 2013, it uses cycling as a way to manage hip pain in a non-surgical way. Over 70% of participates reported less pain and were able to take part in more activities. This meant they were able avoid surgery. 

So biking can be very good for hips but it can also cause hip pain too. This is often due to tight hip flexors or stiffness in the hip rotator, which is relatively common given that so many of us now spend so much of our day sitting at our desks. Regular stretching can help relieve this. 

According to the Blackberry Clinic, there are also several other hip-related issues that cycling can cause including bursitis, snapping hip syndrome, impingement syndrome, and pifirormis syndrome, but these are more likely to affect serious cyclists riding at higher intensities or over longer distances than anyone riding for gentle or moderate exercise.  

Energym has designed and developed an electricity-generating indoor bike called the RE:GEN.

Find out more about

buying the RE:GEN for your home,

commercial gyms or offices. 



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.


Solutions for every setting