16. The Bicycle
The Bicycle is very similar to scissors, but requires a little more coordination and lengthening through quads/hip flexors. This exercise also opens up the hamstrings, increases spine mobility, and requires core control. Not appropriate for those with osteoporosis, glaucoma, vestibular dysfuntions, some neck/shoulder injuries or lumbar/thoracic spine tightness. The modifications are a great place to start before working up to the real deal thing.
Classical start: lie flat on back with arms at side
Recommended start: lie on back in table top position (hips and knees at 90 degree angle)
1. Exhale straighten knees to ceiling and peel spine off floor one vertebrae at a time (see rollover for more details). Place hands at top of pelvis (fingers can point towards knees/glutes or away from spine, which ever is more comfortable for wrists).
2. Inhale split legs with knees straight toes pointed (as in scissors) bend front knee towards face. Exhale press/"pedal" front foot away from face and straighten knee as you bring the back leg (keep it straight) towards face. Continue "pedaling" forward five times each leg. Exhale when straightening front knee to press foot away from face.
3. Switch directions. Five reps each leg.
4. Bring both legs together and exhale to roll back down to start position.
To decrease neck tension: soften sternum/flex at thoracic spine, bear most of the weight through tops of shoulder blades rather than neck.
To improve lumbar stability: keep pubic bone tipped towards nose (also helps to keep weight off wrists).
To improve overall efficiency of the exercise: get a good handle on scissors before attempting bicycle, try a modification first.
Modifications: use a foam roller, arc, two small four inch balls, franklin roller, wedge, etc. to prop pelvis up off of the ground, rather than hands.
Compare the two pictures. See any difference? Read more on the blog about the changes made. Hint: it's not just the shiny pants.