According to Ferrando, form can make or break a six-pack.
Q: Why do ab exercises always hurt my neck? Is there anyway to help eliminate this problem?
-C. Duval, Rancho Santa Margarita
A: This is a very common complaint. Over the several years as a fitness trainer I have heard this over and over again.
The average head weighs 8 to 12 pounds, if you have weak neck muscles you will feel that strain; and ways to improve this is to perfect your form.
There are a few things you can do to make your neck more comfortable while performing crunches. First off, this may sound strange but try placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth while crunching. It helps relieve some of the pressure on your neck muscles and is a resting position of the tongue, and it will help recruit the muscles near the surface of the neck that best support your head.
Do not interlock your fingers and pull on your head. This is probably the main reason for neck strain during ab exercises. When you begin to fatigue you will most likely begin to pull on your neck and head in order to accomplish more reps. Place your fingertips behind your ears, not on your neck. Your fingers are there to support your head without pulling on your neck creating strain.
Finally, Try to keep your chin off your chest by picking a spot on the ceiling to stare at and keep elbows back. To help, think of having an apple or an orange underneath your chin. Another thing you may want to try is to rest your head on the floor briefly between reps. This will help lessen the stress on your neck by allowing the muscles to relax momentarily. Just don’t allow your head to rest to long or you will compromise your abdominal training.
Remember as you continue to work out, the muscles in your neck will get stronger allowing you to have less discomfort and enabling you to have nice strong abs in no time!
Owner of Shawn Ferrando Studio Fitness, Shawn Ferrando, has over 24 years professional experience in the health and fitness industry. Shawn has numerous National certifications including the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Advanced Specialization Sports Fitness Specialist, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Certified Core Stabilization Training, O.C.C. Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer, Apex Certified Trainer, AA Nutrition Education, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Indoor Cycle Certification. Shawn has extensive experience in rehabilitation training (post injury/pre-post surgery), sport specific training and is CPR/AED Certified through the American Heart Association. Shawn is also a member of the world’s largest associations of Health and Fitness Professionals, Idea Health and Fitness Association and the American College Of Sports Medicine.
To contact Shawn directly, please email her at Shawn@ShawnsStudioFitness.com