Don't push your head with your hands when you do crunches.
Doing exercises with incorrect form can lead to pain and even to injury, and crunches are no exceptions. Ideally, your abs should pull your upper torso up in a standard crunch, which won't strain your neck. But if you make a common mistake, you can bring your neck muscles into play and cause a strain. If your neck hurts after you do crunches, you have several options to fix the problem.
Pain-Free Standard Crunches1.
Warm up before you perform crunches. Exercising with cold muscles increases the risk that you'll strain some part of your body, including your neck. Ride a stationary bike for five to 10 minutes or do a comparable form of aerobic exercise to warm up.2.
Assume the standard crunch position by lying on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on an exercise mat. Place your fingers behind your head and position your arms so your elbows point away from your sides. Lift your head, shoulders and upper back to perform the crunch, but don't pull your head up with your hands or fingers. Instead, just keep your fingers lightly in contact with the back of your head. Focus on lifting your upper torso with your abs.3.
Position your hands away from your head if you can't avoid pushing your head as you ascend. Cross your arms in front of your chest or let them lie on the floor next to your torso, for example.
Reverse Your Crunches to Support Your Neck1.
Lie face up on the floor to perform reverse crunches. The floor supports your neck throughout reverse crunches, so you shouldn't have to worry about neck strain.2.
Extend your arms on the floor away from your sides and in line with your shoulders. Lift your legs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your knees are bent at right angles, leaving your shins perpendicular to the floor. This is the starting position.3.
Perform the exercise by lifting your hips above the floor and pulling your knees toward your upper chest. Maintain the 90-degree knee bend for the entire exercise. Keep your knees close to your chest for a second or two, and then return to the starting position.
- Exercise mat
- Book a session with a personal trainer who can watch you perform crunches and correct any mistakes.
- See a doctor if any neck pain persists.