Why Do Ab Exercises Hurt My Neck?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:12

Q: Why are crunches hurting my neck so much? Am I doing them wrong?

A: Yes and no. Abdominal exercises can strain the neck simply because the average head weighs 8 to 12 pounds. When your neck muscles are weak, you'll really feel that strain. A way to improve matters is to perfect your form.

First of all, make sure you're not pulling on your head when you do your crunches. Place your fingertips behind your ears, not on your neck. You want to support the weight of your head without pulling on your neck and creating strain.

Next, try picking a spot on the ceiling to stare at throughout the movement — that will help you keep your chin off your chest.

Finally, place your tongue against the roof of your mouth while crunching — sounds weird, I know, but it helps relieve some of the strain on your neck muscles. Also, remember that as you continue to work out, the muscles in your neck will get stronger and you'll be better able to tolerate the discomfort.