Are you experiencing any neck discomfort with your crunches?
A faulty movement pattern with crunches and other core work can lead to neck discomfort, headaches and/or postural imbalances. A quick fix of how you position your neck and tongue can make a world of difference to your core form.
In these, quarantined times, the continuation of your commitment to fitness at home has been truly amazing.
Performing abdominal exercises (especially crunches) is preferred on a stability ball, but not all of us have access to this type of equipment when not in the gym. We tend to coach most of our core work from the ground (which is perfectly acceptable) but I wanted to offer a few pointers to ensure you are gaining the most from your effort.
We have neck muscles (cervical flexors) that help stabilize the head during abdominal exercises. Improper form can lead to deactivating crucial stabilization muscles and over work others which can lead to forward head posture, headaches, neck pain and even low back pain.
Here a few form checkpoints:
- Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth during crunches.
- Keep your chin slightly tucked.
- STOP if you feel your neck fatigue before your abs do.
- Pull on your neck during ab exercises.
- Reach with your neck during core exercises.
- Continue reps of exercises when your neck begins to fatigue. Assess form and continue or stop.
- Grit your teeth and hold your breath.
Crunches are not the only exercise where neck position is important. Other core and posture work such as plank or cobra are commonly used incorrectly by looking forward in the working position. Proper positioning would be to look down, create length, and allow natural curvature in the cervical spine
Have fun, stay strong and reach out if you have any questions!