The crunch is one of the most popular abdominal exercises and can be done anywhere, with no equipment, by people of all fitness levels! The basic crunch is the consummate abdominal exercise in a strength-training program. It is important to pay special attention to the form making crunches a part of a core strength or a total body workout. Many usually complain about having neck pain while doing crunches, at times even after. If you too are dealing with it, read ahead to know the reason behind it and how to get rid of it.
Neck pain during crunches simply indicates that your form is not correct. A crunch needs to be done by engaging the abdominal muscle, and not the upper body. While doing crunches, one has to lift the upper half of the body that includes the neck and shoulders. Doing crunches correctly is harder than it looks. Some people lift more than the upper half of their body. Your spine, starting right from your lower back to the head should be in line. Your spine is in the strongest position to support you. If your head lags, you might put extra pressure to bring it up and may experience neck pain.
You never want to completely relax the shoulders onto the floor. Also, jerking the shoulders up adds momentum and reduces the effectiveness of the exercise. Here are things you can do while performing crunches to avoid neck pain:
-Always keep your eyes to the horizon. Tuck your chin down as if you are holding a ball under it.
-Keep your elbows open and do not pull your head with the help of your hands. When you widen the elbows, your abs will have to work even harder, and you won’t feel the strain in your neck that you typically did after a core workout. (Sore abs are a good kind of pain, so enjoy!)
Please note: If not done with proper form, crunches can compress the spine and stress the neck. If you are trying it for the first time, you can keep one hand cradling the head. If you are putting your hands behind your head, your fingers should gently cradle your head. The idea is to support your neck without taking away from the work of your abs. Exhale as you come up and keep your neck straight. Chin up. In the beginning, repeat for 15 to 20 repetitions with perfect form for each repetition.