Time and time again I find myself observing people training abs and often find myself wondering if in actual fact they are training their neck! Erratic crunches mixed with random jerky neck movements are an all too common site. Often each set finishes with a hold, sadly not an isometric hold- instead it’s the ouch my neck and head hurt hold!
Jokes aside people do regularly find that when training abs their neck either aches or gives them some discomfort. The answer is simple- TECHNIQUE. Like everything we do in the gym, technique is everything, by doing it correctly you minimise the chance of injury and maximises the exercise’s effectiveness.
When doing crunches there is no avoiding tension being placed on your neck- after all it has to support your head as you crunch up and down. However your neck shouldn’t drive your crunch, you neck should remain static and shouldn’t be bending with each rep. Often people place their hands behind their head and pull on their head rep after rep, put simply- don’t do it! Place your fingertips behind your ears and not on your neck, keep your chin off your chest and as an aid pick a spot on the ceiling to stare at to ensure consistency.
Undoubtedly your neck will be placed under some tension, but by ensuring you have perfected your technique you are reducing this tension to a minimum. Remember that as you continue to work out these muscles in your neck will develop which will in turn increase your bodies tolerance to the inherent discomfort.
Try it out next time you train your abs, leave us a comment and let us know how you got on. Happy crunching!
For full Abdominal workouts check out our infamous LDNM ABnoxious Ab Pack here.