February 5, 2012
So many of you have written to me asking me about neck issues when you work your abs. This could be happening for the following reasons:
1/ Your lower back is tight and when you are in your supine (that means face up) ab work, no matter the exercise, your lower back tightness inhibits the flexion of your spine which creates tension in your neck.
2/ Your abs are weak and when you get tired (which could be from the very first rep!) you feel your neck because you are recruiting the neck muscles to do the work.
3/ You have a combination of a tight back and weak abs.
Focus on the C-Curve Abdominal Exercise which is actually an orthopedic back stretch as shown in the below video. When you stretch out your back by strengthening your front, you will become both stronger and better in all supine ab work.
Always remember to listen to your body. As you lower down with correct posture, lift your abdominal muscles from the pelvic floor. Imagine your abs going up and elevator. Or zip up a tight pair of jeans. Lower down with control and purpose. As soon as you start to feel like you are going to “lose” it or roll back, stop, press feet to floor (don’t let your toes dance around) and zip more. Then you will be in the correct position for your level. As you work at the level that is doable yet challenging, you will progress. And little by little, you will inch your way down into more advanced abdominal work all the while being able to have a relaxed neck and aligned cervical spine. (Cervical spine is the part of the spine in the neck that is often misaligned with improper form).
But also note. Don’t overdo your abdominal training. Always think about how to work your core in all directions.