Crunches without neck strain

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Cameron Yee, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    So...any tips? I do my best but I can't seem to avoid it - does it eventually get better? I admit I've never stuck with it long enough to find out :b
     
  2. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    It sounds like your form isn't as strict as it should be. You should never put enough (I.e.-any) pressure on your neck when working your abs to cause a strain.
    If you are, you're not only straining your neck, but you're not getting the most out of the exercise...I.e. you're cheating. [​IMG] Wrapping the hands behind the head at all really isn't recommended anymore. I place my hands kind of behind either ear, just touching with the fingertips, not really grasping at all. Many times you'll see people crossing their arms on their chest during crunches. This should alleviate the neck problem, but it will also help to keep your spine straight during the exercise which is important. Many times people will curve their back forward which can cause other issues.

    One thing to keep in mind is that crunches in particular should be a very strict, compact movement. With your knees up, you should only be raising your back off of the surface a few inches to a slow count...3 or 4 seconds up and 3 or 4 seconds down. It's not as satisfying as the full motion up to the knees and back to the mat, but there is a lot of wasted motion in that method.

    I'd recommend looking around at Core exercise techniques to work on the internal musculature that doesn't get hit by standard crunches or situps. You'll develop a much better overall ab strength than crunches can ever achieve alone.
     
  3. PhillJones

    PhillJones Second Unit

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    I thought that this was exactly what you should do and the very point of a crunch. I'm no expert obviously but I thought the action of the abdominus rectus (six pack) muscle was to bring the rib cage toward the spin be curling the back and that keeping it straight suring a sit up or curl cause the majority of the work to be done by the hip flexors and als cause hyperextension.

    Have I bee doing them wrong all these years.

    PS, i touch my fingertipe to my temples to avoid pulling myself up by the back of the head.
     
  4. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I'm pretty sure I'm not pulling or putting pressure on my neck. The strain is not the same as when I've slept on it wrong (or the classic "crick in my neck" pain). It's more from just making the exertion (same flexing as when one screams) - maybe I just need to concentrate more on my form (or my neck is out of shape too???). Thanks for the tips though - do you have any favorite core exercises? The program I'm doing has several, but I hate it when the side crunches come up.
     
  5. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    You're right, but it should only be a very slight "crunch" at the top of the movement rather than the rolling motion many people do. Another more isometric version is to keep your lower back on the surface and only lift your shoulderblades.

    This site has a number of pics of good core exercises. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cor...M00047&slide=1

    One of my favorite, love/hate moves is usually called a jacknife. From a pushup position, with your feet on a stability ball, slowly pull your knees in towards your chest...rolling the ball forward, and then back out. Resist the tendency to push your butt up in the air which takes the pressure off of your back and abs. Keep your head up and your back straight and level. If you're feeling particularly froggy, add a standard pushup between each repetition.
     
  6. PhillJones

    PhillJones Second Unit

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    Fair enough, I get what you're saying now. I was thinking of the description you gave here. I always think of anything that brings your lower back off the floor as a sit-up but I may well be either out of date or just wrong about that. Now I come to think of it I have seen people doing what you describe and trying to reduce the leverage by kind of hunching their shoulders over as far as possible. This is often accompanied by James Whale-esque reaching for the foot bar.

    I've done jack-knives myself. Since we're in the mood to swap ways of making yourself miserable; my old TKD instructor had an excercise he called the black-belt push-up, on the grounds that you had to be able to do ten of them or he'd take your black belt away, or at least threaten to. You lie face down and strecth out as long as you can make yourslelf. Then bend your ankles to put your toes on the floor and press your palms on the floor, tense the stomach muslces and try and send your butt toward the ceiling. If you don't keep your stomach muscles contracted, it strains your back so beware. Definately not a beginners excercise. I once saw Jackie Chan doing them in a documentary about his stunt company.
     
  7. Jason Kirkpatri

    Jason Kirkpatri Second Unit

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    Do planks instead.
     
  8. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    Another pair I've added recently don't have a name that I'm aware of.

    Start in the push-up/jacknife position...feet on a stability ball. Raise one leg off of the ball at a time about a foot, holding for minimum 5 seconds, and alternate feet keeping your back perfectly straight. 10-12 reps per leg total.

    Then, flip over facing up with your heels on the ball. Raise your hips up and straighten your body "planking" between your shoulder blades and your heels. Now, same as before, raise one leg at a time (I dare anyone to do two legs [​IMG] ) minimum 5 seconds alternating...same number of reps.

    Abs, quads, hams, erector, obliques. This pair of moves hits a large crossection.

    I like the Black Belt pushups...advanced move is right.
     

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