There are lots of things that can sideline even the best-intentioned person from completing exercises on the regular basis. Fatigue, lack of motivation, a negative attitude and sheer boredom are all contenders for the top reason some people get sidelined. There’s another reason, however, that’s perfectly legitimate, but very preventable. Neck strain, especially produced during abdominal exercises, can be a real workout killer.
So, how can neck strain be avoided so a good exercise routine won’t get derailed before benefits can be scene?
Fortunately, there are a number of things that can help reduce the likelihood of neck strain while a person does crunches, bicycles and other similar ab-targeting exercises.
Here are some tips to keep strain out of the picture:
- Never workout “cold” – Muscle strain is often caused by diving into exercises without properly warming up the body. Simple stretching exercise and warm up moves are critical for getting the muscles ready for a workout. These moves enhance circulation and prepare the muscles for movement, better positioning them to get through a workout without strain left behind.
- Stick your tongue out – OK, not really, but pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth while doing crunches and other abdominal exercises will align the head properly and help reduce neck strain. Alignment is critical for reducing the chances of strain developing.
- Breathe properly – Learning proper exercise breathing techniques can also reduce the chances of neck strain. The posterior-lateral technique used in pilates, for example, can help get the job done. This involves inhaling to fill the back of the ribcage, bottom up. The end result is an increase in the natural curves of the spine and a reduction is strain.
- Relax – Making sure the throat and the front of the neck are relaxed while inhaling and also assist in reducing strain.
- Cool down right – After working out, be sure to stretch and perform cool-down exercises. This is not only good for helping reduce heart rate back to a normal level, but also for making sure the muscles are treated right.
- Take it easy – While it’s tempting to do 1,000 crunches to “speed up” the development of great abs, the reality is this can backfire. Overdoing it can lead to injury, which will sideline all efforts. Keep workouts realistic and be sure to only target the abs two to three times a week. Too much of a good thing can be bad in this case.
Neck strain doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with abdominal exercises. Take measures to prevent strain and a good workout plan shouldn’t get taken off track by pain.