More Abs Less Neck Strain

Sep 9, 2016

6 Ab Exercises to Avoid Neck Strain

The core (abdominal area) is something that should never get neglected. But unsurprisingly, not everyone likes doing crunches or sit-ups. This can be because it causes neck or back problems or just because it can get a little boring. A strong core will help with posture and also prevent back injuries. Let's be honest though, mostly we all just like to look good in a bathing suit and be able to fit into our clothes. I’ve compiled several ab workouts you can do that work every muscle group of your midsection. Even better, most of these exercises should alleviate any strain on your neck and back while still providing the benefits of a flatter, harder, and stronger abdominal region.


1. Flutter Kicks

This a classic move I’ve spent hours doing in the military (especially when we were punished).

  • Lie on your back with your head and neck back on the floor/mat relaxed (don’t try to hold your head up)
  • Hold your legs about 6 inches from the ground
  • You can tuck your hands underneath you gluteus maximus to prevent lower back strain or straight out to the side
  • Perform scissor kicks up and down while keeping your core tight
  • Repeat 20 times

2. Straight Leg Raises

This exercise is wonderful for working the lower abdominal area.

  • Lie on your back with your head and neck back on the floor/mat relaxed (don’t try to hold your head up)
  • Keep your feet and knees together, and start by holding your legs about 6 inches from the ground
  • Slowly but controlled, simultaneously raise your legs straight up towards the ceiling
  • Lower back down slowly to the starting position, and repeat
  • Repeat 20 times

3. Alternating Elbow To Knee

Your legs will be in the tabletop position (legs are held up, and knees bent at 90 degrees so your shins are facing the ceiling).

  • Cross your arms across your chest making an X. The right hand will rest on the left shoulder, and vice versa for the other side
  • Crunch up to bring your right elbow towards your left knee and return your shoulder blades back to the floor
  • Alternate to the other side to bring your left elbow up towards your right knee and return back to the starting position
  • Repeat 10 times on each side

4. Side Raises

Start by lying on your side with your body weight distributed on your forearm and your feet on top of each other. Make sure your body is straight.

  • You will press your hip up off of the floor by pressing off of the ground with your forearm
  • Raise your hips up so your body is in a straight line, with your head and neck aligned with the rest of your body
  • Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor, and then rise back up for another repetition
  • Repeat 10 times on each side

5. Modified V-Ups

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet lie flat on the floor.

  • Keep your head and neck back on the floor/mat and slowly roll your legs up towards your ears
  • Roll your hips up towards you while keeping your core tight
  • Lower your legs back down to the mat, rolling your spine back down slowly, and keeping your core engaged
  • Repeat 20 times

You'll love these simple ab exercises, and your neck will thank you too!

– Nathan Mikeska, BS, CPT, CHC

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