Why does my neck hurt when I do crunches?

Sadie Lincoln
Sadie Lincoln on behalf of barre3
For years I associated crunches with neck pain! My neck was straining because my core was not in a position to support the alignment of my cervical spine. Likely, this is what is happening for you as well. Fortunately there are many alternatives to traditional crunches and sit-ups which require strong core muscles and a fluid spine to support the neck without getting injured. Focus on a variety of exercises including lying flat on your back and lifting your lower back off the floor for reverse curls. You can also sit up right and tuck a soft ball or rolled up towel under your low back and press back using your core in a more upright position.

Your neck should not hurt during crunches. Many individuals will demonstrate movement compensation during traditional crunch exercise. When performing the crunch be sure to keep your neck straight and do not allow your head to jut forward. A good tip is to keep your eyes and forehead toward the ceiling. If your eyes are facing your feet, your head is probably coming forward to far. This should prevent neck pain, if it does not you should see a physician for further evaluation. 


Continue Learning about Avoiding Pain & Injury During Exercise

A 20-Minute Warm Up Could Be the Difference Between Injury and Performance
A 20-Minute Warm Up Could Be the Difference Between Injury and Performance
A good warm up pre-workout is something most people skip, but science says you should make time for it. If rolling your ankle or tweaking your shoulde...
Read More
How can I protect my back when working out?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
There are many simple things that can be done to prevent back injuries when working out. Make sure y...
More Answers
What should I avoid when doing the iliotibial-band stretch exercise?
Rick OldermanRick Olderman
A common error in performing an iliotibial band (ITB) exercise, which helps stretch the ITB and poss...
More Answers
How Can I Prevent Injuries While Exercising
How Can I Prevent Injuries While Exercising

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.