The Best Ab Exercises for a Bad Neck

Abdominal exercises can cause tightness of the neck muscles.
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Traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches and plank holds, can strain an already sore neck. Some exercises work your core abdominal muscles while allowing your neck to remain straight and rested. Do not continue performing these exercises if you experience neck or back pain during the workout.

Single-Leg Stands

Stand with your feet 2 to 3 inches inches apart. In a slow and controlled motion, bend your left knee and raise it 6 inches off the floor while tightening your abdominal muscles. Hold this position with your abs engaged for 15 seconds before returning your foot to the floor. Do a total of three repetitions for 10 seconds on each leg.

Stability Ball Shoulder Bridge

Lie on your back while placing your calves and ankles on top of a stability ball. Keep your feet about 2 inches apart. Extend your arms to your sides with your palms facing downward to keep your balance during the exercise. Exhale and tighten your abdominal muscles as you lift your hips off the floor until your legs and body are aligned. Hold this position for two seconds and then inhale as you lower your body to the floor using a slowed and controlled motion. Repeat this exercise for three sets of eight repetitions.

Lying Leg-Hip Raise

Lie with your back on the floor and your legs extended. Extend your arms and place your palms flat on the ground to maintain balance during the exercise. Tighten your abdominal muscles during the entire exercise. Inhale as you bend your knees and raise your feet off the floor while simultaneously bending at the hips to bring your knees to your chest. Your abdominals do the work of bringing your knees to your chest, so be sure not to swing your legs toward your chest. The motion is slow and controlled during the entire exercise. Repeat this exercise for three sets of eight.


Depending on the severity of your neck's condition, your doctor may have specific exercise regulations for your condition. Always consult with your doctor before performing a new exercise routine to avoid further injury. Performing exercises incorrectly can also increase your risk of an injury, so it's best to perform exercise with a personal trainer before attempting them on your own. A personal trainer can also give advice to increase or decrease the intensity of the exercise depending on your physical condition.

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