Neck feels strained when I do the sit ups and crunches

by Derek
(Edison nj us)

I am a 17 year old boy who has been exercising my abs before I go to bed every night. I do a few different exercises on my back as well as sit-ups and crunches sometimes after.

I have been doing this a long time now and after doing these for a while, towards the end of the exercise, my lower back starts to feel strained. Sometimes also my neck feels strained when I do sit ups and crunches.

I tried looking up info on this but can't get a clear answer. Will I now have back problems later in life? Also sometimes when I wake up, my hands feel numb for a minute and also when I lean on my arm. Maybe I am overdoing the exercises too much but it seems to be a way of effectively get toned muscles. I do not want to have damage when I get older though. What can I do to help?

Hello Derek,
Thank you for your interesting, and highly relevant questions. Others will appreciate reading it.

Firstly, I'm not a crunch, sit-up fan for exactly the reasons you mention. There are better, safer ways to strengthen your core muscles.

In the nav bar on the left of every Chiropractic Help page you'll find some lower back exercises that might be better for you.

In particular, if you're looking for some really quite strenuous core exercises, then scroll down at our developmental hip dysplasia page and you'll find some physically and mentally challenging exercises for your abs. I've divided them into three, because it's tricky getting them right. It will take a lot more thought and practice, but also more benefits and no neck and back pain than after your sit ups and crunches.

Never raise both legs simultaneously, by the way. Never.

But if you want to go on with your crunches, try doing them with your hands, palm down, under your buttocks. It helps to stabilise the

There's no perfect set of exercises, one size fits all; so listen to your bod, it's trying to tell you something.

The tingling in hands and arms when you wake up is probably the beginning of
carpal tunnel syndrome caused by an irritation of the nerves in your neck and wrist. Which fingers? CTS always misses the pinkie. You don't sleep on your tum? That's a no-no too.

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