Crunches may be effective for toning your abs, but the exercise can also create some uncomfortable neck strain. Here are two neck-friendly ab moves where you use your arms to support your entire torso, not just your head. When done correctly, the exercises target the deepest part of the abdominal wall, which keeps the core taut. Try them at home; here's how.
- Start by sitting up with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Pull your abs toward your spine as you roll backward until your elbows make contact with the ground.
- From this position, tuck your hips so your lower back connects with the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades together lifting your head nice and tall. You are now ready to begin.
Exercise One: Single-Leg Flexes
- Extend one leg toward the sky and flex that foot.
- Begin to bend and straighten your leg in the air; exhale sharply and contract your abs as you push through your flexed heel to straighten your knee. Complete 10-15 reps.
- Do press your shoulders down, away from your ears to keep your neck relaxed.
- For added bonus: Extend and straighten your bottom leg so it is parallel to the floor and hovering off the ground a couple of inches.
Learn the second move when you read more.
Exercise Two: 45-Degree Extension
- Lift both legs into the air, just shy of 90 degrees, and flex both of your heels.
- Keep your low back connected to the floor, lower your straight legs down to a 45-degree angle.
- Keeping your heels connected, bend your knees open to the sides creating a diamond shape; then straighten the knees on an exhale, pulling abs into spine. Emphasize the knees straightening rather than bending and focus on the power in your abs to keep your torso stable. Complete 10 reps.
- For added bonus: Keep your legs extended, re-tuck your hips, and hold this position for 10 additional seconds.