Q: Why are my crunches hurting my neck so much? Am I doing them wrong?
A: Yes and no. Doing abdominal exercises can strain the neck simply because the average head weighs 8 to 12 pounds. When your neck muscles are weak, you will really feel that strain. A way to improve this is to perfect your form.
First off, don’t pull on your head. Place your fingertips behind your ears, not on your neck. You want to support the weight of your head without pulling on your neck and creating strain. Try picking a spot on the ceiling to stare at in order to keep your chin off your chest.
Last, place your tongue against the roof of your mouth while crunching — weird, I know, but it helps relieve some of the pressure on your neck muscles.
Also, remember that as you continue to work out, the muscles in your neck will get stronger and you will be better able to tolerate the discomfort.