Archive for the tag - sore muscles

Prevent Sore Neck / Neck Strain During Ab Workout.

To prevent neck pain and soreness, avoid placing hands behind your head.

It’s fairly common to hear exercisers complain about neck soreness or strain from abdominal workouts. This discomfort is most often caused by improper form – and it’s very easy to correct.

When the head is pulled forward during abdominal exercises, immense strain is placed on the posterior neck muscles. Many exercisers lace their fingers behind their head and pull forward during crunches, for example, thereby making the crunches easier – but also placing unnecessary pressure on the neck muscles.

To prevent neck soreness, change the placement of your hands. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, fold them across your upper abdomen. Alternatively, keep them by your sides. If you want to keep your hands by your head, just touch your ears lightly with your fingertips to prevent any forward pull.

In addition, it may be helpful to concentrate on the ceiling. Doing so prevents your head from lifting forward. It may also be helpful to imagine an apple tucked under your chin – allowing for space between your chin, neck and chest.

Alternatively, you can try exercises – such as the reverse crunch – that work the abdominal muscles without involving much upper body movement.

Beyond preventing neck soreness or strain, you’ll also be increasing the effectiveness of your abdominal workout. Because lifting your head forward makes the exercise easier, some intensity and effectiveness is lost in the process.

If muscle soreness persists, it’s always a good idea to consult with your physician.

When is It Good to Be Sore?

Dear Davey,

A day after I exercise, I tend to get really sore. Is this bad? Does it mean that I’m pushing myself too hard or that I need to change something?

Thanks,
Brian

Dear Brian,

When people exercise, there are two types of soreness: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (called DOMS) and injury-related soreness. DOMS is good, injury-related is bad, and it’s very easy to tell the two apart.

DOMS occurs 12-48 hours after you complete your workout. It sounds like the type of soreness that you’re describing, and it’s often associated with a change in your workout program, increased intensity, etc. When you finish your workout, you don’t feel it. But in the subsequent hours, it slowly sneaks up on you.

This type of soreness is actually good. It’s part of a process that leads to muscle growth and increased strength as your body adapts to your workout regime.

There’s no simple way to treat DOMS – the best advice is simply to rest and recover until it passes. Some people have reported that gentle stretching or massaging seems to help.

Most importantly, do not exercise the sore muscle groups until they recover. Remember, the soreness is from muscles that are rebuilding – you need to let them build up before you break them down again or else you will not see results or increases in strength. Moreover, you may injure yourself.

Speaking of injury, any soreness as the result of injury is markedly different from DOMS. For one, soreness as the result of injury often hits sooner – if not instantly. And, wherein DOMS soreness is generally symmetrical (i.e., in both legs a day or two after doing squats), injury-related soreness is asymmetrical (i.e., in just one leg). Stop exercising if you have an injury and seek medical attention.

So, soreness can – and usually is – a good thing. Just make sure to give your body time to recover!