20-Somethings - Problems with ab workouts.

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08-12-2013, 05:34 AM
I feel like when I try to ab workouts on the floor I have a lot of problems with my back/neck and I feel like I can't get the range of motion.

1. I'm too fat for those workouts right now, till I shed some serious belly fat.
2. I'm not doing them right and that's why I can't do them or get some pain/resistance from my body.
3. I had back/neck problems when I was 12 because we were in a minor car accident, but I had to see a chiropractor for over a year for therapy. Does this mean I can never do ab workouts?

I'm just not comfortable hiring a personal trainer right now, a little bit for financial reasons but also just because I'm fat and I'm not ready for that yet.

08-12-2013, 08:28 AM
I can't really help you, other than to say I think the answer is #2. I have the same problem. I have yet to figure out how crunches help anything. When I try to do them, I feel nothing in my abs, but my neck is killing me. I've tried all sorts of hand positions (at my sides, behind my neck and/or head and various other positions). Nothing works. I don't have serious belly fat at this point (my waist size is 29) and I've never had issues with my neck, but I still have the same problem you have. I suspect I'm just doing them improperly...but how to get to the "right" way to do them is beyond me!

08-12-2013, 11:16 AM
Crunches are actually pretty bad for your body because of how they strain the back and neck. I would recommend working on planks. they target all of your core core muscles and aren't as hard on the spine and neck.

don't feel like you have to start off with 1 min, just hold it for however long you can and aim for a bit longer the next time. You can even do them on a slight incline until you build some strength.

I also recommend checking out new rules of lifting for women. It has GREAT full body workouts to build strength that are separated out into routines

08-12-2013, 11:20 AM
I agree with pnkrckpixikat, try to do planks, 3 sets of however long you can hold the position for. Or do supermans, you're in a push-up position and you pull your knee towards your elbows. Great for your core!

08-12-2013, 11:45 AM
Agree with planks. They hurt so good. I can hardly hold for 10 seconds. Crunches are very strenuous. If you want to do them your gaze should be on the ceiling and not use your hands to pull your head up. You should lightly put your hands behind your head or ears. Sit-ups maybe. Also reverse crunches, instead of laying down you are kneeling, then crunch down. We have the door resistant bands and use those, I don't know how it feels doing them without the bands.

08-12-2013, 03:34 PM
There are a bunch of exercises that allow you to work your abs without resorting to crunches/situps. I just googled "ab exercises no crunches" and got a bunch of hits. Here are some ones that I do or that looked good in the google search:

>Sit so thighs and upper torso form a V shape, with feet on the floor. Swivel and touch the floor on the right and the left side of your body.

>Sit so thighs and upper torso form a V shape, with feet on the floor. Put your hands in front of your butt. Now straighten one leg and lift the straightened leg up and down.

>"Boat Pose" Sit with your feet on the floor, knees bent, hands beneath your knees for support. Keeping your chest lifted and shoulders back, engage your ab muscles and raise your lower legs until they are parallel to the floor (your knees should still be bent) and you are balancing on your sitting bones.
If this feels comfortable, begin to straighten your legs (stop if you feel any discomfort in your back) and stretch your arms forward. Hold for 515 breaths, then release.

>"Body-weight squat" Stand with feet hip-width, knees bent slightly, hands crossed over chest. Squat down, pressing weight into feet. Make sure feet are pointing straight ahead and knees are over your toes; keep bum tucked. Return to standing.

Hope this helps!

08-12-2013, 06:07 PM
Thanks everyone! I'll have to try these, I just don't think I can do ones that have you back to the floor, at least not at the moment.

08-14-2013, 01:33 AM
If you are willing to try something a little different that targets your core and builds up your strength at the same time, I recommend basic belly-dancing videos on YouTube or on amazon. These have helped me with my posture, breathing, and core strength without causing me any strain. And they are fun to do at the same time.

10-21-2013, 05:47 AM
Planks is one of the best workouts for core. Here's a basic and more advanced version:

Basic: just regular plank position and squeeze your butt checks in like you're holding a coin in between. This is far more effective than just holding the plank position.

Advanced: do it one leg and make sure to hold the leg up high. The leg that's up needs to be higher than the leg on the floor.

10-21-2013, 06:38 AM
Personally I wouldn't start with ab exercises until I felt like I was at a weight where the result of them would show. Crunches, in my opinion, are for people who want to have some sort of "pack" to show how in shape and toned they are. And even then you have to eat super healthy for any sort of pack to show. However, having a strong core is important for exercise, so work on developing your core rather than focusing on just your abs. Pilates is a good place to start, try blogilates.com for some quick videos. There's a beginners calendar you can try on that website too.

10-21-2013, 05:49 PM

I'm not sure what you body figure looks like so I don't know if belly fat is an issues for you. It's important to do some ab stuff because it helps with core stability which helps support your posture and can help if you have back issues.

There are lot of exercises you can do standing up to work out your abs. For example:

1. Standing side crunches: with your hands behind your head lift up and bend your right knee, crunch towards to right side trying to bring your should toward your knee

2. Standing "row": Stand in a wide legged squat (horse stance), keeping your pelvis tucked and both arm straight out twist your upper body to the left and downward sweeping arms behind to the left and up -> as if you are paddling in a kayak.

3. Crossed elbow to knees touches: with your hands behind your head bring your right elbow towards your left knee as you bend your left knee and flex your left hip.

There are also floor exercises that are good such as:

1. Plank (as many people above have attested to)

2. leg raises and bicycle: laying down, put your hands behind your lower back/butt for stability. Lift legs straight upand pulse your hips off the ground. For bicycle - basically cycle yous legs as if you were cycling.

There lots out there!! Just google some exercises!! And if/when you do want to work out crunches I find using a bosu ball really decreases the stress on my back.

10-21-2013, 11:59 PM
I've been doing leg raises (with the butt stability for back ease ;) ) Makes a big difference in my body - and my back feels great!

10-25-2013, 01:38 AM
Thanks for the suggestions everyone!!!