If you notice that your core doesn’t hurt during an ab workout, but your neck does, that probably means you’re doing it wrong. When done correctly, crunches and other core exercises should not strain your neck, and you should only feel a burn in your core.

While neck pain during crunches is common, it’s a sign that your form isn’t right. Not only are you straining and possibly injuring your neck, but you’re also not getting the full benefit of the crunch, either.

Here are a few ways how you can relieve neck pain when doing crunches so that you can work out more comfortably and effectively:

Use your hands to support your neck

We often put our hands behind our head while doing crunches, and that is a great way to prevent neck pain! Just make sure you keep your head steady and don’t pull or twist your head as you do the crunches. Your core should be pulling you up off the ground during a crunch, not your hands.

Do the exercise correctly

This one seems like a given, but it’s actually very easy for your form to be incorrect during a workout! Whenever you do a core exercise, remind yourself of mind to muscle, meaning you should focus on engaging and strengthening your core.

Tuck your chin towards your chest

Some studies have shown that tucking your chin in towards your chest before and during crunches can relieve neck pain. This can help stabilize your hyoid muscles, which goes from your chin to your collarbone.

Try other ab exercises

If you really can’t seem to figure out how not to strain your neck while doing crunches, don’t worry, tons of other ab exercises still work your core but won’t give you neck pain. Try ab exercises that require you to go on your forearms instead, like planks.