Shoulder and Neck Muscle Tensing up when I am working out

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    Apr 16, 2012 5:13 PM GMT
    I am a newbie in strength training and I have a situation that need some advice.

    On the downward pull of the tricep pressdown, or the upward curl of the crunch, or generally when I am exerting a lot of force, my neck and shoulder muscle tense up, and I have to hold my breath to complete that rep. Is this normal? I was told before that I should breathe naturally throughout the entire movement, but I can't. My neck simply tense up and my breath is held in, or otherwise I don't have enough power to actually do the pressdown, or the crunch.

    Do you have any tip or suggestion how to remedy this?


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    Apr 16, 2012 8:08 PM GMT
    Sounds like you're not focusing on the appropriate muscles during each movement. If you need to engage your shoulders/neck/traps for these exercises, to the point that they feel sore, then the weight might be too heavy as well (on the tri pulldowns). Ask a trainer to check your technique/posture.
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    Apr 16, 2012 8:12 PM GMT
    I had that problem when I was first doing crunches and ab workouts.
    Your problem is that you are pulling on your neck to lift yourself up. Focus on your abs and core section. Tighten your abs and lift with your core. Your head and neck should be totally relaxed.

    If you are trying to develop abs, or strengthening your core, I highly recommend this workout.

    http://menshealth.intoday.in/story/Best-abs-workout-youve-never-done/0/1892.html

    It explains everything that you need to know on the page.
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    Apr 16, 2012 8:17 PM GMT
    Also, the proper breathing technique for crunches and sit ups is to inhale when going down, and exhale when bringing your chest to your knees.
  • chi_rock

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    Apr 16, 2012 8:24 PM GMT
    EastCoastNAZ saidSounds like you're not focusing on the appropriate muscles during each movement. If you need to engage your shoulders/neck/traps for these exercises, to the point that they feel sore, then the weight might be too heavy as well (on the tri pulldowns). Ask a trainer to check your technique/posture.


    Agree. Change your focus.
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    Apr 16, 2012 8:48 PM GMT
    Thanks EastCoastNAZ and Counterfeit Jock for your advices. I will try lowering the weight and use only the tricep for that exercise. As for crunches, I guess my core is weak, or my neck is simply too long...icon_cry.gif. I will add core exercise you suggested on days that I do cardio.
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    Apr 16, 2012 10:21 PM GMT
    uberick saidThanks EastCoastNAZ and Counterfeit Jock for your advices. I will try lowering the weight and use only the tricep for that exercise. As for crunches, I guess my core is weak, or my neck is simply too long...icon_cry.gif. I will add core exercise you suggested on days that I do cardio.


    I agree with the above suggestions. I would also suggest adding shrugs to your routine if you're not already doing them. But go light at first. This will build your traps and neck muscles.
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    Apr 18, 2012 5:39 PM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    uberick saidThanks EastCoastNAZ and Counterfeit Jock for your advices. I will try lowering the weight and use only the tricep for that exercise. As for crunches, I guess my core is weak, or my neck is simply too long...icon_cry.gif. I will add core exercise you suggested on days that I do cardio.


    I agree with the above suggestions. I would also suggest adding shrugs to your routine if you're not already doing them. But go light at first. This will build your traps and neck muscles.


    Scruffypuff, Will having a stronger shoulder/traps help with not tensing up?