A few weeks ago, someone came to me at the end of class and mentioned feeling it in the neck while doing the abs series.
Neck strain while doing the Hundred is a common feedback I get from beginners who don’t yet know how to activate and contract their abdominals, causing their shoulders to lift off the mat.
In this piece, they’re trying to get their chests higher, and the shoulders further away from the mat. But when they’re not strong enough in their abdominals, they then strain their necks forward to try to get their bodies higher. This usually gets their necks tired and strained quickly.
I remember when I first started out teaching, I used cues like “see if you can get yourself lifted more”. Now, I focus on “try to get this space between your ribs and your hips shorter” so that the focus on the contraction in the trunk.
The following week, I got the participants to feel the weight of their heads on their palms while lying down, then having the weight continue to stay on their palms as they contract their abs in, lifting their shoulders off the mat. This seemed to help.
Also, getting them to roll down to the hundred position from a seated position is a lot easier than curling up from a supine position but I’d probably do it both ways to get them working different segments of their abdominals and to get used to both.