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Is Your Ab Routine Damaging Your Voice?

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Exercise is essential for a healthy life. Exercising keeps your muscles strong, body lean, mind sharp, mood happy and immune system boosted - but your dedication to the gym and your weekly CrossFit classes may be doing damage to your voice.

Workouts that put an excess strain on the neck and shoulder muscles can negatively effect your posture and result in tension throughout the structures that support your professional pipes. Weight-bearing exercises or improper breathing during training can also cause tension in the jaw, which can effect your ability to breath properly and even your make it difficult to reach your full vocal range.

So if you rely on your voice to pay the bills or live your life on stage, make sure you put as much work into your vocal health as you do your abs...because your ab workouts are one of the best ways to harm your voice.

All week we will be posting about other exercises to avoid - or modify- if you are particularly concerned about maintaining a full-functioning and pitch-perfect voice:

Sit-Ups

Doing sit-ups improperly can cause serious neck and back tension. It is a common error to place your hands directly your head and pull your neck and head with every crunch. When doing these exercises, do not pull on the head, but rather gently place your thumbs and forefinger gently resting against your head just behind the ear.

Modification - Crunches

rather than going for the full sit up, focus on the more effective crunch for smaller movements that don't put as much tension on your spine.

The better alternative - The Plank


A plank works your entire core without putting tension on the neck and back. Not only does a plank work more muscles, but building core strength will help your posture and ultimately your vocal performance.

To perform the forearm plank:

  • Place your forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned directly below the shoulders. Your forearms should be parallel to your body

  • Your feet should be up on your toes with your feet apart (hips width)

  • Neutralize your spine by engaging your core and creating a straight line from your neck to your tail bone. Your back should not be curved.

  • Hold the position for 30 seconds. Lift one leg at a time and hold for 30 seconds each to make the exercise more difficult.

  • To perform a traditional straight arm plank, place your hands on the ground directly below your shoulders and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

More on your voice's support system, here.

If you think your voice is being effected by muscle tension or strain, contact your local ENT specialist.

Colorado Voice Clinic & Specialty Ear, Nose & Throat
930 B West 7th Avenue
Denver, CO 80204

Phone: 303-844-3000 | Fax: 303-844-3002

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