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A pro dancer shares 1 simple workout change she made to build abs quickly

Gabby Landsverk   

A pro dancer shares 1 simple workout change she made to build abs quickly
  • Crunches can be a simple, effective workout for a stronger core, according to a pro dancer.
  • A common mistake with crunches is putting the hands behind the neck and pulling too much on the spine.

If crunches are causing a sore neck instead of stronger abs, you're doing them wrong, according to a professional dancer.

Madeline Collins, who danced full-time for the Walt Disney Company for years and brought her skills to the Miss America stage as a former contestant, said crunches are her go-to move for core workouts.

The movement is deceptively simple — just a tiny lift — but it's a key part of Collins' low-impact dance and barre workouts that help her maintain her grace and athleticism.

"It's all the mind's connection to the body. You're telling your brain to move a specific muscle. That is dance," she told Business Insider in an interview coordinated by the fitness company Pure Barre.

But most people don't know how to do crunches correctly, Collins said.

A common mistake with crunches is to put the hands behind the head, which causes strain on the neck instead of the intended tension on the core muscles. As a result, you can end up with back and neck pain without actually working your abs to build strength and muscle.

Collins said a simple fix she uses for better crunches is keeping her hands by her sides or even better, better, laying them gently on her stomach to feel the ab muscles engaging.

"If you're doing that, you should feel the burn, and if you feel that, you're doing it right," Collins said.

Core strength isn't just useful for dancing or a toned physique, she added. It's also essential for managing everyday tasks like carrying groceries or maintaining good posture, and working on a stable core can help you stay strong and healthy as you age.

"There are so many activities that we do in day-to-day life that involve core strength," Collins said. "We take for granted simple movements that we do every day."