Best Exercises For Your Neck
“A Strong neck makes the body more fuctional and efficient and is aesthetically appealing too”
The neck is the upper part of the spine, connecting the brain with the rest of the body. And though it may appear small, the neck comprises of a complex group of 12 muscles that usually go unnoticed or undertrained. It is also very susceptible to poor posture weaknesses.
Hence, there are separate strengthening exercises just for the neck that should be encouraged and taught by all health professionals to their patients or clients whenever they find themselves in the position to do the same.
The brain is connected to the rest of the body through the neck which makes it vital for sending messages from the brain to the rest of the body.
Therefore, any problem in the neck may cause the whole chain of various anatomical structures to crumble leading to a wide range of cervicogenic issues and other issues originating from the neck.
For instance, headaches, shoulder stiffness and pains, even low back pain and hip issues may be associated with neck weaknesses.
A strong neck also makes the body more functional and efficient and is aesthetically appealing too. It also boosts performance in sports and prevents and lowers the rate of injuries in contact sports.
Neck Stretching Exercises
The neck training must progress from stretching for an enhanced range of motion, to stabilization and strengthening for achieving uninterrupted, constant increase in neck strength for long-lasting results. However, one may need to take a physical therapist or doctor’s advice on conditions in which certain exercises may be contraindicated. Here are a few stretching exercises for the neck that should be done along with a dynamic warmup before a workout.
Chin Tucks – Seated with your back straight. pull your chin in towards your chest with your mouth closed. Hold for two seconds and repeat for about eight to ten times.
Flexion And Extension – Keeping your back upright and neck straight, bend your head right down and then backwards. Upon reaching the end range of both forward and backward movements, hold for two seconds and repeat six to eight times.
Chin Turns – Turn your chin to your shoulder and hold for two seconds. Repeat both sides for about six to eight times.
“All these exercises are mainly to increase the strength of an uninjured normal neck and should be performed under the supervision of a qualified professional. Also, consent of a health professional may be necessary for the same.”
Get into a quadruped position with your spine straight, on all fours with your weight on your palms and knees, aligned with your shoulder and hips respectively. Hold your neck strongly in a straight position and try not to allow any movement, as your trainer or partner applies quick pressure on top, side wards and upwards from different directions on your head. This is a good way to get started with strength stabilization.
Remain in the same position but now place your forehead on a medicine ball with your hands on the sides of the ball. You can later progress to a Swiss ball in the same position. The same quick controlled pushes are applied to the balls laterally and from forward directions.
The neck all through is held tight preventing the movement from the perturbations. This trains the neck to stay strong and stable when subjected to multi directional forces acting on it by recruiting the necessary musculature. All these exercises should be done for about 10 to 20 seconds for about one three sets.
These exercises are performed on an incline bench with the neck held out of the bench.
Neck Flexion – With the neck held out of the bench and the body in a supine position, a weighted plate is placed and held on the forehead. Since the neck is already in an extended position, the chin is pulled inside towards the chest to flex the head against the weighted resistance.
Neck Extension – The reverse of the above movement is performed for the extension of the neck while lying in a prone position on the incline bench and bending the head upwards and backwards into extension as similarly against the resistance of a weighted plate.
Side Flexion – This exercise is performed in a side lying position on the same bench with a weighted plate placed and held at the temple. Movement is executed by bringing the ear towards the shoulder, but this time against a smaller weighted plate as compared to the above two exercises.
These exercises must be done for 10-15 repetitions for two-three sets, depending on the progress.