Have you ever had neck pain? EVERYTHING hurts when your neck hurts! These days, most of us end up sitting at a desk or computer for hours every day, which causes us to slouch and crane our neck forward out of proper alignment, leading to neck weaknesses and pains. However, when you exercise, do you ever focus on your neck? Not many people do. It’s not a sexy muscle group- but a strong neck has some benefits.
A strong neck can:
- Improve balance and locomotion by protecting the nerves of the spinal cord.
- Strengthen jaw muscles.
- Reduce severity of concussions upon impact.
- Assist in respiration and the quality of breathing.
- Improve posture.
So how do you work your neck? Here are a few exercises to start with:
Lying Face Down Plate Neck Resistance
Lay face down on a bench and put your hands behind your neck. Bring your head down, and then bring it back up while exhaling, ending with your chin parallel to the floor. Hold for 3 seconds and go back down while inhaling. GO SLOWLY to avoid injury. Try 2 sets of 8 repetitions and then gradually add weight in your hands to increase the tension.
Lying Face Up Plate Neck Resistance
This is the same exercise as above except laying face up on the bench. Master the movement with no weight before adding weights. GO SLOWLY.
Stand straight and put a hand on the side of your head. Slowly push with your hand, using your neck to counterbalance the force applied so that your head does not move. Gradually increase pressure. Switch sides. Try 3 sets of 20 seconds for each side of your head.
Once you’ve mastered these exercises, try the 4-Way Neck Machine. Just remember to always go slowly and gradually increase weight! Nothing’s worse than a pain in the neck!