We often forget about the neck when working out, but this is a body part that you do not want to neglect. Bad posture and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to stress in the discs and supporting ligaments in your neck. Strengthening your neck and upper back muscles will help to protect you from future injury, improve your stability, and can even improve your breathing as your neck muscles support and assist the respiratory system.
Here are five easy exercises which you can do to build neck strength:
- Chin Tuck
The chin tuck is a straightforward fitness exercise which assists with improving posture through the process of strengthening the upper thoracic extensors (muscles that pull the head into alignment with the shoulders).
- Standing with your arms at your sides, gradually lower your chin towards your chest. Your head should be pulled straight back, chin down, with your eyes softly looking towards the floor.
- Maintain this position for a period of five seconds before releasing back to an upright position. Repeat 10 times.
- Prone Head Lifts
This exercise strengthens the shoulder girdle muscles, as well as those in the neck and upper back.
- Lie face down on a solid surface (use a towel to cushion your elbows) and raise yourself onto your elbows with your shoulders and head lifted.
- Rest your chin against your chest. Keeping control of your neck, lift your head until your neck and spine form a straight line. Then lift your head further until your chin is parallel to the floor as though attempting to look at the sky. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Slowly move your head back until your chin against your chest.
- Repeat five times.
- Supine Head Lifts
This exercise uses gravity as resistance to strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles.
- Lie supine on a firm surface. Make sure that you have your knees bent, feet planted firmly on the floor, and arms at your sides.
- Slowly raise your head and then bring your chin to your chest. Hold this position for five seconds.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
- Scapular Squeeze
This exercise is designed to strengthen your upper back muscles that support your neck.
- Stand with your arms at your sides and keep your head in a neutral position.
- Lift your chest and firmly pull your shoulders back, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
- Neck Rotation
This is a simple exercise to help with posture and building neck strength.
- Sitting or standing comfortably, hold your head in a neutral position.
- Slowly turn your head to the right-hand side until your chin is directly over your shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Then gradually turn your head to the left, repeating the stretch as above.
- Repeat 5 times per side.
Having a stronger neck has a multitude of benefits from better posture, improved overall strength, and the prevention of future injuries. Make sure not to neglect your neck and add some of these simple exercises to your workout.
If you are confused on how to perform any exercises please consult a trained personal trainer.