Our neck muscles should help keep our head in optimal alignment; however, they are often weak because we spend so much time sitting & working at the computer.
Frequently, people develop excessive muscle tension in the back of their neck while their deep neck flexors (muscles in the front of the neck) become weak.
This muscle imbalance can result in headaches, decreased flexibility & strength.
Here are my three favorite neck exercises to help restore optimal muscle balance. These are patterning exercises to improve your neck function & posture.
I recommend doing 10 reps of each exercise one to two times per day. I prefer to do these exercises with a light resistance thera-band; however, you can do the exercises without a band if you don’t have one.
1) Chin Tuck.
Draw your head backwards while keeping your head level. Pretend you’re resting your chin on a shelf & just slide it backwards.
Your deep neck flexors are responsible for this motion. As you activate those muscles, you simultaneously stretch your suboccipital muscles in the back of your neck.
2) Supine Head Control.
Lie on your back with your knees bent & feet resting on the floor. To promote better core activation, squeeze a yoga block or a small ball between your knees.
If you have a band, use it to resist a chin tuck with your shoulders flexed to 90 degrees. Perform a tiny head nod (look up, then look down) to set the deep neck flexors between each rep. Curl up one spinal segment at a time as you crunch up towards your knees. Alternate between straight crunches & oblique crunches to the right & left.
3) Prone Head Control.
Lie on your belly with your face down & arms by your side. If using a band, position it behind your neck & in front of each shoulder, holding an end in each hand. Look up, pinch your shoulder blades together, lift your arms off the ground & turn your thumbs up towards the ceiling.
These exercises should always be performed in a pain-free range of motion. If pain is preventing you from performing these exercises or limiting you with other activities, I recommend you schedule a Movement Tune-up. Please let me know if you have any questions.