With the desire to acquire a lean body, some of us often focus on abdominal, legs and shoulder exercises. However, among all these body parts, the neck is often neglected. It is essential to understand that, neck holds up the head and also maintains the body posture. While performing abdominal exercises, we often support our head by hands, putting strain on the neck. Maintaining the right posture during such exercises is important to avoid injuries. Neck connects the nervous system and the spinal cord and helps to adjust the body posture as per the exercise. Therefore, undertaking certain neck muscle strengthening exercises is necessary to avoid sudden neck muscle pulls.
These exercises help to train the neck muscles and also the muscles around the neck area. These exercises are mainly performed by athletes, wrestlers, boxers and even those, who perform martial arts. These exercises can strengthen the neck and can even help perform rigorous exercises. However, neck exercises must be performed with extreme care as they can even cause great damage.
Undertaking some neck exercises for neck muscles, is a good start to have safe workout regimen. Stretching allows, flexibility and relaxation of the neck muscles. Following are the steps to relax the neck muscles before starting the exercises.
- Bend your head down as if trying to touch the chin to the chest. Hold this position for 15 seconds.
- Keeping the posture straight, turn your head to left and align it to the shoulder. Maintain this position for 15 seconds and then turn it to the right side.
- Look up and bend your head backwards. Hold it for 15 seconds.
- Try to touch your ear to your left shoulder and hold the position for 15 seconds. Repeat the same on the other side. You can either, support your head by one hand or just bend your head perpendicular to your shoulder.
There are many techniques to perform a manual resistance neck exercise. Though this exercise looks simple, it needs to be carefully performed. Manual resistance exercise can be performed in standing as well as sitting position. Rest the heel of your hand to the side of your forehead. As you push the head away, resist the strength and maintain the same position of your head. Another technique is to support the head by both hands and push the head in the front. Try to resist the pressure and push the hands backward. This exercise can also be performed by taking the support of the wall. Just put a cushion against the wall as the surface of the wall is rough. Stand a little away and lean back and set your head on the cushion and apply force.
This is an effective neck exercise and works for all the neck muscles. Maintaining the correct posture for this exercise is important, as chances of neck sprains are more in this exercise. Lay on your back, with your palms down near your head. Slowly lift your body, keeping your head faced down to the ground. This exercise focuses on semispinalis capitis, longissimus capitis, splenius capitis and sternocleidomastoid muscles.
Shrugs train the upper trapezius, upper back rhomboids and also the lower neck muscles. This exercise can be best performed in a standing position. Hold dumbbells in each hand. Slightly spread your legs and bend your knees a little and lean forward. Keeping the shoulders in right alignment, lift the shoulders till the ears.
Upright rows is performed by holding the barbell with overhand grip and pulling it till the collarbone. Maintain a gap in the legs which is as wide as the length of the shoulders and keep the knees slightly bent. This brings certain flexibility and ease in lifting the weight to the collarbone. This exercise works on deltoids, biceps and trapezius. You can use a barbell, a cable machine or even dumbbells for this exercise.
After performing these bridge exercises, do not forget the after workout exercise to release the tensions in the muscles. Here is the tutorial to perform stretching for the neck.
- Lay on your back and rest the curve of your neck on a cushion.
- Gently massage the shoulders and the neck to ease out tension build during the workout.
Stretching after exercises is essential to strengthen and promote the growth of the muscles. Independently training the neck helps achieve balance in performing other exercises and also reduces the chances of injuries.