Oct 3, 2013

{Fit and Strong Day 3}: Strengthening the Neck Muscles

The neck is one of those muscles that I often overlook, until I get a stiff neck, that is. I'm not a bodybuilder nor do I engage in contact sports (for now), so the size and strength of my neck is not as important to me as my leg muscles for instance.  A very wrong notion, of course, as when I can't turn my head properly, it can be really annoying, not to mention the discomfort that goes with it.



So why strengthen the neck?  First of all, it supports the head that averages 8-12 pound in weight for an adult.  For the most part of the day that we are upright, the neck supports that much weight.  Just imagine what kind of stress it undergoes everyday!  Most of us just pay attention to the neck when it hurts or it has turned stiff, and we can't turn or tilt it without the ouch.  

How do we strengthen the neck muscles then?  You could do the following simple exercises and try to hold the position for a few seconds, say about 10 seconds per repetition:

  1. Bring your head forward as if trying to touch your chest with your chin.  To add pressure, you could clasp both hand at the back of your head and push, just enough so you feel the stretch.
  2. Do the opposite and look up.  You could also push your chin for the added stretch.
  3. Tilt the head to the right, and hold. Return to upright position.  Do it again on the other side.
  4. Rotate the neck to the right, hold for a few seconds and go back to original position.  Do this on the left side as well.
  5. Now put both palms on your forehead.  Try to push your palms with your head while your hands resist by pushing backwards.
  6. Clasp both hands at the back of the head and do push the head backwards while the hands resist the motion.
  7. Put the right palm to the right side of the head.  Push the head to the right, with the hand providing the resistance.  Do this also on the left side.
These are basic stretches and resistance training for the neck.  To amp up the routine, I found these great sites that have illustrations for you to follow.  I wish I could come up with those gif images and videos, but why re-invent the wheel?  





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