The neck muscles are one of the most neglected muscles in the body whenever someone works out. While the neck muscles rarely become affected in average individuals, those who work in front of the computer may have weak cervical neck flexors because they tend to gaze at the monitor longer sending them to their local Tampa chiropractor.
Having weak neck muscles does not only lead to poor range of motion, but it may cause poor neck and head support causing a forward head posture, neck stiffness and headache in the long run. To help prevent neck pain and overall poor posture, strengthening the neck muscles is vital to one’s health. Just like any other muscles in the body, strengthening the neck muscles involve exercises and stretches to increase the flexibility and strength of the muscles. The following are the neck exercises that you can employ to ensure flexible and strong neck muscles:
- Neck flexion
The neck flexion exercise strengthens the muscles on the back of the neck as well as the scalene muscles. This exercise can be done while standing or sitting so you may actually do it in front of your computer. First, flex your neck as far as possible so that your chin touches your chest. If you cannot touch your chest, hold the stretch up until you feel pain. Using your hands, press on the back of your head to keep the stretch further. Hold the position for at least 20 seconds and release. Repeat for five times.
- Prone cobra
This exercise is an advanced way to strengthen the neck muscles as well as the shoulder girdle. First, lie on your stomach so you are facing the ground. For more comfort, place a rolled towel on your forehead. Place the arms on your side with the palms facing down. Lift your hands off the floor as you simultaneously lift your forehead one inch above the rolled towel while keeping your eye on the floor (Never look forward and move your head back as this may damage your neck muscles). Hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds and repeat 5 times.
- Chin tuck
The chin tuck is one of the best ways to strengthen your neck muscles. First, assume a position where in your hands and knees are on the floor. Keep your back straight and your head should be in line with your spine. Move your chin to protrude it toward the ground. Hold your chin as close as possible to your chest and return to your original position.
- Neck rotation
The muscles on the sides of your neck are also important to maintain a good range of motion. First, turn your head towards the right side so your chin touches your right shoulder. Using your left hand, place it over your head and it front of your right ear. Slowly turn your head to the left side to return to a neutral position. Repeat on the reverse side.
- Chin lift
You can also do some weight exercises for your neck muscle. Get a 5 lbs weight and lie on your bed. Place the weights on your forehead on the level of your brows while holding the ends for support. Slowly lift your head off the bed, but don’t put your chin towards your chest. Hold the position or 5 seconds and release. Repeat for five times.
These exercises help you stay out of neck pain and stiffness and also ensure that you have good neck position preventing degenerative conditions in the cervical area.