Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top 3 Neck Exercises & Stretches for Beginners

The key to preventing neck injuries is in developing strength and flexibility in your neck.  Although there are many exercises you can perform to improve your neck muscles. The following three very simple stretches and exercises are for beginners.  As with all neck exercise always begin in the neutral position.  Neutral position is when the body is aligned and relaxed. Also, as with any exercises you should always do these and any exercises under the guidance of your doctor.  Neck exercises should be performed in a slow and controlled manner.

1. Chin Tuck
The chin tuck is the most popular and easiest exercise you can do to help correct your posture, prevent getting a rounded back and an unnatural forward head position; both of 
which are more likely to occur as you age.  You can perform the chin tuck either from a standing, sitting or lying down position as long as you begin in the neutral position.  

From a neutral position, begin with your head facing forward and gently push your chin back to form somewhat of a double chin and hold for a few seconds. Repeat.  Be sure not to raise or lower the head.  You should be looking straight ahead.  It may be helpful to perform this in front of a mirror or start with your back straight against a door or wall.

2. Shoulder Blade Squeeze 
There are several different methods for the shoulder blade squeeze and you will want to find one that is best for you.  This exercise will help strengthen your neck and improve your posture.  Begin sitting in a neutral position with your chin slightly tucked in.  Place your hands on the tops of your thighs.  Slowly pull shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.  Hold for a few seconds. Repeat.

3. Head Rotation
This exercise will help strengthen and stretch the neck rotators and relieve stiffness in your neck.  It is very important to begin this exercise either standing or sitting in the neutral position with the head and neck in proper axial alignment.  Once in the proper position slowly turn your head to one, hold for a few seconds then turn back to the center and repeat on the opposite side.  Always remember to keep your body in proper alignment throughout the entire exercise movement.  

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