Workouts and exercises for the neck
Do you work a lot at the computer, lead a sedentary lifestyle, often get numb, and have a sore neck? Then this article is for you.
We often need to notice how much time we spend in the same static position. We remember only when we want to get up or move. But it’s’ too late. Neck, legs, back, stop listening to you.
How to get rid of unpleasant, painful sensations and a sedentary lifestyle with the help of relaxing exercises and fitness training?
Anatomy of the neck muscles
In the cervical region, three main muscle groups can be distinguished according to their location – superficial, middle, and deep muscles of the neck.
The most important muscles of the cervical region include:
- Sternocleidomastoid muscle. It is located on the side under the subcutaneous muscle of the neck. Performs the functions of bending the neck, tilting and tilting the head to the sides and back.
- Anterior, middle, and posterior scalene muscles. They are located on the side and are responsible for tilting the cervical region forward and to the sides.
- The upper part of the trapezius muscle. Occupies a superficial position at the back of the neck. When the shoulder blades are fixed, it is responsible for the head and neck extension.
- The muscle that lifts the scapula. It is located under the trapezius muscle, raises the scapula, and tilts the cervical spine back or to the side when it is fixed.
- Belt muscle of the neck. It is located at the back of the neck and is covered by the trapezius muscle. With unilateral contraction, it turns the cervical region in the corresponding direction. With bilateral contraction, it unbends it.
Why neck training is needed
As soon as we experience numbness or pain in the neck, the first thing that comes to mind is, “we need to move less.” And this doesn’t seem right.
On the contrary, the neck muscles scream for help and “wait” to be remembered. The lack of movement leads not only to hypertonicity of the muscles of the cervical region but also to poor circulation, pinching, lack of coordination, headaches, and heart pain.
Stretching and strengthening the cervical spine is the best thing to help you avoid such conditions and reduce pain.
Before performing basic fitness exercises, like any workout, you need to warm up and warm up your muscles. It is enough to perform light relaxing exercises for 2-3 minutes per cervical region. You can also include additional warm-up exercises for the whole body.
- Head tilts back and forth.
Tilt your head to the jugular cavity, count to 5 and return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise several times.
- head turns
The exercise can be performed both standing and sitting. With slow movements, turn your head to the right, so the chin always remains at the same level. Hold for 3 seconds and return to the middle position.
Then turn your head to the left. Repeat the exercise 5 times on each side.
- Head tilts left and right.
Starting position – the head is straight; look in front of you. Tilt your head to the right, leaning your ear to your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat tilts on both sides ten times.
- Shoulder lift
Raise your shoulders without moving them forward. Then lower your shoulders down, pulling back slightly. Repeat the relaxation exercise 6-8 times.
- Move shoulders back and forth.
Straighten and drop your shoulders. Raise your shoulders and move them slightly forward. Return to starting position. Then take your shoulders back, trying to close your shoulder blades together. Take the starting position and repeat the exercise 6-8 times.
Ready. You can start the main workout to strengthen the muscles of the cervical region.
Top 10 Effective Neck Exercises
Important! These exercises are performed with caution: slowly and without sudden movements. If you feel any pain, stop exercising and contact your doctor.
- Circular movements
Tilt your head forward and make a circular motion so that a stretch is felt on the opposite side of the neck. After completing the circle, repeat the exercise with your head in the opposite direction. Take the starting position and try to tighten the muscles of the back and the back of the neck, then all the neck muscles simultaneously. Repeat all steps three more times.
- The tension of the lateral neck muscle
Starting position – feet shoulder-width apart, look in front of you, shoulders straightened. Place the palm of your left hand over your right ear and press on its head, so she leans as much as possible towards the opposite shoulder. Feel the tension, resist the pressure and pull your right arm down. Repeat the exercise several times on both sides.
- Forward bends with turns.
Please put your hands together in the castle and put them on the back of your head. Pull the back of your head up as if lengthening your neck. Slowly tilt your head forward until you feel the tension, and gently turn your head to the right, to the left. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- Shoulder and back exercises
The exercise is performed against the wall. Legs shoulder width apart. Lean your body against the wall to form a 90-degree angle between your body and legs. Hands lean against the wall. Holding the pose for 20-30 seconds, try to straighten and stretch the spine as much as possible. Repeat the exercise several times.
- Turns at the wall
Press your buttocks, shoulder blades, and the back of your head against the wall. Slowly and carefully move your head left and right. Repeat ten times.
Exercise on the upper part of the trapezius cervical muscle. It can be performed with or without additional weights (dumbbells, water bottles). Starting position – feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, shoulders straightened, arms along the body. As you exhale, lift your shoulders as high as possible; as you exhale, lower them down. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- Neck lifts
Starting position – lying down, arms extended straight in front of you. The chest and shoulders are firmly pressed to the floor. Slowly raise your head and arms as high as possible as you exhale, and the chin stretches forward. Inhale – return to the starting position. Perform the exercise 10 times, and on the last repetition, linger in the extreme position for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Reinforced head raises
Starting position – emphasis lying on a bench, hands are closed at the back of the head in the castle, and the head and neck remain in weight. Lower your head, overcoming the body’s resistance as far down as possible. Then also, slowly lift it back up.
- Chair exercise
All you need is a chair. Sit on it, straighten your shoulders and put your hands down. As you exhale, slowly tilt your head back. At the same time, stretch your chin forward, creating resistance. Repeat the exercise several times.
- Dumbbell exercise
Take a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart, arms with dumbbells along the body. As you exhale, slowly raise your arms without bending your elbows, focusing on the control points in front of you, at shoulder level, up. As you inhale, lower your arms down. Similarly, the exercise can be performed by raising your arms to the sides.
How often should you exercise
Exercises are aimed at strengthening not only the neck but also the shoulder, girdle, and back. Do them daily for 10-15 minutes in the morning, between work or before bed, or include them in your training program 2-3 times a week.
Physical activity will relax the muscles, relieve stress, and improve joint mobility.
How to relax your neck muscles
At the end of the fitness workout, pay attention to exercises to relax the cervical spine muscles. Slowly and gently stretch the top of your head up several times and lower your chin to the jugular fossa. Do a self-massage – rub the neck area with light movements.
Relaxing treatments include:
- yoga and meditation ;
- stretching after a workout.
Also, exercises from the warm-up section are suitable for relaxing the neck muscles.
When is it better to stop exercising?
It is recommended to refuse to perform exercises in the first place if:
- severe and sharp pain in the cervical region;
- spinal injuries;
- SARS and infectious diseases;
- high blood pressure;
- condition after surgery;
In other cases, experienced trainers advise performing neck exercises smoothly and without sudden movements. And if you experience any pain, complete the workout and contact your doctor.