Exercises To Strengthen Neck Muscles

By: Abhay Saxena
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The muscles of neck could be the most neglected body muscles. It is very likely that we ignore to give these very important muscles the workout they need the most. People these days spend a lot of time driving for long distances, sitting before their computers for hours in same static posture, and perform a desk work sitting with their head bent. Weak neck muscles are not always the result of some injury or other trauma. They are mostly caused by postural problems. Weakness in neck muscles takes the form of chronic pain. In fact, the following neck muscles are observed to be tight causing such a pain and consequent weakness:

• Scalene muscles
• Suboccipital muscles
• Pectoralis minor muscles
• Subscapularis muscles
• Levator scapulae muscles

One can benefit from simple stretching to strengthen neck muscles. Stretching the ligaments and muscles that line our neck helps
to maintain an adequate blood supply to the tissues. There are some simple stretches that can effectively strengthen the weak neck muscles and ligaments. Check out..

Exercises To Strengthen Neck Muscles

Forward Flexion
Bend your head forward and try to make the chin touch the top of chest. When a pull is felt in the muscles lining the back of neck or the joints of neck prevent any further bend, stay in this position for about 30 seconds. Return and relax. Do it 6-10 times.

Backward Extension
Bend the head backwards so that you can see the ceiling. When a stretch or pull is felt on front side of neck or the joints of neck prevent any further backward bend, stay in this position for about 30 seconds.

Rotation to Right and Left
Turn the head towards right, with shoulders facing forward. When a stretch or pull is felt anywhere in the neck or once the joints of neck prevent you to rotate any further, stay in this position for about 30 seconds. Repeat the same steps as above, but this time, with head turning to the left.

Lateral Flexion to Right

With shoulders facing forward, turn the head towards the right shoulder and make your right ear approach the right shoulder. Once a pull or stretch is felt in the left side of neck, stay in this posture for around 30 seconds. Make sure that both the shoulders remain at same level.

Lateral Flexion to Left
Repeat the above steps, now with head approaching left shoulder and keeping both the shoulders at same level. Only the head should bend down towards the shoulder. The shoulder should not be lifted to approach the head.

Some points to ponder:

1. Never stretch to a position where pain is felt. The aim should be to feel a comfortable stretch.

2. The best time to perform these neck exercises is late in the afternoon or evening, when blood circulation is at its peak. The blood
circulation is worst in mornings, as the heart does not work hard after a sleep in the horizontal position. With daily activities
over a day, the blood circulation improves, making the weak neck muscles more receptive to stretching.

3. Ensure that you never stop breathing while stretching your neck muscles. Holding the breath as one stretches indicates that too much stress is being put on the neck tissues.

Try these ways to strengthen your weak neck muscles and prevent pain.

Read more about: exercise, fitness
Story first published: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 11:00 [IST]
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