8 Best Exercises to Strengthen Your Neck

neck strengthening exercises

Our neck muscles need to stable supply and mobile but sedentary lifestyles often make them stiff. That can lead to different health problems. It is necessary that the neck muscles remain supple so that they can aid in different motions and different ranges as well. These include rotation, lateral flexion, forward flexion, and extensions as well. It is necessary not only to keep them supple and fluid but also active and strengthened. That can help to prevent any kind of neck injury which can have debilitating effects. Here are some effective exercises that are known to help make neck muscles function in an effective manner and prevent neck pain as well.

8 Best Exercises to Strengthen Your Neck

1. Neck Extension

neck extension stretch

How to Do:

  • You can sit or stand when performing this exercise.
  • Manually add resistance when you look upward.
  • Place hands behind head and extend head in a backward direction; resist with hands that make neck muscles work harder.
  • Once the head is fully extended, return to starting position.

Number of Repetitions: It can be repeated two or three times to feel the effects.

How it Helps: By providing resistance it helps improve muscles and range of motion is extended.

2. Neck Forward Flexion

neck forward flexion

How to Do:

  • When doing this exercise you can sit or stand.
  • Hold the head in a neutral position.
  • Place hands against the forehead.
  • Flex the neck muscles pushing the head forward against the hands.
  • Press on till chin touches the chest.
  • Reverse back, bring the head back to the neutral position and repeat again.

Number of Repetitions: This can be done two or three times along with other neck muscle exercises.

How it Helps: This particular exercise helps to strengthen neck muscles. It is a position whereby the neck is bent forward and extended as much as possible.

3. Neck Lateral Flexion

neck lateral flexion

How to Do:

  • This exercise is done by flexing head from one side to another in a way that ears move towards the shoulders.
  • To begin you need to place left hand on head and above the left ear.
  • Flex neck slowly to left and push against the hand.
  • Switch sides to do the same on the right-hand side.

Number of Repetitions: Combine this exercise with other muscle flexing exercises two or three times on each side.

How it Benefits: This particular exercise helps increase range of motion as you flex head from one side to another, reaching towards the shoulders.

4. Neck Rotation

neck rotation exercise

How to Do:

  • This is done for muscles supporting head rotation.
  • Place the right hand against the head between cheek and temple.
  • Turn head to right side till chin moves over the right shoulder.
  • Resist motion with hands so the neck muscles contract.
  • Repeat by doing the same for the left side of your hand, providing resistance with the left hand.

Number of Repetitions: A user can repeat 2-3 times to feel relief and loosening of the neck muscles.

How it Benefits: Neck rotation helps to strengthen the muscles that support the rotating of the head. Range of motion is increased accordingly.

5. Isometric Neck Exercises

isometric neck exercises

How to Do:

  • This can be done in a sitting position and without moving the neck much.
  • Use your left hand to reach across to the right side of the head and pull back sideways.
  • The same can be done by using the right hand and pulling the head towards the right side.

Number of Repetitions: Since isometric neck exercise is recommended for those who have neck injuries, it is best to limit the repetitions and do it 1-2 times on each side.

How it Benefits: It is beneficial for those who have neck pain and cannot do other range of motion or neck resistance exercises. It is a gentle therapeutic way to extend the neck muscles and give them relief when they are strained.

6. Prone Cobra

prone cobra neck exercise

How to Do:

  • Lie on the floor with face down.
  • Place forehead on a rolled up towel to support the same.
  • Place arms on the sides and palms down on the floor.
  • The tongue needs to touch the roof of the mouth which stabilizes muscles in front of the neck.
  • Pinch shoulder blades closer as you lift hands off the floor.
  • Roll the elbows with palms of the hands in an outward direction and with thumbs up.
  • Gently lift forehead an inch off from the towel; eyes should look straight on the floor.
  • Stay in position for about 10 seconds.
  • Return to start position.

Number of Repetitions: 10 repetitions would be a good way to feel the benefits of this move.

How it Benefits: It is an exercise for strengthening muscles of shoulders as well as upper back and neck. It uses gravity to provide resistance.

7. Headstand

headstand exercise

How to Do:

  • Place a pillow or something firm and soft next to a door.
  • Kneel down and put the head on the item.
  • Stay in this position and swing legs up against the door.
  • Rest upside down and return your legs back to starting position.

Number of Repetition: This can be done 4-5 times to help keep the body in shape as well as improve strength in neck muscles.

How it Benefits: It is an exercise that is recommended for building overall neck muscles as well as for improving general health.

8. Shoulder Circles

shoulder circles exercise

How to Do:

  • Stand in a relaxed state.
  • Keep legs apart up to shoulder length.
  • Rotate both shoulders clockwise.
  • After a certain number of repetitions do the same for the shoulders in a counter-clockwise direction.

Number of Repetitions: The repetitions can be done ten on either direction for both shoulders.

How it Benefits: This is an ideal exercise to start your workout regime as it helps in loosening the shoulder and neck muscles.

It is best to combine neck exercises with an overall workout regime. While shoulder circles are best done when you are starting off your exercises, other neck strengthening exercises can be done when you are cooling down after doing active aerobic or anaerobic exercises. If you have sustained neck injury it is best to limit yourself to light exercises such as isometric neck exercises. For those who have long hours of working in front of laptops, it is best to do neck exercises daily.

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