How to exercise your neck (and why you should)

woman stretching neck with hand on head

Photo: Anatoliy Karlyuk (Shutterstock)

We may pay more attention to our biceps or buttocks, but every part of our body is full of muscles that can benefit from exercise. Our necks are no exception.

If you spend a lot of time craning your neck forward, for example staring at a computer screen, you may be missing out on other movements that will make the muscles in your neck and surrounding area happy. Because Ias we can exercise our feet, we can also exercise our necks.

Try neck yoga

There is yoga for everything, and of course our friends like Adriene have routines that focus on the neck and adjacent areas, like our backs and shoulders. (Neck muscles connect to other parts of the body, so many “neck muscles” actually belong to the back and other parts of the body..)

Stretch your neck in all directions

These stretches from physiotherapist Doctor Jo will help you move your neck in all directions, while potentially relieving spasms or that general feeling of stiffness that we call a crunch in the neck. (Doctor Jo notes that you should see a healthcare professional if you think you have a medical problem..)

Do weight training

Neck training is sometimes ridiculed as nonsense that meatheads do, and it is true that wrestlers and football players often want the tightest necks possible to protect themselves in their sport. But one thing that I noticed while research the best neck strengthening exercises to share with you, is that meat heads and thin physiotherapists watch exactly just as silly with resistance bands wrapped around their heads.

So take a group and follow these guys (or with Doctor Jo, like her too has a video doing similar exercises) that you exercise your neck in all directions.

Exercise normally

The advantage of full body exercise is that you don’t have to consciously think about every muscle and part of the body when using it. If you engage in a normal strength training program—with weights or with difficult bodyweight movements such as those found in strength-oriented forms of yoga—you will end up using all thmuscles strapped to your neck, even if you don’t consider what you’re doing neck workout.

To give a few examples, crunches require the use of the muscles at the front of your neck to stabilize your head and prevent it from slamming into the ground. Your trapezius muscles extend from your skull to the middle of your spine, which means that many back exercises like the lat pull-ups will at least somewhat involve the muscles in your neck. And all the movements where your body is in a sideways position, like side planks, requiring your neck muscles to do some work to keep your head from tipping.

Likewise, exercises that get you moving aerobically, like hiking or dancing, will also move your neck muscles a bit. As a bonus, half an hour spent laughing with your children in the garden is half an hour without hanging yourself in front of your computer. gGive yourself a chance to get outside and move around, and you will feel better everywhere.


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