Our neck is responsible not only for holding the weight of the head but also for protecting the sensory and motor nerves that run from the brain to the rest of the body. Besides these, it of course, helps in the movement of the head.Â

Which muscles are involved in neck strengthening exercises?

When you do exercises to strengthen neck muscles, you are working on almost 26 muscles in the neck! These are attached to various bones of the spine, skull, shoulder, and thoracic cage and include muscles like Sternocleidomastoid, Scalene, Platysma, Omohyoid, etc.What are the benefits of neck strengthening exercises?To get a flexible and strong neck exercise is extremely important, yet a neck training routine largely remains neglected. Here are some of the most important benefits of exercises to strengthen neck muscles:

  • Neck strengthening exercises help in relieving neck pain and headaches that may occur due to postural problems or excessive use of laptops.
  • Neck strengthening exercises help in preventing neck and spinal injuries.
  • Neck strengthening exercises help in improving the flexibility of the neck, shoulders, and spine and improving their range of motion.

Which are some of the most effective neck strengthening exercises?Here are some of the easiest and most effective neck strengthening exercises explained in detail:Neck glide: One of the most effective exercises to strengthen neck muscles, this helps in improving its flexibility.

  • Stand with your neck straight.
  • Slowly slide your chin forward.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this 10 times.

Trikonasana (Extended triangle pose): This is one of the best poses of yoga for strength and flexibility of the neck muscles and pain relief.Â

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Turn your right toe forward and your left toe at an angle.
  • Bring your arms parallel to the floor with your palms facing down.
  • Reach forward with your right arm as you lower your hips.
  • Lower your right arm and lift your left arm towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this pose for around 30 seconds as you do gentle neck rotations.
  • Repeat this neck strengthening exercise 5 times on each side.

Neck retraction exercise: This is one of the most effective cervical strengthening exercises that help in relieving your neck and back pain.

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position.
  • Take your head as far backward as you can.
  • Place your fingers in the front of your chin to help you push back your head.
  • Push back your head till the time you feel your back stretch and a ‘crowding’ sense in your throat.
  • Hold this retracted position for 2-3 seconds and return.
  • Repeat this 8-10 times and do 3-4 sets of this exercise.

Neck rotation: This is one of the most effective neck exercises for older people, especially those who suffer from arthritis.

  • Sit or stand comfortably and gently turn your head to the right.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and return to the centre.
  • Turn your head to the left and hold again.
  • Repeat 5 times on both sides.

Heel raise: This cervical strengthening exercise helps in eliminating neck and back pain by improving postural balance.

  • Stand straight behind a chair and spread your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift up your toes and stand on the balls of your feet. Hold this for 5-10 seconds.
  • Lower your heels to the floor.
  • Repeat 8-10 times.

Chair stand: This is one of the best neck stabilisation exercises that also exercises your spine.

  • Sit in a chair with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands on your thighs.
  • Exhale and slowly stand up.
  • Sit back slowly.
  • Repeat 8-10 times.

Dumbbell shrugs: This is one of the best strength training exercises that help in strengthening the muscles of your neck and back.

  • Stand straight and hold a dumbbell on each side with your palms facing in.
  • Shrug your shoulders towards your ears keeping your arms straight.
  • Hold for 8-10 seconds.
  • Lower shoulders to the start position and repeat 5-6 times.

Resisted neck flexion: This is one of the best neck strengthening exercises that makes your neck and shoulder muscles flexible.

  • Sit on the floor and place your hands on your forehead.
  • Flex your neck as you provide resistance with your hands.
  • Extend your neck to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 8-10 times.

What are some things to keep in mind while doing neck strengthening exercises?Here are some tips for doing neck strengthening exercises safely:

  • Never start neck and shoulder strengthening exercises without consulting your doctor.Â
  • Neck strengthening exercises with weights should not be overdone to avoid injury and fatigue.
  • Complicated exercises like Surya Namaskar and yoga for lower back pain must only be done under the guidance of a trainer. Doing these poses incorrectly may cause more harm than good.
  • Don’t do neck strengthening exercises if you are suffering from severe neck or shoulder pain. See a doctor instead.
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