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Neck Exercises Blog, A Guide to a Better Neck Posture

Hello and welcome to Neck Exercises. I am glad you want to take care of your neck. Whether you have neck pain, tension, stress or discomfort, neck exercises can help. Making small adjustments each day to include neck exercises, stretch exercises, or a neck workout, will gradually improve your neck health and quality of life. Let's get started!

Arm Behind Your Back Stretch Exercises

Are you feeling tightness in your chest and the front of
your shoulders while working on the computer? Do you ever feel you need to do
some stretch exercises in these areas after a long and tiring day? Or do you
want to improve your posture and bring your shoulders back with neck exercises?
All of these can be accomplished with arm behind your back stretch exercises.

These arms behind your back stretch exercises will work on
your front chest muscle pectoralis major and your shoulder muscles anterior and
middle deltoids. You will also be strengthening your rhomboids while doing
shoulder blade pinches. These arms behind your back stretch exercises will help
relax your shoulders by strengthening your lower trapezius muscles. Other
muscles that may feel being stretched out are the levator scapulae (neck),
pectoralis minor (chest), supraspinatus (top of shoulder), serratus anterior
(rib cage) and coracobrachialis (inside of upper arm).

These arms behind your back stretch exercises can be done
sitting or standing. The best way to feel the stretch is standing up straight. When
bringing your arm behind your back, avoid bending forward or you will lose the
stretch at your chest. These arm behind your back stretch exercises works on
your shoulder and arm range of motions. Let’s begin with this standing arm
behind your back stretch exercises!

Standing Position:

  • Feet shoulder width apart
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Your hips and pelvis should be pointing forward
  • Have your chest up and out towards the wall
  • Relax your shoulders down
  • Pinch your shoulder blades together
  • Perform a chin tuck by bring your chin back towards your
    shoulder blades
  • Relax y our jaw
  • Look straight ahead

Arm Behind Your Back Stretch Exercises:

  • Breathe in
  • Raise your right arm behind your back
  • Bend your right elbow up to 90 degrees
  • Place the back of your right hand on your back
  • With your left hand, hold on to your right elbow
  • Breathe out
  • Using your left hand, guide your right arm across your back
    and up towards your shoulders
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Relax and switch arms to stretch the left side

You should feel various muscles stretched but no pain in any
direction. Only bring your arm up as far up your back to feel a stretch. You
can adjust bring your arm across by holding on to your wrist instead of your
elbow. You will feel the extra stretch by focusing on pinching your shoulder
blades together. Overall, this arm behind the back stretch exercises should
give you more range of motions in the shoulders and arms as well as relieve
neck tension and improve posture. Avoid any over stretching with this stretch
exercise. Other stretch exercises will be described at a later time.

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Over Head Triceps Stretch Exercises

When you are standing, do you ever feel you need to stretch the back of your arms or triceps? How about stretching the chest while you are bringing your arm up and over your head? Today, I’ll go over the over the head triceps stretch exercises.

These over head triceps stretch exercises not only help stretch the triceps out but works on improving your posture. These are good neck exercises as well for the chest muscles to improve your posture and reduce neck tension. Your neck can also feel relief when the upper trapezius muscles are relaxed with these stretch exercises.

These elbow extensors or triceps stretch exercises actually stretches more than just the triceps. When you bring your arm up and over your head, you actually stretch latissimus dorsi, teres major and minor and posterior deltoid. When you bring your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades, you actually stretch the pectoralis major and minor. These over head triceps stretch exercises are great for when you are taking breaks at the office or school.

These over head triceps stretch exercises can be done sitting or standing. When you do these sitting you have a good back support but may not feel the stretch as much. A compensation that is seen with these stretch exercises is to arch your back when you bring your arms back. You will have better control and balance when sitting. I’ll be describing these over head triceps stretch exercises in standing.

Standing Position:

  • Feet shoulder width apart
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Your pelvis tucked in where your tailbone is pointing to the opposite wall in front of you
  • Tighten your abs or stomach muscles as if there were a belt around you
  • Your chest up and pointing in the direction of the wall in front of you
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Perform a chin tuck where your chin is drawn back towards your shoulder blades
  • Relax your jaw
  • Keep your eyes level and straight ahead

Over Head Triceps Stretch Exercises:

  • Breathe in
  • Raise your right arm up so that your arm is near your right ear
  • Bend your right elbow and have your forearm go behind your head
  • Your right elbow should be pointing up towards the ceiling
  • Your right palm should try to reach towards your left shoulder blade
  • Take your left hand and place it on your right elbow
  • Breathe out
  • Gently bring your right elbow towards your left shoulder
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Slowly bring your right arm back to the start position
  • Reverse directions to stretch your left triceps

You should feel a stretch feeling in your chest, triceps and in the back. There should be no pain or numbness or tingling while doing these stretch exercises. Be sure to keep your shoulders down with these neck exercises. After these over head triceps stretch exercises, you can do other neck exercises to reduce any neck tension or stiffness. When your chest is stretched out, you can keep your shoulders back and maintain good posture. Other triceps exercises will be described at a later time.

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Neck Flexor Stretch Exercises

Ever feel that the front of your neck may need stretching? Are you looking up at the ceiling a lot? Do you ever lean back in your chair and bring your head back to look up at the ceiling? Why not add front neck stretch exercises to your daily routine? Doing neck flexor stretch exercises will help to relieve neck tension and keep your head flexible. 

Not sure if you have the time to do stretch exercises in your day? I’m pretty sure you do the motions of bringing your head back, now just add a bit of pressure as part of neck exercises. So simple to do and no one knows you are actually doing a stretch. These stretch exercises can’t get any easier than this.

The front neck muscles that are used in these stretch exercises are the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and scalene. These two front neck muscles help to bring your chin towards your chest. The neck muscles that help bring the head back are longissimus capitis, semispinalis capitis and splenius capitis. These are small neck muscles in the back and side of your head. 

These neck flexors or front neck muscle stretch exercises can be done sitting or standing. Some may feel these stretch exercises more when sitting. The reason being is that when looking up, you are not worried about losing your balance and falling backwards. I’ll describe these neck flexor stretch exercises in sitting. Let’s begin!

Sitting Position:

  • Feet flat on the floor
  • Sit up in the chair
  • Rest your hands by your side
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Be sure to bring your chin back towards your shoulders
  • Your eyes should be looking straight ahead

Neck Flexor Stretch Exercises:

  • Breathe in
  • Interlock your fingers together
  • Tilt your head back and have your chin point towards the ceiling
  • Place the palms of your hands on to your forehead
  • Press your hands gently down onto your head 
  • Breathe out
  • Hold for 10 seconds
  • Bring your head back to the starting position
  • Repeat 3 times

Be sure to avoid raising your shoulders with this neck exercise.  You also want to have you mouth closed for these stretch exercises. If your mouth is open, you will lose the effect of the stretch. There should be no pain with any stretch exercises. If you begin to feel dizzy, don’t tilt your head back as much. The standing position will be described at a later time. 

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Rhomboid Stretch Exercises

Ever feel that your mid back needs to be stretched? Do you feel the muscles in between your shoulder blades are tight? Then let’s do some stretch exercises for your rhomboids. I felt a good stretch in my rhomboids after giving my 1 year old son a tight hug. It’s like getting a big bear hug but as a stretch.

The hug me or bear hug stretch exercises focuses on the rhomboids mainly as well as middle trapezius, latissimus and posterior deltoids. Other muscles that are stretched are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres major and minor. These particular stretch exercises with the rhomboids targets both the major and minor muscle parts. 

These rhomboid muscles start from the cervical spinous process of C7 and down to thoracic spinous process T7. They attach along the medial border of the shoulder blade from the top of the scapula spine down to the inferior angle. The motions the rhomboids are responsible for are bringing the shoulder blades together (retraction) and a downward rotation of the scapula (shoulder blade). The rhomboid muscles named mainly for the shape by how the muscle fibers run obliquely and downward.

The rhomboid stretch exercises will be described in a standing position. These stretch exercises along with other neck exercises will help reduce neck tension, stress and pain. This stretch will help loosen the muscles in the mid back and keep your mid back flexible. Rhomboids also help in maintaining good posture.

Standing Position:

Start with your feet shoulder width apart

Knees slightly bent

Pelvis tucked in 

Stomach taught

Your chest towards the wall

Shoulders and arms relaxed

Your chin back like a chin tuck

Your head level 

Eyes looking straight ahead

Rhomboid Stretch Exercise:

Take a breath in

Bring your right arm up and place your right hand on your left shoulder blade

Bring your left arm up and around your body 

Place your left hand on the right shoulder blade

Breathe out and give yourself a squeeze

You can bring your chin and head down towards your elbows

Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times

There should be no pain with these stretch exercises. You should feel in the middle of your back a stretch. You can try to bring your shoulder blades apart more by trying to bring them forward with more pressure. Don’t forget to breathe on this stretch. Other rhomboid stretch exercises will be described at a later time.

In the mean time, enjoy other mid back neck exercises from the blog:

Shoulder Blade Pinches

Shoulder Blade Pinches Alternative

Relieve Tension with Shoulder Blades Neck Exercises

Lower Cervical / Upper Thoracic Stretch Exercises

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Levator Scapulae Muscle Stretch Exercises

Are you feeling tightness in the back of your neck while talking on the phone? Do you tend to lift your shoulder and tilting your head while holding the phone up at the office? Are you unable to turn your head without pain? The neck muscle that may be causing pain is the levator scapula. To undo the neck stress and tension build up, perform the levator scapula stretch exercises.

The levator scapula attaches to the first four cervical vertebrae of the spine and attaches to the top corner of the scapula. The motions that the levator scapulae are responsible for are shoulder elevation (combined with the upper trapezius muscle) and inward rotation of the scapula. The attachment on the neck also causes neck rotation when the scapula is not moving. 

When doing the levator scapula stretch exercises combined with neck exercises such as shoulder shrugs and sitting head rotations will relieve neck tension. By relieving the neck tightness or neck stiffness, this will keep your neck flexible and mobile.  The levator scapula stretch exercises will be described in a sitting position. 

Sitting Position:

Feet flat on the floor

Relax your shoulders

Bring your chin back towards your shoulders like a chin tuck

Eyes looking straight ahead

Levator Scapulae Stretch Exercises: (Left side)

Take a breath in

Raise your right arm up and place your right palm on your right shoulder blade

Turn your chin towards your left hip

Raise your left arm up and place your left palm on the top of your head

Gently guide your left hand to bring your chin down towards your left underarm

Breathe out

Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times

You should feel a stretch in the back of the neck

Reverse directions for stretching the right side

When doing these levator stretch exercises, be sure to remember to breathe. If you begin to get dizzy, try just turning your head a little bit less when you bring your head down.  You also want to make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed. By performing these levator scapula stretch exercises, your neck should be more flexible and pain free. 

Other stretch exercises from the blog:

Upper Trapezius

Sitting Upper Trapezius

Towel Stretch for Trapezius

Behind the Head

Other related information:

 

neck muscles most responsible for your stiff neck and trigger … – levator scapulae that dreaded stiff neck is most often caused by a neck muscle called the levator scapulae. this muscle attaches to the sides of the 1st 4 cervical vertebrae (c1, c2, c3, and c4) or transverse processes and connects to …

 

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Behind the Head Stretch Exercises

Ever feel the back of your neck tight while looking down? Are you able to bring your chin towards your chest without pain? Here’s a good neck exercise to do for the back of the head. The neck extensor stretch exercises are great to loosen the small muscles in the back of the neck. This behind the head stretch exercises is also good for those who golf and want to be able to look down at the ball without pain.

This neck extensor stretch with the following lower cervical / upper thoracic and bicep / chest stretch exercises are a great neck exercises warm up. For a more complete neck workout be sure to include the chin down semi circle, shoulder shrugs and neck rotations. These exercises for neck will make looking down easier and pain free.

The behind the head or neck extensor stretch exercises can be done sitting or standing. I’ll describe these behind the head stretch exercises standing. You want to stand upright with your feet shoulders width apart, knees slightly bent, your shoulders relaxed, bring your chin towards back for a chin tuck and look straight ahead. Interlock your fingers and place your palms on the top part of the back of your head. Your elbows should be open towards the front and pinch your shoulder blades together. 

Take a breath in and slowly exhale while bringing your chin towards your chest. As you bring your chin down, have your hands guide your head down. Let your elbows come in towards your ears and let your shoulder blades separate from each other. Hold this position 30 seconds. Slowly bring your head back up and return to the starting position. Repeat this behind the head stretch exercises three times.

Be sure to keep your shoulders down while performing these stretch exercises otherwise you will lose the tension in the back of the neck. When you bring your head forward and down with your hands do so gently without straining the back of the neck. You should feel tension behind your head and neck release and dissipate. There should be no pain with any neck exercises or stretch exercises. 

Try this neck extensor stretch exercises and see if this improves your golf game. At the very least, you should be able to relieve neck tension and keep your neck flexible. I’ll describe other neck exercises to help with the golf game later on.

 

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Upper Trapezius Stretch Exercises

 

Have you been feeling tension in your shoulders lately? Or have you been carrying heavy bags on your shoulders? You may be experiencing tightness in your upper trapezius muscles that can elevate your shoulders to your ears. Stress and tension can affect both the neck and shoulder areas unless they are relieved. Doing stretch exercises will help reduce head and neck tension. The upper trapezius stretch exercises will help loosen up the neck and shoulder muscles to be more flexible.

The upper trapezius stretch exercise along with shoulder shrugs, shoulder rolls, shoulder blade pinches and chin tucks are a great neck workout to do for quick breaks. These neck exercises will help to reduce neck tension as well as improve posture. The upper trapezius stretch exercises can be done sitting or standing.  I’ll describe the upper trapezius stretch exercises in sitting with good posture.

It would be best if you have a supportive chair for your back. Sit straight up in the chair, your feet flat on the floor, your shoulders relaxed, your arms to your sides, your chin tucked, and your eyes looking straight ahead. 

I will describe how to do the upper trapezius stretch exercises for the left side of the neck.

Begin by taking a breath in and bringing your right arm up and placing your right palm on top of your head. Your fingers are pointing towards your left ear. Gently bring your right ear towards the right shoulder. The right hand should gently follow and guide your head to hold this position. Hold this position for 30 seconds and breathe out. You should feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Return back to the starting position and repeat three times. Switch sides to do the right upper trapezius stretch exercises

You want to feel a nice stretch with these stretch exercises. You will find that you are able to bring your head and ear closer to the shoulder after each repetition. You want to be sure that your eyes are still looking at the wall straight ahead and that your chin does not turn towards your shoulder. There should be no pain with any of these stretch exercises. Other upper trapezius neck exercises will be described at a later time.

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Lying Down Chest Stretch Exercises with Towel

Do you feel hunched over? Do your shoulders roll forward and your chest caves in? Let’s reverse the forward hunch posture and open up your chest area out by doing stretch exercises. These chest stretch exercises focus on the pectoralis muscles especially the pectoralis minor. This stretch exercise will lengthen your muscles in the front and shorten the muscles in the shoulder blade area. These towel stretch exercises will also help with mobility of the spine especially the thoracic spine.

I like to have you start off with a rolled up towel, either a beach or bath towel. The towel should be folded in half length wise and then tightly rolled up. You can put string or rubber bands to hold the towel from unrolling. This towel will be underneath you when you lie down to do these stretch exercises. The towel should be along your spine from the base of your head down the middle of the spine towards your low back. 

These towel chest stretch exercises are best done on the floor. To position yourself for these stretch exercises, the main part of the towel needs to be under your mid back spine area. The back of your head also should be on the towel. Your feet flat on the floor, knees bent, your back pressed up against the towel, the back of your hands touching the floor, your chin tucked and towards the towel and eyes looking straight up at the ceiling.

Take a breath in and let your arms touch the floor where your fingers are going towards your feet. Press your shoulders back and perform a shoulder blade pinch. Maintain your chin tuck position and breathe out. Hold this position for one minute. Relax by crossing your arms across your chest. Repeat these chest stretch exercises three times. These stretch exercises will help to improve your posture and relieve neck tension.

Once you complete these stretch exercises, slowly rise up to avoid the blood flow rushing towards your feet and become dizzy. You will feel a stretching sensation throughout your chest and arms. There should be no pain with these or any neck exercises given. You can also do this neck exercise with a foam roll. Other towel stretch exercises will be described at a later time.  

 

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Stretch Exercises: Biceps/Chest Stretch

We tend to do everything in front of us, whether at the computer, driving, cooking, etc. How do we counteract the overuse of the front muscles? We reverse the front position by performing stretch exercises of the front muscles specifically with this neck exercise of the chest and the bicep muscles. Our chest muscles mainly the pectoralis muscles bring our shoulders and head forward. The biceps tend to tighten up with the rounded position. This biceps/chest stretch with the lower cervical/upper thoracic stretch is great stretch exercises to help with reduce the forward head and rounded shoulder posture. These stretch exercises will also help alleviate the neck tension and stress.

The biceps/chest stretch exercises are best to do when standing. You want to start by standing up straight, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, shoulders relaxed, do a chin tuck, and look straight ahead. Your fingers will be interlocked and palms together behind your back. Be sure to have your elbows straight. 

Take a breath in, perform a shoulder blade pinch, and slowly raise your hands away from your body. You should feel the stretch exercises in your chest and biceps. Breathe out and hold this position for 30 seconds.  Repeat this neck exercise three times. To feel the bicep stretch more bring your chin down towards your chest, look towards the floor while bringing your arms away more from your body. Be sure not to swing or bounce your arms while doing this stretch exercises.

There should be no pain or any feelings of numbness or tingling with these stretch exercises. By performing this stretch along with other neck exercises will keep your neck tension down and improve your posture. By opening up your chest muscles will help to breathe as well. 

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Stretch Exercises: Lower Cervical / Upper Thoracic Spine Stretch

Feeling some tightness along the lower part of your neck and upper back? Feel like you need to feel a “pop” or release some tension there? I’ll show you some stretch exercises that you can do to help relieve neck and upper back tension. The focus will be on the lower part of your neck and upper back. These stretch exercises will help loosen the muscles and keep your neck more flexible.

The lower cervical and upper thoracic spine stretch will focus on the muscles from the back of your head all the way to where your shoulder blades are. This stretch exercise will also help keep the spine mobile when stiff. This neck exercise you can do either sitting or standing. I’ll start you off when you are sitting for these stretch exercises.

Sit up tall, feet on the floor, shoulders in a relaxed position, your arms are by your side, perform a chin tuck, and have your eyes look straight ahead. Bring your hands in front of you and interlock your fingers together and have your palms touch each other. Keep your arms straight in front of you near your lap. This is your starting position.

Take a breath in. While breathing out, slowly bring your chin towards your chest and have your arms rise from your lap. Focus on spreading your shoulder blades away from each other. Have your arms be at angle close to 45 degrees, where your hands are pointing down towards the floor. Be sure to have your eyes focus on your outstretched hands. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Release the position and bring your head back up and arms back down to your lap. Repeat these stretch exercises three times.

You should start to feel a warm and stretching feeling along the back of your neck towards your shoulder blades. Readjust yourself if you are feeling pain. Slowly raise your head up to avoid any dizziness that may occur. Be sure not to hold your breath while doing this stretch exercise.

When doing these stretch exercises standing, be sure that your feet are shoulder width apart and that your knees have a slight bend to them. Perform everything the same as above. There should be no pain when you perform these neck exercises

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