It has often made me wonder why people do not do any strengthening for their necks. The neck is just like the rest of the spine and it must be stronger. After all, the average head weighs about 10-11 pounds. Try carrying that around all day with a weak neck and you’ll know why peoples head posture keeps going further and further forward. Now there is probably a stigma about not doing anything for the neck so that you don’t hurt it, but the exact opposite is true. If you don’t do anything to strengthen it, then you probably will end up injuring your neck. Also, don’t worry about looking like a linebacker in football, the chances of building a neck like that are unlikely without really trying for it.
There are two very simple tests that you can do to be able to test out your neck strength and posture overall.
- The Deep Cervical Flexor Endurance Test
- As you can see in the picture below start by lying on your back on a firm surface
- Tuck your chin down towards your chest
- Next you want to lift the back of the head off of the surface you are on about 1 inch
- Once here your head should not change position. This can be tough to tell on your own, but any skilled physical therapist should be able to help you with your form
- Normal Values:
- Women: 29.4 seconds
- Men: 38.9 seconds
- Prone Cobra
- With this one you will start off on your stomach, again on a firm surface
- You will start with your head down and palms facing up
- The following movements will occur simultaneously
- Lifting your head while keeping your chin tucked
- Pick up your chest while squeezing shoulder blades straight back
- Rotating your arms to try and turn your thumbs up toward the ceiling
- Normal Values:
- Women and Men: 3:00
Now it is your turn. Grab a time, get down and try them. Do not be surprised by spontaneous shaking from having a whole lot of new muscles working. Waking them up is the goal and if you are not at the norms start a little smaller. Holding for 10 seconds, 10 repetitions is a great place to start and build from.
There are certainly a lot of other things that can be done for the neck. The easiest of which would be some isometrics where you keep your head in good posture and push on one side and then switch to the other. You can use the same 10 second, 10 repetition count as above and progress from there. This way you get all planes of the neck. These should be enough for everyday strength, but if you are talking athletes that will be for a different blog. For now keep up with the above and you will have a neck that can support your head and be well ahead of 99% of the population.
For those of you who are looking for a little more info on preventing neck pain then check out our Free Neck Pain Video Course. Through the course and following the steps above you will be well on your way to keeping your neck strong healthy for years to come.
If you are ready to get started right away then do not hesitate to give a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
That’s all for now! Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below and if you sign up for a course you will be able to get to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!