Relieve your neck stresses with our new 6 step guide.
*DISCLAIMER In this video and article we do not attempt to treat ore cure any minor or serve neck injuries. This video and article is for information purposes and you use each exercise at your own risk.
- Turning your neck from side to side; just struggle-city
- Wrapping up work at the office; shoulders up to your ears
- Training in the gym; all trap work, no lats
We feel you, and you’re not the only one. The amount of clients walking through our Enterprise doors with restricted necks and dull headaches are never ending.
In this day and age, we’re stuck at our screens, getting more and more stressed. Mix this with regular unstructured weight training, and we’re left with tight, cramped, michelin man upper bodies.
We’ve made a handy little video to help guide your neck and shoulders to freedom. Let’s loosen up those muscles and prevent anymore tightness with these 6 exercises:
1. Floor Head Turns
Lie on your back and turn your head to the right 10 times, then to the left 10 times. Turn it as far as you comfortably can without causing any pain.
2. Lat Activation
Find a handle or bar a couple of feet higher than you, and attach a band to it. Rest your elbow in the band and ensure that your shoulder is locked back and down (pop your lat in your back pocket).
Squeeze your elbow down towards your hip, so that your lat is switched on and your trap’s switched off. Turn your torso towards that same hip for the added squeeze. Pause when you’re fully contracted and get those lats burning.
Make sure you’re pausing for 5 seconds on each rep, and repeat 10 times each side.
3. Neck Stretch
Hold a dumbbell (5-15kg) in your left hand, and bring your shoulders back and down to ensure lat engagement. Pull your right ear towards your right shoulder and enjoy the gentle stretch across your left trap and neck. Do this 10 times and repeat on the opposite side.
Hanging from a bar, the aim is to stretch the body from your fingers down to your toes. Keeping your chin in and pushing your lats forwards, aim to hold the stretch for 60 seconds. If you’re struggling to hang unsupported, rest your feet on a box. The tighter you are, the more support you’ll need.
It’s important to strengthen your upper back to help support your shoulders, and take the pressure off your traps. Lie on your front with your arms out to the side, holding two (very) light dumbbells (just like a T).
With your forehead on the floor, straight arms and palms facing down, lift your arms off the floor and gently lower the dumbbells back to the floor. Imagine your lying on a thin sheet of ice and you can’t break it.
Aim for 10 sets of 10 reps throughout the day in order to adapt your movement patterns.
6. Weighted Dislocates
*Disclaimer: This is people who are more advanced in their strength and mobility
Kill two birds with one stone – mobilise and stabilise the shoulders in one.
Grab a broomstick and place a plate in the centre of it; aim between 1-3kg (if you’re a beginner, start just with the stick). Holding the stick with straight arms down by your hips.
Protract your shoulders and move the stick up and overhead. Make sure your hips stay pushed in and your ribs stay down. Bring your arms overhead and behind you; remember to retract your shoulders and keep your hips pushed in.
Your hands should be placed in a position where you can comfortably rotate your arms. If the stick isn’t long enough, start with a long elasticated band.
Work these 6 exercises into your daily routine to get rid of those neck and shoulder niggles!