The 4 Best Exercises to Strengthen your Neck

8th November 2019
Do you want to know how to strengthen your neck? Up next, we'll show you some of the best exercises. 

Nowadays, there are lots of people who go to the physiotherapist for neck pain. However, very few know the benefits of strengthening the muscles in this area, which suffers frequently. In this article, we hope to answer any questions about training the muscles that surround the cervical area and we’ll describe the best exercises to strengthen the neck.

Why should we train the neck?

Generally, we don’t give neck muscle training the importance it requires. This region is usually neglected within training routines, regardless of our fitness level or physical condition. At times, even top coaches or Olympic medalists exclude this from their training programs.

Best exercises to strengthen your neck

This area is made up of about a dozen muscles deployed on top of each other. To achieve good stability, it’s necessary that these muscles are in good condition. At the same time, training these muscles will help improve the functioning of our shoulder musculature and enhance our breathing.

The strengthening of the neck musculature brings with it a series of benefits, which, above all, aim to prevent the development of different pathologies. These are some of the benefits:

  • As we all know, the neck functions as a conduit through which nerve impulses go from the spinal cord to the brain. These impulses can be impaired by a bad state of the neck muscles, especially when they’re weak or easily fatigued. Hence, strengthening the muscles will be essential to walk properly and have a good balance. 
  • Likewise, it’s good to have strong muscles around the jaw to prevent certain injuries.
  • As we discussed earlier, a strong neck is also related to proper breathing.
Strengthening the neck muscles can improve your balance.
Image: hogarmania.com

The key exercises to strengthen the neck

We’ll now show you a series of very simple exercises that contribute to training the muscles in your neck:

Back and forth isometric exercises

  • Initial position: neck and head in a neutral position – standing, with your head up and facing forward. Place both hands on the frontal area of the head.
  • Execution: it’s an isometric exercise in which you’ll push forward when you contract the neck muscles and resist the movement of the head with the hands.
  • Time: 20 seconds of execution and 45 seconds of rest.

Side to side isometric exercises: best exercises to strengthen your neck

  • Initial position: with your neck and head in a neutral position, place the right hand on the right side of your head.
  • Execution: push very gently to the right, contracting the neck muscles at the same time. Your hand will simply act as resistance to the tension in your neck. Do it progressively on both sides.
  • Time: 3 sets of 20 seconds on each side, with 45 seconds of rest between sets.
Isometric exercises are key.

Facedown lifts with disc

  • Starting position: while lying on your stomach with your whole body resting on a bench, hold a lightweight disc behind your head. The head, neck, and upper chest should not be in contact with the bench.
  • Execution: hold the disc behind your head and lower your head as if you were nodding. Then, lift your head back, returning to the starting position. The contraction must be maintained for a second.
  • Time: 3 sets of 12 repetitions, each with a 1-minute rest. You can vary the weight.
Strengthening the neck can prevent certain injuries.

Face-up lifts with disc

  • Initial position: same as the previous exercise, but face up.
  • Execution: while holding the disc on your forehead, gently lower the head back, performing an almost circular movement. Subsequently, return to the initial position by undoing the previous movement and maintaining the contraction for at least one second.
  • Time: 3 sets of 12 repetitions each with 1 minute of rest in between. The weight can vary if you consider it appropriate.

Conclusions

With proper training and the right execution of these exercises to strengthen the neck, you’ll see a great improvement that a strong and healthy cervical spine can cause. These exercises don’t demand much time in your daily routine. However, the benefits substantially improve your quality of life. Try these exercises and commit to having a strong and stable neck!

  • Croft, P., Lewis, M., Papageorgiou, A., Thomas, E., Jayson, M., Macfarlane, G. and Silman, A. (2001). Risk factors for neck pain: a longitudinal study in the general population. Pain, 93(3), pp.317-325.
  • Ylinen, J., Wirén, K. and Häkkinen, A. (2007). Stretching exercises vs manual therapy in treatment of chronic neck pain: a randomized, controlled cross-over trial. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 39(2), pp.126-132.