Best Neck Strengthening Exercises

1. Chin Tuck

Chin tuck is the most effective exercise to improve your posture and combat neck pain. Being absolutely safe, this exercise is appropriate for beginners. It aims at strengthening the front and back of your neck at the same time. Start off by standing with your back and neck straight and your arms at your sides. Your eyes should be facing forward. Now gently lower the chin, so that you feel the stretch at the back of your neck. Stay in this position for 3 to 5 seconds and then raise your chin to the starting position. Perform at least 10 repetitions.

2. Back Burn

Start off by standing with your back against a flat wall and your feet about 4 inches away from the bottom of the wall. Your back of the head should be against the wall. Now place your elbows, forearms and back of the hands and fingers on the wall, keeping your wrists at about shoulder level. Your arms, hands, head, and fingers should be touching the wall and while doing so, slowly slide your hands up above your head and back down. At least 10 repetitions are advisable.

3. Rotational Resistance

Start off by placing one hand at the side of your head. While in this position, try to rotate your head to the side towards your shoulder. As in the case of lateral resistance, press your head with your hand to resist the move trying to bring your shoulder in line with your chin. Once this position is reached, hold it for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat the move with the other side.

4. Shoulder Blade Squeeze

This exercise might sound as if it is meant for strengthening your shoulders and back but it is beneficial for your neck as well. The squeezing motion involved in this exercise activates the muscles that connect your neck to your shoulders, thus helping to strengthen the lower portion of the back of your neck. This exercise can be done while sitting or standing. Your back and your neck should be kept straight. Now tuck your chin slightly and squeeze your shoulder blades as far as possible without feeling any pain. Stay in this position for 5 seconds and perform at least 10 repetitions.

5. Prone Cobra

Start off, lie on the floor with your face down, placing your forehead on rolled up hand towel for support. Your arms should be placed at the sides and palms down on the floor. Now place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. This will help in stabilizing the muscles in the front of your neck to assist the strengthening process. Pinching your shoulder blades together, lift your hands off the floor. Roll elbows in with your palms out and thumbs up. After this, gently lift your forehead about an inch off the towel while eyes should be kept looking straight at the floor. Do not try to tip your head back or look forward. Stay in this position for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions of this move.

6. Neck Plate Curls

Start off by lying down frontwards on a bench. Your head should be hanging over the edge with your shoulders aligned at the end of the bench. Tightly hold a light weight at the back of your head with both your hands. Now slowly tilt your head upward and lower it back down. Repeat the move.

7. Neck Harness

Start off by lying down on a platform such as a bench, facing downwards while your upper body should be raised high. Now slowly lift your neck up such that you are looking upwards and then look back down. For strengthening the front of your neck, this exercise can be done by lying down and facing upwards with your back on the bench instead. Alternatively, it can be done by standing up with knees bent and hands on thighs or sitting.

8. Towel Exercise

Start off with your feet apart and wrap the towel behind your face at the base of your hairline. Holding the ends of the towel in each hand, bring your chin down towards the chest. The towel should be held tightly to create resistance for the neck. Now lift up your head. Continue to raise and lower your head.

9. Headstand

Start off by placing a pillow or something soft yet firm next to a door and then kneel down to put your head on the pillow. While staying in this position, swing your legs up against the door. Basically you have to rest upside down and then return to the starting position.

10. Side Stretch

Stand upright, and tilt your head to the left slowly, as if you are trying to touch your shoulder with your ear. Hold the position for a second and then return to the normal position. Repeat the same exercise on the other side and follow the routine till necessary.

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