Exercises to increase your neck strength

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Your neck is responsible for keeping your head upright on your shoulders. It is an extension of your back, with vertebrae making up the skeleton. Like your back, your neck is made up of muscles to support these vertebrae.

Your neck is very vulnerable. From something as simple as turning your head to whiplash can cause serious injury to your neck. You can, however, exercise the muscles and neck to be stronger and less vulnerable to injury.

Chin tuck

When trying this exercise for the first time, it is recommended that you stand with your spine against a door jamb and place your feet about seven centimetres from it. Keeping your spine against the door jamb, pull your upper back and head back until it touches this part of the door. Keep your chin down so that your head is pulled straight back. Hold your head against the door jamb for a few seconds and return to starting position.

Once you are comfortable doing the exercise with the door jamb, you can try to do the chin tuck without the door jamb for support.

Prone cobra

Lie face down on the floor. Put your forehead on a rolled-up hand towel. Put your arms at your side with your palms on the floor. Putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth will help to stabilise the muscles in the front of your neck. Pinch your shoulder blades together and lift your hands off the floor. Roll your elbows in, palms out and your thumbs up. Lift your forehead off the towel, keeping your head straight to the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds and return to the starting position.

Back burn

Stand with your back against a flat wall. Place your feet about eight centimetres out from the wall. Put your head against the wall as you would with the chin tuck and try to flatten your lower back against the wall. Put your elbows, forearms and the back of your hands on the wall with your wrists at shoulder level. Keeping the rest of your body in position, bring your hands up above your head and down again.

Rotational resistance

Put one hand on the side of your head. Try to rotate your head towards your shoulder. Press your head with your hand to resist the move. Try to bring your shoulder in line with your chin. When you have reached your shoulder with your chin, hold the position for a few seconds while still providing resistance. Return to your beginning position and, after you’ve done this, repeat the exercise on the other side.

You can try different exercises to make your neck stronger. A stronger neck not only means that your head is supported better, but reduces the risks of injuring your neck. You can try something as simple as turning your head from side to side to start with and build up to more complicated exercises.

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