Neck Exercises For Improved Strength And Flexibility
The neck is often a neglected part of the body when exercising. While some exercises target the neck indirectly, these are some exercises you can do that will directly strengthen the neck.
Neck Exercises to improve neck flexibility:
Injuries to the neck are fairly common. To reduce your risk, it is just as important to strengthen your neck as it is to keep your neck muscles flexible, to decrease the chances of injury. It is recommended to stretch every morning. You will be amazed how much better you feel physically when you create this habit.
The first stretching exercise you should do is neck rolls. You can do neck rolls standing up or sitting down.
1) Roll your neck in a clockwise fashion for a few revolutions (full 360 degrees neck roll). Then, roll your neck in a counterclockwise fashion for a few revolutions.
2) Turn your neck to the side. Then turn your neck to the other side. Then turn your neck downward toward your chest. Then lift your neck so that you are looking up at the ceiling and then as far behind you as you can (in other words, lift your chin as far up as you can so that your face is parallel to the ground).
These neck stretching exercises will only take a minute or two.
Neck Exercises to strengthen your neck muscles:
For this exercise, you want to use an exercise bench (or you can use your bed). The exercise works better if you have a hard surface such as an exercise bench, but it will still work with a bed.
Lie down on the exercise bench (or your bed) so that your head (and only your head) is hanging over the edge. Begin by lying face down (your stomach should be touching the bench or the bed). The reason this exercise works better with a harder surface is that it helps you to isolate your neck muscles when doing this neck exercise.
With just your head leaning over the edge of the bench, slowly lift your head up as far as you can while keeping your body still. Then let your head fall as far down toward the ground as you can. Repeat this 8 - 10 times - lift the head as high as you can toward the ceiling then lower your head as far as you can to the ground.
Once you have down this 8 - 10 times, reverse the position of your body so that you are now lying on your back with just your head leaning over the edge of the bench (or your bed). Do as you did before - lift your head as high as you can while keeping the rest of your body still. Then drop the head as far down to the ground. Repeat this 8 - 10 times.
Working the sides of the neck - Lie on your stomach again with just your head leaning over the edge of the bench. Now lift your head and look to the right side. Then look to your left side. Repeat this 8 - 10 times (looking to your right side then your left side). Remember, move only your neck - keep the rest of your body still while doing this neck exercise.
Tips to Get Better Results:
You can get better results with this exercise by lifting your neck slowly and by holding your head at the top of the position. For example, lift your head slowly, then hold your head at the top position for 5 seconds or longer. You will start to feel a burn in the targeted area. Never try to jerk your neck.
You can build up to more repetitions if this neck exercise gets too easy for you.
The Full Squat Exercise for the Neck
If you want to bulk up the neck muscles (gain size), the full squat is one of the best exercises you can do. The full squat indirectly works the neck muscles and the trapezius muscles (along with other upper body muscles). Those athletes who do regular squat exercises with weights usually have very large necks. Think of how large the necks are on NFL players. Those athletes squat heavily. If you have a "pencil neck" and are looking to bulk up your neck, the full squat exercise will do help a great deal. An alternative exercise would be the deadlift, although the squat is the better exercise for bulking up your neck.
Using Equipment for Neck Exercises
There are some products that allow you to exercise the neck muscles. If you really want to bulk up your neck a bit. You can find them at your local sports store.