An important element of the human body, the neck is also one of the most fragile parts. Strengthening your neck muscles contributes to your good health. To find out how, follow our guide.
Essentially, the neck is a visible part of your body. In this regard, it should be properly maintained. A strong neck helps support the head and protect the spine. It also helps improve your posture. But we must not forget that this part of the body is fragile. Therefore, it is important to gradually strengthen it and by following the right bodybuilding exercises.
Know Your Anatomy: What Are Neck Muscles?
Many muscles cover the neck. They are attached to the skull, cervical vertebrae and collarbones. Mostly in the form of a strap, they allow for mobility of the head. The neck acts as a messenger that warns us when the body begins to tire. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to it in the case of a physical activity consisting in strengthening one’s muscles. Some of the neck muscles include:
- the sternocleidomastoid muscle: located between the clavicle and the base of the ear;
- the mastoid: it is located under the skull, at the base of the ear which acts as a hook for the top of the sternocleidomastoid muscle;
- the mandible: constitutes the chin bone;
- the trapezius muscle: diamond-shaped that covers the nape, shoulder and upper back;
- the hyoid bone: located in the anterior part of the neck;
- the collarbones: placed on the top of the shoulders, at the base of the neck.
How to build your neck?
If you want to venture into direct neck training, we strongly recommend that you always start with a short neck warm-up to stretch the many muscles involved and get some blood to flow to the area. The following heating will suffice:
- Shrug your shoulders 15 to 20 times without weights, up and down, down and up.
- Bring your chin to your chest and hold this position for 15-20 seconds.
- Tilt your head back, looking straight up at the sky or ceiling, and hold this position for 15-20 seconds.
- Turn your head as far to the left as possible and hold this position for 15-20 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
- Lower your ear to your left shoulder (you can pull it lightly with your hand for better stretch) and hold this position for 15-20 seconds. Repeat once more on the other side.
What precautions should you take before strengthening your neck?
A badly maintained neck can cause all sorts of complications: muscle stiffness, stiff neck, cervical arthrosis, herniated disc, cervical sprain … If you are going to strengthen the neck muscles, you should take some measures to prevent the risks as much as possible:
- At the beginner level, it’s best to realize a series of each movement for about 15-20 repetitions. More advanced athletes can perform up to three sets of each exercise and do only 10 repetitions with increased resistance.
- The neck can be trained up to twice a week, but always with at least 2 days of rest between sessions.
- Since the neck can be easily stretched, it is best to perform each movement in a slow, steady pace, without momentum or jolt.
- If your neck is particularly weak, you can do these exercises without weights and simply apply light pressure on your head with one of your hands.
- Once the routine is complete, it is helpful to repeat the stretches from the beginning to help the neck muscles relax and recover.
To learn more, you can check out our article on beginner mistakes to avoid.
Our tips for relaxing your neck
To protect yourself as much as possible from neck pain, nothing replaces exercises aimed at strengthening the neck. If necessary, you can always perform simple movements that will help relax your neck:
- Stretch your neck muscles by passing your hands behind your neck. Then pull on each side to relax the muscles.
- One manual massage of the neck is also an excellent alternative for relieving neck pain. The gestures are quite simple, as it involves gently massaging behind the ears before slowly continuing towards the end of the base of the head.
To effectively relax your muscles, you can follow our tips.