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How neck strengthening exercises help prevent neck injuries

Have you been feeling neck tension while working out? 

Is it causing hurdles in your daily life? 

Let me share something with you. According to research, chronic neck pain is one of the most common problems amongst individuals, whether they work out or not. 

Even though the neck is a flexible part of the spine and is responsible for handling the entire skull over it while allowing for movements, it is one of the most neglected parts of our body.

Having a poor posture while exercising or doing everyday chores, having awkward sleeping positions, etc., puts too much pressure on your neck muscles, which causes wearing and tearing in the neck tissues.

To avoid neck pain from becoming a hurdle in your everyday life, you need to strengthen it with neck harness exercises for the most efficient and effective results. 

What Is a Neck Harness? 

A neck harness is a resistant training headgear that allows you to train your neck muscles safely and effortlessly.

It’s made with adjustable nylon straps wrapped around the head and has thick padding on the inside, ensuring ultimate comfort.

While the chin strap closure provides a firm facial grip, the heavy-duty steel chains hanging from the sides and extra heavy D-rings allow you to attach weight plates to intensify the training.

Benefits of Neck Exercises

To make sure you are onboard with neck strengthening workouts, we’ve got some interesting benefits for exercising your neck that will get you grabbing for a neck harness.

1. Injury Prevention

Have you heard the saying “prevention is better than cure?” This is what training your neck will be doing for you. 

When lifting heavy weights at the gym or reaching out for heavy boxes and items in your cabinets, the neck acts as a shock absorber between your body and the head. To ensure no muscles are strained during these acts, it is very important to strain your neck muscles. 

2. Crucial for Athletes 

Having a strong neck is crucial for sports like MMA, boxing, rugby, etc., where there are more chances of suffering a concussion to the head. Strong necks allow the athletes to quickly retaliate to the blow suffered on the head and punch back the opponent. 

3. Improved Posture

When we talk about postures, we don’t mean the standing posture; every individual needs to maintain proper posture while sleeping, sitting, or standing.

The majority of neck injuries and sprains are faced by people who have jobs that require long sitting hours and staring at the computers all day with poorly adjusted desks and chairs.

While it is important to maintain a good posture, it is also extremely important to build up neck muscles to avoid straining the neck and maintain proper postures.

Neck Strengthening Exercises

Here we have listed some simple yet impactful neck harness workouts that will help you strengthen the neck muscles.

1. Neck Flexion

Performing neck flexion exercises helps relieve the stress and loosen the stiff muscles while reducing the spinal pressure. When doing the movements properly, a stretch should be felt at the back of your neck. Here is how you should do it:

Select the amount of weight, hang it in the harness chain, and sit up straight on a bench, high enough for your knees to make a 90-degree angle.

Keep your feet open shoulder-width apart with toes pointing forward and bend down your torso, making it parallel to the ground. Holding the weight in your hand and sitting up straight again, gently releasing the weight and placing your arms on the knees. 

Once you’re in the position and comfortable, slowly lower your neck until your chin touches your chest, and then slowly return up. Inhale your breath when going down and exhale when returning to the original position. Perform 15-20 reps and not more. 

2. Neck Lateral Flexion

Neck lateral flexion helps work out the side muscles of your neck called ‘Sternocleidomastoid’ for increased neck flexion and extension. 

Start by holding the weights in your hand and lie down on your side, keeping the head off the bench. Once you’re all set and comfortable, release the weight and hang it on the floor, making sure you don’t feel a jerk.

Let your neck go down until you feel no more than a slight stretch on the opposite side of the neck. Start lifting your neck slowly and steadily while you exhale and hold for two seconds, and then inhale and slowly lower the weights to their original position.

Repeat the steps for 15-20 reps and do the same practice on your other side.

3. Neck Extension 

Neck extension exercises help relieve the stress on the neck muscles while increasing mobility, range of motion, and alignment, allowing you to go about your daily activities with greater ease. 

Once you’ve secured the harness on your head properly, lie down on a bench, ensuring your stomach touches the platform. Attach your preferred weights to the head harness and slowly release them. It is very important to make sure that you don’t feel any jerks on your neck, or else you will end up injuring your neck.

Gently lift your neck upwards until you’re looking up, and slowly return your head to the original position, completing a single rep. Repeat the steps within the range of 15-20 reps and not more for an efficient workout.

4. Neck Plate Curls

Neck Plate curls are a good exercise to ease up the neck stiffness and relax your spine. It helps reduce the frequency of chronic neck pains and increase flexibility.

Start by laying down on a bench, facing the floor, and hanging the head off the bench. Hold up a weight plate and place it on the top of your head with both your hands.

Now, slowly lift the head and hold the position for a few seconds before lowering it down and repeating the process.

Final Words

Having a strong neck is important for athletes and MMA fighters and equally important for others. It helps you improve your body posture and avoid straining your neck with undue pressure. 

Strengthening the neck is not an easy task, but you can improve the efficiency of your workouts with a weighted neck harness and avoid straining and spraining your neck to avoid any chronic pains in the future.

Happy training!

References: 

  1. Bovim, G., et al. ‘Neck Pain in the General Population’. Spine, vol. 19, no. 12, June 1994, pp. 1307–09. Europe PMC, https://doi.org/10.1097/00007632-199406000-00001.
  2. Boden, Barry P., and Christopher G. Jarvis. ‘Spinal Injuries in Sports’. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, vol. 20, no. 1, Feb. 2009, pp. 55–68. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmr.2008.10.014
  3. Falla, Deborah, et al. ‘Effect of Neck Exercise on Sitting Posture in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain’. Physical Therapy, vol. 87, no. 4, Apr. 2007, pp. 408–17. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.2522/ptj.20060009 .
  4. Portero, Pierre, et al. ‘Effects of Resistance Training in Humans on Neck Muscle Performance, and Electromyogram Power Spectrum Changes’. European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 84, no. 6, June 2001, pp. 540–46. Springer Link, https://doi.org/10.1007/s004210100399
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