Neck Stretching Routines to Avoid Injury, Reduce Stress, and Feel Better

Neck Stretching

Have you ever considered neck stretching routines as part of your overall fitness plan?

According to the American Council on Exercise, over 70% of adults will have some form of neck injury or pain in their lives. Given that the neck, like the back, is a central hub in nearly all motion that we perform, a neck injury can be very debilitating.

Neck StretchingWouldn’t it make sense to take some simple steps to avoid this hassle in your life?

An effective stretching routine for your neck is one of the most effective ways to reduce, or even eliminate, the chance of a painful neck injury. As part of an overall stretching and fitness plan, neck stretching will not only reduce injuries, but also improve your overall wellness.

Your neck, back, and body will just feel better if the muscles are properly stretched and exercised, and you follow a consistent plan to achieve this.

Neck Stretching Benefits

There are many powerful benefits to a consistent neck stretching routine:

  • Reduce stress in the neck, which will improve muscle tension throughout the body
  • Improve flexibility in the neck which will reduce injuries in your daily life
  • Greatly reduce the chance of injury in physical workouts and sports
  • Improve your neck’s range of motion, which can diminish with age in the absence of stretching
  • Improve your posture by reducing the tightness of your primary neck muscles
  • Improve circulation by increasing blood flow to your muscles

And because you will feel it throughout each day, the most important benefit of all might just be the improvement in your overall well-being.

When your muscles are flexible, stretched, and relaxed, your body feels better and is more at ease. It is more prepared for all of your daily activities, which of course includes workouts, sports, and physical activity.

Reducing Stiffness in Your Neck

When your neck muscles are stiff and tense, your body will not be at ease, and you are more prone to injury and tenseness. Especially during resistance training! If your neck is not loose and supple prior to resistance training (lifting weights), then you will eventually strain or tweak your neck.

You may not realize how easy it is to strain a neck muscle, so many people do not focus on stretching their neck prior to workouts…it’s a big mistake!

You will be surprised at how quickly and easily it can happen.

It might even be a nuisance strain where it really does not hurt. But you can feel it in everything you do for weeks, especially working out. So stretch your neck each and every day, and especially prior to a workout.

It has since felt better then ever before!

Neck Stretching Routines

Consistent and effective neck stretching is a critical part of any overall stretching program. The following outlines the steps to follow in your routine, as well as the stretching exercises.

Warm-up – 1-2 minutes

The first step, prior to any stretches, is to warm-up your muscles and body. This prepares the muscles for stretching. Stretching cold muscles is a surefire way to a painful injury.

Perform some quick and simple cardio for two minutes:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Gentle walking
  • Jump rope
  • Jogging or Hopping in place

Dynamic Stretching – 2 minutes

Start by rolling the neck in a very slow and controlled motion. Move it to down to the chin, then to the left, then to the right. Do this several times, and then roll the neck in a complete circle – 360 all the way around. Then roll the other direction. Slowly increase the speed, but only slightly.

Make sure the neck roll is always a controlled motion, and never bouncy or jerky.

Static Stretching – 2 minutes

There are 6 main static stretches that will improve flexibility, and help you to achieve all of the benefits listed above. Follow the stretches in the order and manner listed. Stretch to the point of slight discomfort, and hold each stretch for 15 to 20 seconds.

Neck Flexion Stretch

  1. Stretch the rear neck muscles by moving your chin slowly to your chest.
  2. Hold for 5 seconds
  3. Recover
  4. Repeat 5 times

Neck Extension Stretch

  1. Stretch the front and side neck muscles by moving your head slowly back as if to look at the sky
  2. Hold for 5 seconds
  3. Recover
  4. Repeat 5 times

Right Rotation Stretch

  1. Slowly rotate your chin slowly to your right shoulder
  2. Hold for 5 seconds
  3. Recover
  4. Repeat 5 times

Left Rotation Stretch

  1. Slowly rotate your chin slowly to your left shoulder
  2. Hold for 5 seconds
  3. Recover
  4. Repeat 5 times

Right Lateral Flexion Stretch

  1. Move your right ear to the right and down as your rotate your head right and down until your head is horizontal, still looking forward
  2. Hold for 5 seconds
  3. Recover
  4. Repeat 5 times

Left Lateral Flexion Stretch

  1. Move your left ear to the left and down as your rotate your head left and down until your head is horizontal, still looking forward
  2. Hold for 5 seconds
  3. Recover
  4. Repeat 5 times

Again, make sure to hold each stretch for 5 seconds, and it is critical to never bounce or jerk. The motion is slow, controlled, and fluid.

Tying Your Neck Stretches All Together

Neck StretchingFollowing a simple neck stretching routine on a consistent basis will greatly improve the flexibility and strength of your neck. This will not only improve your overall wellness and appearance, but also reduce the chance of injury to your neck.

So follow a simple and consistent routine, and avoid these factors that further contribute to neck pain:

  • Poor posture
  • Tight upper leg and back muscles (link Back Stretch)
  • Poor mattress support
  • Improper support in your shoes

Avoid these factors above, stand up straight, stretch as shown above, and you should be able to avoid your local orthopedic repair shop!

Check out other stretching routines you can try.