Neck Stretching

Stretching exercises for the neck including rotation stretch, forward and lateral flexion stretches and Sternocleidomastoid stretch. Neck mobility exercises are also excellent for relieving the tension caused by too many hours sitting at desk or in front of a computer.

Neck Rotation Stretch

Stretching the neck from side to side like this can help ease neck aches, especially if you apply gentle overpressure with your hand.

Teaching Points

  • Start facing straight forwards and with your arms in front of you
  • Keep the elbows straight and clasp your hands together to stop your shoulders from elevating
  • Turn your neck so that your chin moves towards your shoulder
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Variations

  • When twisting the head, lift the chin slightly upwards to place more emphasis on Sternocleidomastoid

Muscles Stretched

Forward Neck Flexion Stretch

Performing a stretch such as this on a regular basis can help to ease muscular aches and pains in the neck and upper back.

Teaching Points

  • Start facing straight forwards and with your arms in front of you
  • Keep the elbows straight and clasp your hands together to stop your shoulders from elevating
  • Bring your chin down to meet your chest
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Variations

  • Perform sitting on a chair and gripping the chair between your legs to keep the shoulders down

Muscles Stretched

Lateral Neck Flexion Stretch

Lateral neck flexion stretch targets the upper trapezius muscle. This stretch can be very useful for people who suffer from tight, aching muscles in the upper back and neck, such as those who work at a computer.

Teaching Points

  • Look straight forward and do not let the chin drop down.
  • Move your ear towards the shoulder.
  • Don't let your shoulder lift up.
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.

Variations

  • When stretching the right side, further the stretch by using the left hand to apply gentle pressure to the right side of the head.

Muscles Stretched

Sternocleidomastoid Stretch

The sternocleidomastoid stretch stretches the two long strap-like muscles on either side of the front of the neck.

Teaching Points

  • Rotate the head to one side as far as is comfortable
  • Then tilt the head to the same side, as if trying to reach the ear to the shoulder.
  • Hold for 20 seconds, rest and stretch the other side.

Muscles Stretched