Isometric Neck Exercise

Woman with neck pain
Isometric Neck Exercises. RunPhoto/Getty Images

Isometric Neck Exercise

If you feel like you can't hold your head up, your neck muscles may be weak. One way to get going with neck strengthening is to do isometric exercise. Below are instructions for a beginner's version.

Warnings: If you are one of those people who is afraid to do too much with your neck, check with your doctor or physical therapist before trying this. She may have a modification that is more suited to your particular condition.

And, if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), you should hold off on doing this exercise. This is because isometric exercise has a tendency to raise blood pressure.

By its very nature, isometric exercise does not involve movement. Instead, you'll contract your neck muscles statically. You should hold each contraction for between 5 and 45 seconds. Although you'll be holding your head in a static position, you should not hold your breath. Got that? Good. Let's begin.

Isometric Neck Exercise Instructions

  1. Establish your start position. Even though this is a neck exercise, you should still sit with good overall posture. Take a moment to check that your head is in a straight vertical line from your pelvis. It should not be forward of your trunk.

    Related:  How to Sit with Good Posture
     
  2. Isometric Neck Strengthening Exercise for Muscles in Back. Interlace your fingers and place your clasped hands behind your head. They should be placed at the bottom of your skull where it starts to curve down. With your hands, pull your head forward, but resist that force by pulling back with your head. If you started with good alignment, the opposite forces of the hands and your head should keep your head in good alignment. You should be able to feel your neck muscle in back working.
     
  1. Isometric Neck Strengthening Exercise for Muscles On The Right Side. Next, place just your right hand on your right temple, which is above your right ear. Again, it's important that you start with good alignment of your head and neck. Push your head to the left with your hand while resisting the push with your head. The simultaneous and opposing forces between your hand and head should keep your head in good alignment and work your neck muscles.
     
  1. Isometric Neck Strengthening Exercise for Muscles In Front. Place the heel of one hand on your forehead. Push your hand toward the back while resisting with your head. The opposing forces should work the neck muscles in front.
     
  2. Isometric Neck Strengthening Exercise for Muscles On The Left Side. Next, place just your left hand on your left temple, which is over your left ear. Again, it's important that you start with good alignment of your head and neck. Push your head to the right with your hand while resisting the push with your head. The simultaneous and opposing forces between your hand and head should keep your head in good alignment and work your neck muscles.
     

Other upper body exercises that may help your neck include:

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