Protect Your Neck

What you can do to keep your neck out of harm’s way when pumping up in the gym.

Everyone who has spent much time working out has felt some neck pain now and then. However, with a few small precautions, you can help your neck avoid carrying the brunt of your workout burden. Here are a few things you can do to keep your neck from feeling the strain and pain of your routine.

Focus on Technique

Unless you’re performing exercises that are supposed to work out your neck, you should not feel stress on your neck. One of the main reasons you may experience neck stress when there should be none is improper technique. To get over this pain, you’ll need to pay closer attention to how you perform each repetition of every exercise.

Sit-ups are a common exercise resulting in neck pain. By using only your core muscles to lift your body toward your legs, you can protect against neck pain. The same is true with other exercises, such as the military press. Keeping your head in the right place at all times and using proper form allows you to take great strides away from potential neck pain.

Get Neck-Centric

It’s important to pay attention to your entire body when working out, and that includes your neck. Though you ought to be careful not to cause undue stress to your neck when working out other body parts, you can help your neck handle the stress by exercising it appropriately. This will strengthen your neck and help you avoid neck pain brought on by other exercises.
For stronger neck muscles, try the following exercises:

  • Chin to Chest – Sitting on the floor with your legs extended straight out, lock your hands together and put them behind your head. Next, pull your head to your chest in a gradual, fluid motion. Once your chin is touching your chest, hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Isometric Neck – Standing upright, place your right hand on the right side of your head. Use your hand to slowly push your head toward your left side. As you push, tighten your neck muscles to stop your head from moving. Continue pushing and fighting the push for 10 to 15 seconds, return your hand by your side, and repeat with your left hand on the left side of your head.
  • Rolling Neck Stretch – Holding a neck roller with both hands, place the roller behind your head at the top right side of your neck. Carefully roll the muscle roller down your neck muscles, holding for 10 to 30 seconds wherever you feel tension in your neck. Repeat for the left side of your neck. If no neck roller is available, a rolling pin works fine.

Always Be On Guard

Neck strains and pains may be most notable after a hard workout in the gym, but they don’t start there. Rather, they typically begin during your normal daily activities. With that in mind, you ought to pay particular attention to how you go about everything in your day-to-day routine.

Do you have poor posture while sitting at your desk working on the computer? Do you often slump on your couch for an hour of television? Do you sleep in a position that leaves you hurting in the morning? Do you participate in aggressive sports and have little care for how you absorb hits from other players? All these can lead to neck pain that becomes more obvious during your time working out at the gym. Taking steps to protect your neck’s good health during the day will go a long way toward your ability to fend off neck strain in the gym.

Feel the Burn

If you’re working out in the hot summer sun, you are at risk for another painful problem with your neck: sunburn. Keep your neck from feeling the burn by spreading plenty of sunscreen on your neck before heading out for your routine. For extra protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat.

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