Second of a series of specially designed stretches from Motion Dynamics.
Following on from the Forward Shoulder Elevation we continue to focus on the upper body by looking at an Anterior Neck Stretch. The neck is an often forgotten area when it comes to stretching, yet we can hold so much tension there, especially if you stare at a computer screen all day long.
Try this one out next time you’re on the bike or even at your desk.
Sit on the bike, place your elbows on the handlebars and lean forward. Place both hands together with fingers pointing up in a prayer position. Maybe say one if you have time! Placing your fingers under your chin, use them to assist you in extending your neck by looking straight up to the ceiling. Breathe in prior to the movement and breathe out as you perform the stretch. At the end of the range use the fingers to push under the chin to add an extra lengthening to open up the 14 anterior neck muscles and soft tissue. Hold the stretch past the end of your range for no longer than 2 seconds and then return all the way back to your neutral position.
The neutral position is often referred to as “zero tension state” where all the nerves and tissues are relaxed and switched off. This is when the blood can shunt easily into the softened tissues to hep re-oxygenate and alkalise the muscles. The lymphatic system can move out of the metabolic waste from the contracted tissues where the tension and restriction has impaired circulation.
Repeat this movement 10 times to increase the joint range of motion throughout all 7 cervical vertebrae. You may feel the muscles at the back of the neck feeling fatigued from the workout contractions. It’s not uncommon as these extensor muscles supporting the back of the neck are generally very weak from poor postural habits. These movements will re-engage the muscles and stabilise the cervical structures to increase support for the head sitting over the shoulders. .
It is recommended to perform this stretch everyday. Remember, a tight muscle is a weak muscle.