Now we have reached the top of the body, and the final stretch that we will be discussing. There are four stretches that will help you to loosen up your neck muscles.
The first stretch is the Lateral Neck Stretch. Look forward while keeping your head up. Slowly move your ear towards your shoulder while keeping your hands behind your back. Be sure to keep your shoulders down during this stretch. You can also take your hand and pull your head down towards the shoulder gently to deepen the stretch.
•This will extend your levator scapulae, upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and scalenes.
The next stretch is an Upper Trapezius Stretch. Look forward while keeping your head up. Slowly look down then slightly to one side while gently pulling your head downward and away from your body as depicted.
•This stretch emphasizes the upper trapezius and upper neck extensor muscles.
The Forward Flexion Neck Stretch can be done by standing upright and letting your chin fall towards your chest. Relax your shoulders and keep your hands by your side.
The final neck stretch is the Neck Extension Stretch. Stand upright and lift your head, looking upwards as if trying to point up with your chin. Relax your shoulders and keep your hands by your side.
•This will stretch the platysma (which runs through the jaw), sternocleidomastoid, omohyoideus, sternohyoideos and sternothyroideus (located in the neck).
Now that we have discussed the top stretches, you have all the tools you need to begin your own stretching routine! Remember to stretch long, stretch often, and enjoy the many benefits of a good flexibility training routine.
*NOTE: Always warm up prior to stretching. When performing static stretches, it is important to hold the stretch for at least 30-60 seconds to get the full benefits of the stretch.
This is the 12th of our Top Stretches Series of posts. Yes we know this is more than ten but once we got started we just could not stop. Stay tuned for more great articles on Stretching and Flexibility. *Note to always warm up before performing static stretches. It is important to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30-60 seconds for full benefit.*
Lucette., & Clark, C. (2008) NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. (p. 139-171)
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