Do you stretch your neck and shoulders before working out? Probably not.
We often neglect our neck and shoulders because we spend time stretching other places like the hamstrings and hips. And why wouldn’t we? It’s critical to stretch these main muscle groups for sports like running, cycling and other endurance events.
But overtime, just like the hips and hamstrings, ignored tightness in the shoulders and neck can alter performance through poor posture, limited range of motion and even tension headaches.
1. Neck roll
This is a very gentle stretch used to release tension around your neck.
- Roll a towel;
- Place it at the base of your head;
- Let your head fall back toward the floor and relax.
- Stay in this position for about 10 minutes unless you feel any sort of pain.
2. Clasping neck stretch
This exercise provides a deep stretch for the back of your neck and your upper back.
- Begin by sitting comfortably in a chair or on the floor;
- Clasp your hands behind your head;
- Gently pull your head down bringing the chin toward the chest;
- Hold for 30-40 seconds, and then slowly return your head to the initial position and release your hands.
3. Lateral neck flexion stretch
This stretch targets the sides of your neck.
- Begin by sitting comfortably on the floor or in a chair;
- Place your right hand on the top of your head and gently pull it to your right;
- Keep the back straight and shoulders relaxed;
- Hold for 30-40 seconds and then slowly lift your head back to the initial position;
- Repeat on the other side.