Lesson: Neck mobility & preparation to eliminate pain, stiffness & to build strength

May 27, 2023 by VAHVA Fitness

How to properly mobilize the neck to eliminate pain or stiffness and how to prepare the neck for more advanced movements and sports in general.

Here we have a clip with 3 exercises to build strength and mobility in your neck. We not only cover the exercises but also how to do the exercises correctly.

In the end, it's not about what you do but how you do it. A lot of people do different exercises and get little to no results.

The reason is because their execution, control and overall methodology is flawed. Learning how to properly train supercharges every exercise and movement that you do. You simply get more results with less time.

Bear in mind that we trained seriously for 5+ years before we really started to understand how to properly train. This is why this knowledge and information about proper execution is priceless. We focus on this specifically in Athlete 20XX Method.

In this video, we focus on the neck. Your neck is incredibly important for health and performance. Stiff and painful neck will lead to poor performance in all physical activities and even your brain will get less oxygen due to a restricted blood flow.

This particular clip is from our Skill Master program, a program specifically designed to teach you different skills. 

Of course, learning a more advanced skill is more than just "learning how to do it" - you also have to prepare your body, tendons and joints accordingly. 

This month particular focused on preparing and strengthening the neck. This clip is only 5 minutes long but each month we update the program with 20-40 minutes of new content.

In later months, we even do the preparation and skill development for freestanding handstand push ups and more advanced skills.

Obviously, the first skills you will learn are easy to learn and everything gets gradually more difficult.

Practicing these 3 neck exercises correctly can drastically improve your health & fitness so I urge everyone to study the content carefully.

1. Chin Tuck Protraction

3 x 10-20 reps
3 x 10-30 seconds hold

neck protraction

There are two functions you're conditioning with this. One is the ability to keep your chin strongly tucked towards your chest (imagine creating a double neck).

The second is neck protraction which means moving your head forward from the base of the neck (a pecking motion of the neck).

Putting these together is very important in keeping your neck in a secure place during skills that involve rolling over your head or shoulders.

This position together with round shoulders and back allows you to roll smoothly and keep your head and neck from cranking backward or sideways.

While doing this you're very effectively training the muscles in the front of the neck. This one is quite intense even without any external resistance.

This may help with forward head posture because the protraction muscles are both stretched and strengthened during the exercise. You can also gain a heightened awareness of your neck posture in general.

2. Resisted Neck Extension

3 x 10-20 reps
3 x 10-30 seconds hold

resisted neck extension

Compared to the front part the muscles on the back of the neck are sometimes more difficult to feel while training. Thus we're using a light pull from our arms to create a bit of additional resistance when retracting and extending our necks backward.

Even without the arms, this exercise can be very beneficial but it requires a better connection to your muscles.

There's again a double action of the neck. You're both nodding and tilting the neck backward (neck extension) and pulling the neck back from the base of the neck (neck retraction).

This drill is very convenient for pumping the neck muscles responsible for keeping the head from falling forward.

It's such a simple way of greatly strengthening your neck but most people miss out because they don't know how to move their neck with control.

You should pause at every repetition and lightly push towards your arms always feeling the muscles work and contract.

3. Neck Lateral Flexion

3 x 10-20 reps

neck lateral flexion

Now we're training the muscles on the side of the neck. Try to move the neck in as large a range of motion as possible from side to side while lying sideways.

This gives a very nice stimulus as it fully stretches the muscles while they're being contracted.

This is the essence of mobility: Control and strength over your joint ranges of motions and this often gives the best release when your muscles are chronically tight or dysfunctional.

These muscles are usually easy to feel because people very rarely use them for anything strenuous. You can expect quick gains in strength, endurance and size of your neck by practicing this regularly.

Neck lateral flexions also greatly helped to heal and bulletproof my neck when I was having neck pain and stiffness from MMA and wrestling.

Practice these 3 exercises several times per week and you should see great results in no time.

Stay strong.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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