Sit at the desk all day? Full-time student? Besties with your iPhone? Quick check: Can you fully lean your head back and look at the ceiling? If not It may be time to take a look at the soft tissue at the front of your neck.
Functional neck extension occurs when you are able to (easily) lean your head back, with the plane of your face creating no more than a 10 degree angle with the ceiling. Translation: face nearly parallel with the ceiling.
It should be noted that soft tissue restrictions and joint mobility dysfunctions are not the only reasons that one may be unable to extend their neck. In fact, stability problems often play a great deal in such movement dysfunctions, so stay tuned for an upcoming video demonstrating stabilization techniques to aide cervical motion.
To target the this group of muscles when stretching the neck, look up toward the ceiling then rotate and sidebend your head AWAY from the side you wish to stretch. I have demonstrated two ways to use a band to stabilize the shoulder on the side you wish to stretch. You could also hold onto a table or even your opposite arm (behind your back) to stabilize the shoulder and improve the stretch.
This stretch can be used in conjunction with a tack and floss technique by simply placing your hand over the anterior cervical musculature and holding or “tacking” down the soft tissue as you move through the range of motion.
As always, I recommend 2-3 minutes of work, but will often break it down into 20 second holds, as placing the next in that extended position can be super provocative. Stop immediately if you get any dizziness, pain, or numbness/tingling. All stretching should be immediately followed by some active motion through the new range to grease that groove and help make that new range stick. #maestrofied ——————————————-
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