Today we're going to be looking at a simple three-part mobility drill to help reduce or combat the neck tension that builds up for most of us throughout the day.
If you're like most people, you sit all day, you're in front of the computer, whatever, and we develop, over the course of a long work day, what we call caveman posture; and one of the primary components of caveman posture is this motion, where our skull basically starts to wrap toward the back.
A lot of people wind up developing a lot of tension through the base of the skull throughout the day. I want to show you a simple three-part movement that you can do throughout the day that will really help reduce that tension, and if you have headaches or jaw issues or neck issues that come about from that tension, this should help you combat those, as well.
Simple three-part movement. Here we go.
What we're going to imagine is that we have a board under our chin. I'm going to have you start a nice posture, and then what I want you to do is I want you to tuck your chin, so in essence, you're going to be basically pulling or pushing the board down and also pulling it back towards you just a little bit with your jaw.
Once you've done that, you're going to hold that position, then you're going to tilt your head back just a little bit, your whole neck, and then imagine there's a string attaching your sternum up to the ceiling, and simply slide your chest, your upper chest, along that string.
Now if you do this correctly, you're going to feel quite a bit of tension building up in the base of your skull. You may have to play around with positioning a little bit, but if you're doing it correctly, as I said, it should feel like a nice stretch right through here, and I want you to keep this relatively low-key.
We're not trying to make it feel like a hard hamstring stretch or something like that.
Keep it about a 3 out of 10 intensity level and simply move in and out of it. If this feels good to you, I'm going to have you do it three to five times, but I'm going to show it from the side because there are a couple of little issues that often come up.
Number one, again, we're standing in a nice, tall posture, we've got our board, we need to push the board down but also pull it back toward our throat. That's very important because that's going to set the subocciptial muscles under a little bit of stress to begin with.
You're going to hold that chin position, where you're going to tilt the head back a little bit, and then imagine the chest is moving up on that string as we're holding the chin tuck. Again, if you do that correctly, you're going to feel a nice stretch through here.
The biggest problem that most people have with this exercise is they tuck their chin, but then as they slide up the rope, they let the chin come untucked.
That's going to reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
The second big issues that we see is that people will hold this position well, but then they just bend from their lower back. That's not going to work. You have to imagine, again, that the upper chest is sliding forward and up while you're holding that chin tuck.
That's going to make it maximally effective.
Now if that feels good to you, again, you do three to five repetitions, we're going to intensify it a little bit and target either the left side or the right side by adding a tilt to the motion. I'm going to focus on my left side right now, the way that I'm going to do this is exactly the same, I'm going to push the board down, pull it back toward my throat.
Now I'm going to take my right ear, bend it toward my right shoulder just a little bit. I have this flex position and I've tilted to the side. Now I do the same thing. A little bit of tilt of the neck, slide up the rope, and that gives me a really strong pulling sensation right toward the outside, what's called the lateral surface of my skull.
Feels really, really good.
As you do this, I want you to do three to five repetitions in the neutral position, three to five with your head tilted to the right, three to five with your head tilted to the left. You probably will find that one side is a lot tighter than the other, completely normal.
You just may want to focus on that side a little bit more throughout the day. Really important to keep the intensity low.
If you let the intensity go up, you may give yourself a headache, and I don't want that to happen. Again, keep this like a 3 out of 10 intensity level, just a few repetitions, but if you do this every hour or two throughout the day, it's going to make your neck feel fantastic.
This is going to be a little bit of a weird exercise and I'm going to do your three reps with you.
Let's do this together.
Nice and tall, once again, we're going to push the board down, pull it back toward the throat a little bit, tilt the head back some, and then drive the chest up while tilting the chin a little bit more. That's rep one.
Do it again. Push the board down, pull it back, pull the neck back, chest up, that's two. Should be getting a little bit looser. Number three, board down, put it down, head back, chest up, that's rep number three. Doesn't take very long.
Now that we've gone through this basic mobility drill for your upper neck and skull, there are a couple of things I want to remind you of.
In the Z-Health system, we're all about assessing and reassessing. If you get a lot of neck tension and you start doing this exercise and it makes you feel great, awesome.
If you do this exercise and it doesn't really change anything, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad exercise for you, but it may mean that you have some other issues going on.
Lots of people that develop this upper neck or neck tension throughout the day also have vision problems, they may have inner ear issues, and we have a lot of information, a lot of blogs and products around that.
Please, if you do this exercise and it seems to help some, but your tension continues to build up over the next few weeks, please keep watching.
Go to our blog list, check out some of the information we have on the eyes and the inner ear particularly, because that can be really, really important in eliminating the actual cause of the neck tension as it builds up.
Guys, if you have any questions about this, please let me know. Otherwise, good luck. I hope it helps you tremendously.