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Episode 225: Fixing “Office Neck”

Video Highlights

-Use an external object to help with neck exercises
-Improve neck strength and flexibility
-Do this every hour to increase focus and energy throughout the day

Today, we’re looking at a couple of easy exercises for office neck.

One of the things that you notice if you walk through your office, watch everyone in front of their computers, maybe they walk in looking pretty good in the morning, but by the end of the day, we tend to be like this.

You see it over and over. People with vision issue, eye fatigue, everything builds up looking at a computer screen, and over time, our posture tends to collapse forward, and when our posture collapses forward, we go into this little chicken position very often where the chin’s coming forward and basically, what we wind up with often, over time, is a lot of tension in the back of the neck, what are called your neck extensors.

So I’m going to show you a couple of different easy exercises that you can use to start to mobilize that area. The basic idea here is to go very slow with the amount of tension you apply, because we’re going to have you in this more constrained position, so keep your tension levels around 3 out of 10 as you start working through these mobility drills.

Now, to make these easy, what I’m going to recommend is you get a kid’s toy. All right? One of these soft little balls that you can buy almost anywhere. You want it to have a little bit of give.  Generally, I tell people it should be basically about twice the size of your fist. All right? It’s a good starting point. Obviously if your neck mobility improves, you can use a tennis ball or your own fist as you do the exercises.

Now, really simply, here’s what we’re going to do.

We’re going to stand up nice and tall, we’re going to take the ball, we’re going to put it underneath our chin. Now, the idea here is to imagine that your head is going to flex forward like this, but rather then hinging, we’re thinking about making an arc. All right? Kind of a half semi-circle with the top of our head.

Man sitting at his work desk holding his neck in pain.

Step one, we’re just going to come in here and typically do somewhere between five and ten repetitions, nice and slow, just pulling the chin down toward the chest. Looks awesome. All right? We’re going to do that five to ten times, like I said, nice and slow. Down, and nice and slow up.

Now, as this starts to loosen up, the next thing that we’re going to do is we’re going to add a small rotation to it, basically. Here, I’m going to tuck my chin, and at this point, once I feel a little bit of a stretch in the back of my neck, I’m going to start to tilt my head side to side.

The goal here is as you tilt, make sure that you continue to press the chin into the ball.

As you do that, again, you’re going to get kind of this nice stretch, but the ball adds a little bit of stability here, and it also restricts your range of motion so it’s a little bit safer than just going, okay, I’m going to stick my head here and roll it around. Plus the feedback from the ball allows you to be a little bit more control as you go through the movement.

So, again, we start off with five, ten basic just what we call flexions. Back up to neutral. Second drill then is another five to ten repetitions of tuck your chin into the ball, side to side tilting. Okay?

Really, really easy movements.

Typically, we have people do this every hour, maybe again, ten reps every hour throughout the day.

You can end your day not looking like a caveman. Usually, that’s a really good thing for you. Saves you some energy, and also, one of the things we’ll look at in our next video is how we can use this to also begin to work on maybe tension in your upper back or your shoulders.

That’s it.

Really simple.

Just make sure that you use something, again, about twice the size of your fist to start.

If you’re already mobile, you can use your fist or a tennis ball.

If you have any questions about this, let us know.

Otherwise, have fun.

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