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Good Form Friday: Keep a neutral neck!

June 4, 2010


Poor exercise technique can have truly undesirable consequences.

Especially when you are doing the movement repeatedly. And especially when you’re using weight to perform the movement.

Not to say you shouldn’t exercise–just take care!

Let’s talk about cervical hyperextension.

This occurs when you’re pushing your head rearward while performing an exercise.

You see it in the gym fairly frequently–when people are “looking up” or tilting their heads backwards  while performing:

  • pushups
  • deadlifts
  • pulldowns
  • “bird dogs” and “supermans” – stretches used to strengthen the lower back

Maintain a neutral spine

Next time you’re in the gym, ask yourself if your neck is neutral. It should not be excessively tilted backwards (or forwards, either, for that matter–which might happen when you do pulldowns behind the neck).

Tip: Relax your neck.

If you are doing a pushup or a pulldown, before you start the movement, make sure your spine is aligned.

Relax, don’t hunch, your shoulders.

Let your head simply sit on your neck where it should!

If you feel strain in your neck, that’s a good indicator you’re hyperextending (or hyperflexing)  it.

Align that spine from the base of your skull down through your lower back!

Flickr photo,  robhengxr

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