Neck Exercises & Stretches

Stretching and exercising your neck is important for keeping the muscles in your neck strong and flexible, as well as preventing muscle tension and stiffness. Lack of proper exercise of your neck can result in a decreased range of motion, movement and poor posture. Taking precautions can reduce the possibility of experiencing pain and developing arthritis in the vertebrae of the neck.

Cervical Flexion and Extension

Slowly tilt and extend your head back, looking up towards the ceiling and hold your head in that position for a few seconds and take a deep breath. Then slowly bring your head forward and tuck your chin into your chest and hold. Repeat 5 to 10 times, remembering to breathe each time you move your head.

Lateral Flexion

Looking straight ahead, tilt your head to the right side as though you were going to touch your right shoulder, hold for a few seconds and take a deep breath. Bring your head to center looking straight ahead and tilt your head to the left side and hold for a few seconds and breathe. Repeat 5 to 10 times.


Start looking straight ahead and turn to the right as far as can comfortably turn and hold a few seconds. The goal is to bring your chin over your shoulder. Bring your head back to center and turn to the left as far as you can comfortably turn and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times, remembering to breathe with each rotation.

Side Resistance Exercise

Doing resistance exercises will strengthen the cervical muscles of the neck. With your head facing forward, take your right hand and place it against the right side of your head. Push your head to the right side into your right hand and resist the movement by pushing up against your head with your hand as long as it is comfortable. Repeat on the left side.

Forward and Backward Resistance

Facing forward place the palms of both hands on your forehead. As you try to push your head forward, push back with both hands to resist the action, hold as long as it comfortable and release. Move your hands to the back of your head, palms facing inward, and push your head back against your hands and resist the movement. Repeat these exercises 5 to 10 times.

About this Author

Pamela Wake began writing in 1996, working in marketing communications and currently contributes health and nutrition articles to The Healthy Times newspaper and is the Alternative Health Examiner for in San Diego. She received a Master of Science degree from Pacific College in San Diego.