Things you may not know about bodybuilding with neck pain

by Johnny Jacks

Beginners often struggle with neck pain during bodybuilding, with up to 90% feeling perplexed about its prevention. Neck pain is a common issue, particularly among novices. Fortunately, exercises and stretches can enhance neck muscle strength and flexibility.

In this article, we’ll provide readers with techniques to alleviate neck stiffness and regain flexibility. However, if you have a neck injury or pain, it’s crucial to consult a doctor before attempting self-treatment. When stretching, you should feel a gentle pull in your neck muscles, not pain. If you experience severe pain, cease immediately.

What Causes Neck Pain in Bodybuilders?

Frequent neck pain in bodybuilders often results from constant strain on the neck muscles. This occurs when individuals either overuse their neck during exercises or use improper techniques, leading to muscle wear and tear or even strain.

The issue is most noticeable when lifting weights above the head or excessively training the shoulders. During these activities, the neck must constantly stretch and adjust to maintain balance, which can eventually lead to neck pain.

Exercises to Relieve Exercise-Induced Neck Pain

Forward and Backward Neck Tilts

You can perform this exercise while sitting. Ensure your movements are slow and controlled.

Begin with a straight head, shoulders, and back. Gently lower your chin towards your chest, holding for 15-30 seconds. Then relax and slowly raise your head. Tilt your chin upwards, arching your head towards the back. Hold this position for 10 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat these movements several times and perform this routine daily.

Lean your neck forward and backward.

Lean your neck forward and backward.

Side Neck Tilts

To reduce the risk of neck pain in bodybuilders, perform this exercise while standing with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips.

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Gently tilt your head toward your right shoulder, aiming to bring your ear closer to your shoulder without raising your shoulder. Stop when you feel a stretch in your neck. Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the left side. Complete about 10 repetitions. For an added stretch, place your hand on the tilted side and gently apply pressure with your fingertips.

Lean your head to the side.

Lean your head to the side.

Side Neck Rotation

Performing this exercise while sitting or standing can help prevent neck pain in bodybuilders.

Maintain a straight head, shoulders, and back. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch in your neck and shoulders. Hold the stretch for about 15-30 seconds, then slowly return your head to the forward position. Repeat the neck rotation to the left. Aim to complete up to 10 repetitions.

Rotate your neck to the side.

Rotate your neck to the side.

Shoulder Rotation

This exercise is most effective when performed while standing.

Raise your shoulders straight up and rotate them forward in circles. Repeat this motion 6 times. Return to the starting position and reverse the rotation, repeating it 6 times.

Shoulder rotation exercises assist bodybuilders dealing with neck pain.

Shoulder rotation exercises assist bodybuilders dealing with neck pain.

How to Prevent Neck Pain in Bodybuilding

Avoid Overusing Your Neck: Neck pain during workouts often stems from excessive strain on the neck muscles. To prevent this, it’s essential to avoid overusing your neck, especially during strenuous and repetitive exercises. Pay attention to your body’s signals; if you feel excessive strain in your neck, it’s a sign to reduce the load or change your technique.

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Proper Warm-Up: Warming up is a crucial step before beginning any workout routine. A proper warm-up prepares your muscles for the upcoming intensity and helps prevent injuries, including neck pain. Focus on warming up not only your neck but also the surrounding muscle groups that support it. Neck-specific warm-up exercises, like gentle neck stretches, can be beneficial.

Effective Cool Down: Cooling down after your workout is equally important. It gradually reduces your heart rate and blood flow to normal levels, aiding muscle recovery and reducing the likelihood of soreness. Cooling down also helps return your neck muscles to their resting state, minimizing tension that could lead to pain.

Maintain Correct Form: Using the proper form and technique during exercises is crucial to avoid neck pain. When you perform exercises incorrectly, it can strain the neck muscles or even lead to injury. To ensure you’re doing exercises correctly, consider exercising in front of a mirror. Alternatively, work with a qualified trainer or have a workout buddy who can provide feedback and correct your form as needed.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of neck pain while bodybuilding. Remember that listening to your body and prioritizing safety should always be your top concerns during any fitness regimen.

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