Don’t Neglect the Neck

Photograph 055 by Lauren Mancke found on minimography.com

Have you even been driving and saw something amazing outside your window, like a purple giraffe, you marvel at is majesty, gaze at its gorgeousness, stare at its scintillation……..all of a sudden the car begins to vibrate…what’s happening…does the cow have special powers??? Is my car about to explode??? Then you realize that you had veered onto the shoulder and you’re riding the rumble strips hard.  You put your eyes back straight ahead and you course correct to get back on the road.  Smooth sailing again.

Why did you veer, you didn’t want to, you knew you were supposed to stay straight, you thought you were going straight but….what happened?

In short, you move to where your eyes are.  The eyes play a very pivotal role in movement and performance, for a quick demonstration balance on one leg, go ahead, hold for 15 seconds…..now close your eyes.  How did that feel, did you have to put your other foot down?  Let’s just say your eyes are important.

I thought this was a post about neck exercises??? Well…your eyes are in your head, and your head is held in place by your neck.  Guess what??? In derby, you are gonna get hit and when you do if you lack strength and stability in your neck your head and your eyes are gonna go all over the place knocking you off balance and causing you veer, possibly off track even.

Speaking of your head getting knocked around, a common injury in derby is a “head injury” also known as a MTBI (mildly traumatic brain injury) or concussion.  Having worked in college and professional football on the sports performance side I have seen many of these injuries and have rehabbed people back to health from these injuries.  Our muscular focus for this rehab……yup the neck, it’s kind of important.  Having stability in your neck and making sure your neck muscles communicate with the other muscles of the body is very important.

Check out this video that gives you some great neck exercises.

Integrated Neck Extension

  1. Sit on box/chair with a large looped band under feet, with feet at hip width apart
  2. Place other end of band behind head
  3. Grasp band with elbows bent at chest level
  4. Extend neck while press band away with arms, maintain pressure on band with feet to anchor in place
  5. Return to starting position
  6. Repeat 15 times

Ball isometric Neck Leans

  1. Place ball on hard surface at forehead level
  2. Lean head into ball while maintaining a neutral neck position, engage core to maintain a neutral spine
    1. Can lean on forehead, side of head, or back of head
  3. To make more difficult you can add movement or do it single leg
  4. Hold for a given time

Hero squat with neck integration

  1. Anchor one end of long band to stable place
  2. Loop other end of band around head
  3. Perform Hero Squat (Here is a description)
  4. Be sure to maintain a neutral neck throughout exercise
  5. Perform 10-20 reps

Feel free to comment if you have any questions

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