Necks are kind of interesting when it comes to training.
Depending on what a particular neck looks like it can either give us the impression of fitness or fatness.
And there are even images that come to mind to describe these two types of physiques. If someone is heavily muscled we can picture them with strong traps that run alongside a strong neck.
On the other side of equation is a situation where too much neck can take the form of multiple chins.
Regardless of which form we resemble more closely there is something that all of us need.
And that is a proper head and neck position. Why is this important? Well because it ensures the most lengthened spine possible. And a lengthened spine lends to a more stable spine.
In this case you can think of spinal stability as synonymous with core stability. There are a number of benefits that come from increased core stability including:
* reduced strain on joints
* improved posture
* increased strength
* improved sports performance
* increased mobility
This includes what almost everyone we work with identifies as their goals.
So what do we need to do to have a lengthened spine? Think about it in two ways.
1. You want a packed neck or a double chin.
2. You don’t want to tilt the chin up.
‘Whoa hold on!’ you’re probably thinking. ‘I don’t want anything resembling a double chin!’
I hear you on that one, but it’s still important to strive for a lengthened spine.
So how do we ensure we have a lengthened spine?
Well, it might be easier to define what a lengthened spine is not.
Imagine a group of young kids getting their picture taken. Better yet imagine siblings having their picture taken. They are all in the Sunday best and lined up for a family photo.
What are they trying to do?
They are all trying to be taller then each other in the picture which means standing on their tippy toes and craning their chins up as much as possible to appear taller than they are.
Does this make them taller? No of course. And actually it makes them shorter when youb measure the length on their spines from their tale bones through the back of the head.
Where on the back of the head am I talking about?
Well if you run your finger up the back of your next you’ll feel the softness of your neck until it meets the bone of the skull. The point where you first feel the skull is where I’m talking about.
Now how do you ensure your spine is as long as possible?
Push this part of your head as high as possible. This causes the chin to drop towards the chest and results in something called a ‘packed neck’ and looks like you have a double chin.
I know, I know. ‘Double chins? Really? You want us to look like we have a double chin?’
When you are lifting and training, I do.
And here’s a great drill from my buddy Eric Cressey that shows how you can practice this.
***a word of caution…if you have any type of current or pre-existing neck condition make sure you get the ok from your therapist or doctor first on this one***
Here’s the drill. All credit to Eric C.
Give this one a try. It’s great for those of us with poor posture and would like a quick way to lift heavier weights more safely.
By the way, the exact opposite of this drill would be the ‘where did my dog go?’ drill. Don’t do this one.
Until then, let me see your double chin!