One of the most neglected muscles many people don't do is the neck. What most people are taught about the neck is just turning your head or going up and down or hell using a weight a strap to work the muscles. Now working the muscles is great but what about the things that hold the neck together like he joints, tendons and ligaments plus what about the spine; the bones that are the electric offshoot for the entire body and it starts around the neck line. People neglect this part of the body because it doesn't seem to be that important and the neck is just there to keep your head up. Yet people get locked traps, stiff necks, bad muscle tissue and if you sit at a computer all day, you get this hunch of a back.
What is taught as stretching for the neck in mainstream fitness is nowhere near the level it should be in and what do I mean by that; I'm talking about stretching and strengthening the neck and spine in as many directions as possible without just isolating that part of the body. Say you push and pull and working beyond side to side or up and down. Your neck was meant to move in all sorts of directions. Isometric Exercises work great getting the kinks out and realigning the areas needed to loosen up the joints and releasing tension out of the muscles. There's even self-resistance exercises that move the neck dynamically in different directions as well. Go side to side, up and down, push the neck up, circles, figure 8's. It only takes a few minutes a day to do these.
Nothing takes the place of Bridging for the neck and spine because it doesn't just work those areas, they hit the whole body as a unit. There are many types of bridging but the main 3 are the back bridge (or wrestler's bridge) where the objective to stretch until your nose touches the ground and hold, the front bridge where your chin is tucked and you're holding on the top of your head and the Gymnastics Bridge (or wheel pose on yoga) where it's similar to the back bridge but only your feet and hands are on the ground and the rest of the body is raised. Bridging unlocks the key areas for strengthening every muscle of the body and stretching at the same time. As you build up to holding the main 3 bridges, it's important to remember to do some exercises that "warm up" those areas and one of the best is by Wall Walking where your back is facing the wall and as you take a couple steps away from it, you bend back and walk down the wall till your head touches the floor and come back up. This exercise alone, stretches the legs, hips, abdominals, calves and if you can touch your chest to the wall in the bridge itself you're stretching every single body part. Want to jump start those hormones this is a great to do it and you can bridge just about anywhere and you only need a wall for the wall walking exercises.
I've learned that an animal that has lived far longer than most other animals is the one that stretches it's neck the most and that's the Tortoise. Now you normally don't think of that animal as something to learn from but in Asian cultures especially in China, the tortoise is a symbol for longevity, health, stillness and super internal power because even though it's slow it can still give off great energy and hell it can live for more than 150 years. Talk about longevity. When you stretch move slowly and let the movement or hold take fold as you lengthen your muscles and relax the body. The tortoise as it stretches it's neck feeds off its own energy in an extremely powerful way. Did you ever see Kung Fu Panda and notice the Master Tortoise, he may be a little funny because he's old and can barely move but when he's got that switch turned on, he just moves with grace and strength. Cartoons are great to watch and who doesn't love a good laugh but there are things we can pay attention to that can feed us powerful energy and have that feel of internal strength and having our mind and body stretched with delight.
Stay strong my friends, it's only Tuesday but it can be an awesome day if you choose to make it so. Take care and be awesome. For more details on Neck Strengthening, Sign Up for the Furey Faithful and unlock many secrets of health, strength training, longevity, nutrition, conditioning and more. There's a Special Report called Sticking Your Neck Out; this teaches specifically how to strengthen your neck and spine in different directions you haven't seen before or have been taught. Very powerful stuff.