Exercise of the Month - Deep Cervical Flexor Strengthening

1st April 2016

This is a great exercise for developing strength in those forgotten muscles of the neck. The Deep Cervical Flexors are required to stabilise the head but many of us follow a dangerously dysfunctional pattern of recruiting the SCM.

Why is this such an issue? Well, when you use SCM as the primary stabiliser for the neck, we migrate into forward head carriage. This then increases the loading on the posterior muscles of the upper shoulder girdle. But arguably more importantly, this SMC dominance results in uncontrolled upper cervical extension when hit from behind (whiplash). This causes the delicate structures in this area (arterial and nerve) to be at high rish of damage.

This exercise helps to retrain you quickly. Perform the exercise as the video describes, but if your can't reach 60 on your guage, or hold pressure for any length of time without cheating the exercise, then raise the guage as high as you can manage whilst you gain in strength. Eventually you will be hitting 60 without any trouble. 

Hold what ever pressure you can manage until form failure (can't hold the needle still) or for 20 seconds, which ever comes first. Repeat 3 times with a 60 second rest between. Once you can do 20 seconds, aim to increase pressure to 60. Then reduce your rest time, without losing form, until you can manage 60 seconds, at 60 on the guage, without a break.