Workout of the Week: Neck-Release Sequence

BY Emma-Kate Stampton TIMEMay 30, 2013 PRINT

Neck pain is a common symptom of overuse of computers and electronics. The next time you see someone using a smartphone, observe the position of the person’s neck. Typically, they will be extending their shoulders forward, causing an excessive curve in their cervical spine (the neck area). 

The following neck stretches are easy, yet highly effective at combating neck strain and tension. We use our bodies in so many compromising ways, so it is really important to make the time to reset and realign. 

Take your car as an example: You drive it on a daily basis, so you need to check the oil regularly, get it serviced, fill it with fuel, wash it, and so on. If you don’t, it will eventually break down. 

Your body is the same except for one point. If your body breaks down, you can’t just buy a new one, so it’s best to take care of it now for longevity and well-being. 

Stretching will nurture your body as it lengthens your muscles. It is also good for releasing toxins and for simply feeling good as well. Regular stretching will revive your body and relax your mind. So take some time for yourself and give back to your body.


Tilt your right ear to your right shoulder and gently place your right hand onto the left side of your head. Repeat on the left side. Hold each side for 30 seconds.

Side Look

Look as far to the right side as possible without moving any other part of your body. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Repeat on the left side. Hold each side for 30 seconds.

Chin Tuck

Draw your chin toward your chest and feel the back of the neck lengthen. Hold for 30 seconds.

Ceiling Gaze

Look toward the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds. Be careful with this one. If it causes pain, leave it out. 

Focus Points

Keep each movement gentle and slow. Avoid any sudden, fast movements. As you hold the stretch, take deep breaths in and slowly breath out. Practice these stretches as often as you need to. Up to three times daily is fine, particularly if your neck is super tight.

You don’t need to stretch to 100 percent, especially in the neck region, as this can cause strain to the muscles. Keep the level of stretching to about 70 percent. 

If you don’t have time to hold a stretch for 30 seconds, you can hold it for less time, of course. Try to find the time at least once week to hold each stretch for the full amount of time, as this will give you the best benefit.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. With 12 years of industry experience, she is passionate about sharing the gift of health and well-being. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.

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