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5 Exercises to Loosen Up Your Tight Neck

If you’re wise, you begin and end each of your workouts with a quick session to prep for the movements you’re about to do and then cool down to avoid getting tight. You’ll probably hit your legs, arms, back, depending on which muscle groups you’re focused onbut what about your neck?

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Tons of people spend a majority of their time seated with poor posture, so stiff shoulders and necks are a common ailment. Instead of just complaining or living with the ailment, take proactive action and give your neck some extra attention. You don’t even have to stand up to do it.

Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S. , says that you can start with neck exercises right from your desk, or wherever else you’re seated. “Most of my clients often complain of neck and shoulder tightness since a lot of them head straight from the gym to work,” she says. But the routine that she shared with us isn’t just something that she recommends to clientsshe puts the moves into practice herself. “These are my favorite neck exercises and I try to do them 2 to 3 times a day.”

Office drones aren’t the only people who can benefit from the stretch series. “These are especially important if you’re doing a lot of press exercises, overhead exercises, or indoor cyclingreally anything in a hunched over position,” Atkins says. “The main goal is to make sure the head is staying balanced on top of the body properly.”

1 minute for each exercise, or at least 10 reps

  • Neck CARs
  • Protraction
  • Retraction
  • Rotation
  • Isometric Hold

Atkins recommends spending about 1 minute doing each exercise in one go, or taking a moment to work through at least 10 reps of each a few times a day.

Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move .

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