Neck Alignment Exercise
The Biomechanical Cost
There is a simple ratio that summarizes the Biomechanical cost of a Forward Head. It is:
Add 12lbs to the head for each inch that it protracts forward.
Over time, those pounds can really add up and account for a lot of physiological energy wasted on just holding up your head alone.
Forward Head Alignment
Worst yet, the Biomechanical cost of a Forward Head doesn’t stop there. It will affect your running mechanics immensely too. In fact, you lose speed, longevity and distance with a Forward Head alignment because your body cannot properly align into a forward lean position, which is the foundation of bipedal running.
The Forward Head alignment will create too much of an angular displacement between the head and thoracic spine. This forces the pelvis and lumbar spine as well as the feet and knees to compensate in various ways, And it can overload the quads, and lead to heel striking, curling the spine, poor hip movement and more.
Top Down Approach Prescription
Fortunately, you can remodeling the Forward Head alignment, if you have it, with a series of soft tissue therapy techniques and mobility exercises. This remodeling process will take some time, in the range of 7-18 months, but it will be worth it for sure!
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. -Loa Tzu
First Step: Soft Tissue Therapy
Starting with Soft Tissue Therapy
Grab a lacrosse ball (advanced), tennis ball (intermediate) or use your fingers (beginner) to dig into your soft tissue and break up the tightness as well as the knots and adhesions that are looming in there somewhere.
Roll the ball in different patterned ways, such as horizontal, vertical, circling and even gently twisting or just press down on triggers until they release.
The ultimate goal is to restore a softness to these tissue. So, wherever you feel a hardness or a tightness, work to loosen up those tissues until they are soft once again.
Here are several illustrations that demonstrate strategies to address the quality of your soft tissue in the neck and trapezius region.
Soft Tissue Therapy – Balling Trapezius and Chest Muscles
Soft Tissue Therapy – Balling the Trapezius and Scalene Muscles against a Wall
Soft Tissue Therapy – Balling the Lower Trapezius and Rhomboids Muscles and Mobilizing the Thoracic Spine and Neck
Soft Tissue Therapy Tools – Two Lacrosse Balls Tape together to help massage the Muscles around the Spine
Soft Tissue Therpy – Balling the Trapezius Muscles on the Floor
Other Soft Tissue Tools
You can also employ soft tissue therapy with a Thera Cane, Foam Roller or a Myofascial Stick shown below.
Soft Tissue Therapy – Thera Caning the Neck and Trapezius Muscles
Soft Tissue Therapy – Massaging the Neck and Trapezius Muscles with the Stick
Soft Tissue Therapy – Foam Rolling the Trapezius and Neck Muscles