A guide to stretch your neck. It only takes 12 minutes.

Grapplers can be identified easily by the size of their neck muscles. We are constantly having our head pushed or pulled. Add to that the fact that we often use our heads (literally) to gain or establish a position. The consequence is that we stress our neck muscles a lot so they grow big to adapt.

So far, so good.

The problem starts when the muscles start compressing nerves. Other problem that arises is the uneven contraction of individual muscles groups, which changes your posture and puts a lot of stress on your cervical spine.

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After I suffered a cervical hernia in 2008, I learn two things:

  1. Neck problems are extremely prevalent among grapplers.

  2. Stretching does help to relieve pain and prevent long-term injuries.

As any other stubborn fighter, I’ve never been a big fan of stretching. It is boring, time consuming, and it takes months for you to see any results.

However, out of pure necessity, I added stretching to my routine. I prioritized my neck because the situation was rather critical. This routine is easy, quick, and will stretch every single muscle group of your neck.

It takes only 12 min.

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Imagine you standing on a clock, number 12 right in front of you. Just lean your head gently towards each hour on the clock for 1 minute until you are done.

Important detail: Don’t follow each consecutive clock hour. There is a risk you might “lock” your vertebrae doing it that way. Instead, follow the sequence below:

12 > 6 > 1 > 7 > 2 > 8 > 3 > 9 > 4 > 10 > 5 > 11

The idea is for you to bounce from one extreme to another, stretching opposite muscle groups and avoid rotating your neck at the same time. Keep your shoulder rolled back and press them down. Also, keep your mouth closed when you lean your head backwards. It intensifies the stretch of the front muscles of your neck.

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One of the things that you will notice is that some muscle groups might be “tighter” than others. Feel free to spend another minute or so on areas that need a little bit more work.

I’d suggest you do it everyday. However, it is fine if you skip a day or two every now and then. You will learn a lot about the state of your neck muscles by adopting this routine; so with time you should be able to tell when some work is needed.

Contrary to other muscle groups, it was my impression that the results came a lot faster than I’d expect. Give it a try and you will see results soon.

PS: Big thanks to Professor Elsa Sery for contributing/supervising the writing of this article. She is the therapist that takes care of everybody from our team!

 

Book your private class with Prof. Bruno Fernandes at Gracie Barra BJJ Montreal now.