Neck Mobility Drills
Recently I have started playing around with some variations on the traditional neck mobility drills (flexion/extension, side bending/lateral flexion and rotation). These ideas have come about from a number of exercise professionals (Morgan White of FreeFormPractice Instagram) and Steve Maxwell.
Traditionally I would have my clients look to perform the active cervical spine movements (flexion, extension, side bending and rotation) with little focus on where the movement is coming from. However I am now having my clients bring their attention to where the movement is occurring so that we can look to develop a more focused active exercise program. What I have started to understand is that if you bring the individuals attention to where the movement is occuring (which axis point), then you can create a much more varied and focused mobility drill. Take the active neck flexion and extension mobility drill. Have the person try and focus the flexion and extension through different segments, say C3 and then C6. The individual is likely to feel very different movement occurring in these two movements and it brings areas of tightness and restriction to the awareness of the individual. This same principle can be applied for active neck side bending drills. As for cervical rotation, have the individual be as tall as they can and try and spin through the vertical axis in the neck only. In many cases we will see compensating movement i.e. shoulders occurring because of the difficulty in being able to disassociate movement.
When trying these mobility drills, be sure to avoid pain and/or discomfort. I will often have my clients work through a pain free range and look to build on this as they become more successful and comfortable with the exercise. In the videos below I have demonstrated these movements.