Check out these top nine neck stretches to relieve sore, stiff, and tight muscles after working out.
In this article:
- Seated Neck Release
- Grounded Tipover Tuck
- Forward and Back Tilt
- Side Rotation
- Shoulder Rolls
- Neck Rolls
- Arm Circles
- Seated Heart Opener
9 Neck Stretches to Relieve Stiffness and Tightness
1. Seated Neck Release
— SilverSneakers (@SilverSneakers) January 16, 2018
After a solid shoulder and traps workout, you might feel a slight strain in the side of your neck. Luckily, the seated neck release is one of the best desk stretches you can do to alleviate this type of pain. Here’s how to do it:
- Sit on a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the ground.
- Place your right hand on your right knee and your left hand at the top of your head. Next, gently pull your head to the left. You should feel the right side of your neck stretching.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other side.
Tip: If you want a deeper stretch, do not use your hand to force your head to the side. Instead, grip your knee to pull your torso toward the opposite side.
2. Grounded Tipover Tuck
The grounded tipover tuck is one of the best neck stretches to relieve headaches, drowsiness, neck soreness, and back pain. You may opt to do this in the morning when you wake up.
- First, get down on your knees and place your shins on the floor. This post is called a “Child’s Pose.”
- Clasp your hands behind the back, then stretch them as far back as you can.
- Inhale and then shift your body weight forward. Stay in this position for 5-10 seconds.
- Return to your normal position gradually.
Tip: You should feel the stretch in your spine and shoulders. Remember to relax your torso while doing this stretch.
3. Forward and Back Tilt
These basic stretches are a simple yet effective way to alleviate pain. They’re also a great warm-up exercise. In fact, you should consider adding this to your warm-up routine.
- First, stand upright, place your arms at the sides, and relax your shoulders. This will be your starting position.
- Next, gently tilt your head toward your chest. Hold for 30 seconds before going back to your starting position.
- Take a few deep breaths, then slowly tilt your head as far back as you can. Hold for another 30 seconds before releasing.
- Do this as many times as you need to.
4. Side Rotation
When neck pain strikes while you’re at the office, side rotation exercises will be your lifesaver. You can do this while you’re standing or seated. But for a deeper stretch, it’s best to do this standing up.
- First, stand upright with your shoulders relaxed and arms at the sides.
- Slowly tilt your head to the right then hold for 30 seconds.
- Next, push your head forward and hold for another 30 seconds. After that, tilt your head to the left and hold for 30 more seconds.
- Lastly, push your head back and hold it again for 30 seconds.
- You can repeat this exercise as many times as you need to.
Tip: The goal is to make a slow, controlled rotation hitting all sides of your neck. There’s no need to rush this stretch.
5. Shoulder Rolls
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5 Days of 5 Essential Post-Workout Stretches with Amanda Paige … Day 2: Shoulder Rolls Shoulder rolls are a great mobility exercise for the shoulders, scapula, and upper back. As you roll your shoulders up and back away from your ears, make the movement larger each time. Perform this exercise two to three times to the back, and then reverse it, and perform it to the front. This exercise will increase range of motion in the shoulders, and improve posture and release throat tension.
Shoulder rolls are great neck stretches for stiff neck and tight shoulders.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders relaxed, and arms hanging at the sides.
- Slowly rotate your shoulders to the front as many times as you can for 30 seconds.
- Pause for a few counts, then rotate your shoulders to the back for another 30 seconds.
6. Neck Rolls
Is your neck really tight? Try these neck rolls to improve the flexibility of your neck as well as relieve pain.
- Stand upright with your shoulders relaxed and arms hanging at the sides.
- Tilt your head to the right, slowly roll your head forward, pushing your chin toward your chest, then tilt it to the left. That counts as one complete U movement.
- Reverse the rotation to your other side.
- The goal here is to make slow, continuous movements for 30 seconds.
Tip: Apart from being great neck stretches for stiff muscles, neck rolls are also a great warm-up exercise.
7. Arm Circles
Arm circles are one of the easiest exercises to do that can help warm up the shoulders, chest, arms, and back. It’s always a good addition to any pre-workout regimen.
- Stand perpendicular to a wall with your back straight, feet shoulder-width apart, and arms hanging at the sides.
- Next, slowly make a big circle with your arm that’s facing the wall.
- Rotate your arm forward and backward 10 times each for a total of 20 rotations.
- Do the same process with your other arm.
8. Seated Heart Opener
The seated heart opener is one of the best yoga neck stretches to stretch your spine and relieve pain at the back of your neck.
- Get down on your knees with your shins flat on the ground and butt on top of your heels.
- Use your arms to pull yourself as far back as you can.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds before releasing.
This is a classic yoga pose that stretches the back of your neck.
- Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet on the ground about hip-width apart.
- Next, slowly walk your feet toward your butt to raise your hips. Continue raising your hips as high as you can throughout the stretch.
- Once you’ve reached the peak, hold the stretch for 30 seconds before releasing.
Tip: The bridge is also a great stretch to incorporate into your core workout routine. For example, after doing a set of crunches, you can do the bridge to fully stretch your abdominal muscles.
Need more help on how to do neck stretches? Check out this video from AskDoctor Jo:
To avoid getting stiff and tight muscles, opt to do these neck stretches regularly, especially before you work out. Stretching out your muscles is an effective way to avoid getting sprains, cramps, and other sports injuries. Plus, stretching improves flexibility, which allows you to do your lifts better. Remember: no matter what your fitness goals are, it’s very important to regularly do these neck stretches.
What are your favorite neck stretches? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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