Scalene Dumbbell Exercises

The scalene muscles help stabilize the spine.
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If you’ve ever been in a crowd and tipped your head a bit to the side to see something, or perhaps if you’ve given a head fake in basketball, you employed the scalene muscles, a set of six muscles in the back of your neck. The scalenes, also known as lateral flexors, help you dip your head so your ear moves closer to your shoulder. Building up the scalenes and your other neck muscles helps you move and stabilize your head, which is particularly important in fast-moving sports such as soccer, basketball and hockey, where contact is inevitable.

Lying Neck Resistance

Step 1

Lie face down on a flat bench so the tops of your shoulders just overhang the bench’s short end.

Step 2

Grasp a small dumbbell in both hands and hold it on the back of your head as you face forward.

Step 3

Inhale as you lower the top of your head slowly toward the floor while you hold the weight against your head.

Step 4

Exhale as you raise your head back to the starting position. Perform at least eight reps.

Step 5

Turn face up on the bench and repeat the exercise while you hold the weight against your forehead.

Weighted Neck Extension

Step 1

Sit on a chair or the edge of a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Lean your upper body forward so your shoulders are above your lower thighs.

Step 2

Hold a small dumbbell against the back of your head and look down to assume the starting position.

Step 3

Exhale as you lift your head until you’re looking forward. Keep the weight still against the back of your head.

Step 4

Inhale as you return to the starting position. Perform at least eight repetitions.

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