You don’t have to live with the flabby look of a turkey neck or double chin. Although it’s normal for neck muscles to get looser with age, such sagging is avoidable. If you’re like most women, you want a slimmer neck to create and maintain the taut and graceful look that keeps you looking young and fit. You can get that slimmer, toned look by achieving a healthy body weight and using neck exercises to strengthen and define key neck muscles.
Neck Workout Routine
Complete five to 10 repetitions of each exercise, three times a day.
You can use a towel instead of your hands to provide resistance for the front and back head resistance exercise.
Since these exercises strengthen and stretch muscles at the same time, you don’t need to warm up first. Before you start, though, remember to follow the exercise guidelines of your doctor or physical therapist if you have neck problems.
Of course neck exercises alone can't spot-reduce the neck area. But combined with overall fat loss, they'll help the neck look slimmer. The two muscles to target are the platysma and the sternomastoid. The platysma is a broad, thin sheath of muscle covering the front of your upper chest, tops of your shoulders, and the sides and front of your neck and jaw. Underneath it, the sternomastoid muscles are two thick, vertical bands on either side of the neck. They start at the top of your chest and slant backward to connect behind your ears.
You can tone both of these muscle groups without any fitness equipment using six neck exercises. Recommended by the University of Maryland, these moves will also give you more strength and flexibility. Try the following simple routine you can do while standing or sitting. As you do, you will feel the platysma and sternomastoid muscles tighten. Since your head weighs about ten pounds, you'll actually be doing strength training. Be patient. Expect to see improvements in a few weeks as you exercise your neck muscles and lose body fat.
Head rotation: While looking straight ahead, rotate your head slowly toward your right shoulder as far as you can. Hold briefly before returning your head slowly back to center position. Repeat this move toward the left shoulder.
Side head tilt: Looking straight ahead, slowly tilt your head toward your right shoulder without touching your ear to your shoulder. Hold this position briefly before returning your head slowly to center position. Repeat toward your left shoulder.
Front and back head tilt: Slowly tip your head back until you’re looking straight up. Hold this position for a moment, then tilt your head forward to resume the starting pose.
Front and back head tilt with resistance: Repeat the previous front and back head tilt but vary the exercise by using your hand on your head to provide resistance for five seconds, and relax after each rep.
Things You'll Need
- Complete five to 10 repetitions of each exercise, three times a day.
- You can use a towel instead of your hands to provide resistance for the front and back head resistance exercise.
- Since these exercises strengthen and stretch muscles at the same time, you don’t need to warm up first. Before you start, though, remember to follow the exercise guidelines of your doctor or physical therapist if you have neck problems.
Cynthia Still is a published health writer and book editor. She is also co-author of two books, "The Hormone Headache" and "The Truth about TMJ," plus numerous wellness articles for a newspaper and former radio show, "Health News."