Flexibility in the cervical spine is often neglected in modern stretching routines. The importance of neck flexibility for health can be implied simply by looking at the large number of yoga postures which involve the top 7 vertebrae. From Plow to Fish, from Rabbit to Camel. Aside from athletic activities flexible neck helps to prevent headache, upper back, arm and hands pain.
In sports having strong and flexible neck can mean the difference between a perfect skills and a poor one. At the same time cervical flexibility is often an integral part of safety and conditioning program. Athletes such as wrestlers and grapplers for example need their neck to be just as strong and flexible as the rest of their bodies. In this routine 4 primary directions are trained through the use of kinesiological stretching techniques:
- The flexion of the neck or movement of the head forward and down.
- The extension of the cervical spine or bring the head back.
- Lateral Flexion of the neck or stretching the neck side way, by bring the ear to the shoulder.
- Rotation Of the neck or turning the head to either side.
Unlike the standard passive neck stretches, kinesiological stretches focus on each of the muscles that restrict the movement individually. Each muscle is isolated and various actions are used against each other to create length. This allows to avoid the pain of the stretch reflex and speed up the flexibility gains.
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