Exercises to Strengthen Back & Neck Muscles

You can strengthen your back and neck muscles with several exercises that require no equipment at all. The muscles in your back and neck are supporting your spine, the central skeletal channel of your body. Therefore, strengthening these supportive muscles will enhance your posture and alleviate pain or pressure in your legs and buttocks as well. The yoga exercises cobra and cat pose along with a simple but effective head resistance exercise will yield major results. You can perform these exercises at any time, anywhere you like.

Cobra or Upward-Facing Dog

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is the Sanskrit name for this powerful back and neck strengthener also commonly known as upward facing dog or cobra. To try this exercise, begin by lying on your stomach with your forehead on the floor and legs extended but touching one another. Bend your elbows as you bring your palms to the ground beside your chest. Slide your body forward like a snake as you lift the crown of your head up toward the ceiling. Bring your chest forward and look up toward the sky. Keep your shoulders back and open your collarbones. Your back, neck and legs should be engaged but your buttock muscles are relaxed. Hold this cobra-like pose for two breaths. Repeat three times daily.

Cat Pose

Marjaryasana, or cat pose, is particularly useful to strengthen all muscles along the spine including the neck. To perform cat pose, begin on your hands and knees in a flat-back position. Your knees should be directly under your hips and your wrists should be under your shoulders. Look down at the floor between your hands. Inhale fully in this position. On the exhale, round your spine and bring your chin toward your chest. Keep your shoulders and knees in the same position as you do this. Inhale as you return to the starting neutral position. As your strength increases, hold cat pose for up to three minutes and practice daily.

Head Resistance

Hold both palms against your forehead. Try to move your head forward but resist the head with your hands. Hold this for five counts. Repeat with both hands behind your head, then on the right and left side of your head concurrently. Do five to 10 cycles of this exercise as many as three times daily to isolate and strengthen all neck muscles effectively.

About the Author

Sala Saran is a bi-athlete and certified personal fitness trainer who is passionate about the life-transformative power of sports and fitness. Teaching a holistic perspective of the fitness lifestyle that is rooted in personal development, Saran shares her expertise in articles, columns and seminars to lead others to a discovery of their own power to transform their life experience.