How to Use Kettlebells in Neck Strengthening Exercises

By Sari Hardyal

Kettlebells are taking the bodybuilding and sports world by storm. These cannon-ball like weights have been used to train a variety of athletes and are now becoming more mainstream due to their versatile uses in weight lifting. Kettlebells can be incorporated into a workout to help strengthen neck muscles, but you must be very careful when beginning such a workout.

How to Use Kettlebells in Neck Strengthening Exercises

Stretch the neck muscles and increase flexibility. To start, tuck your chin into your chest and relax the neck muscles, allowing the neck to fully stretch toward the chest. You can help this stretch by lacing your fingers behind your head and gently pulling your head down toward your chest. Next, turn the head to the side, looking far over the shoulder. Do this over both shoulders. Drop the head back and look toward the celing, allowing the neck to relax and feel a good stretch. Finally, allow the head to drop to one side, touching your ear to your shoulder. Keep the shoulder relaxed as you do this. You may need to assist your neck by pulling your head gently to the side with one hand. Hold all stretches for at least 30 seconds.

Hold a kettlebell in each hand. Make sure the weight is appropriate for your strength and size. Use your upper back, neck, and shoulder muscles to lift the kettlebells straight up as you shrug your shoulders. Keep the neck in a neutral position so you do not strain any of the neck muscles while performing this.

Continue holding the kettlebells in each hand, but turn your palms to face forward. Keeping your body and neck upright, squeeze your shoulderblades together and allow the kettlebells to come slightly outward and back as you flex your upper back and neck muscles. This will help to strengthen the trapezius muscles, as well as the deeper back muscles that run up through the neck.

Hold one kettlebell in both hands. This can be heavier than the kettlebells you were using before, since now you are using one kettlebell and both arms. Holding the kettlebell at the midline of your body, grasp the kettlebell by the sides of the handle, so the knuckles from both hands are facing one another. Starting at about navel level, lift the kettlebell straight up to chest level. You should feel this in the back of the neck and in the upper back. Do not perform this exercise if you have any problems with the shoulder or rotator cuff.

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