Why do I get so much neck tension when I lift my head off the floor?


Whether you’re doing sit ups, or just general exercise from the floor, you may have noticed tension in your neck.

When doing this, you probably need to keep your hands behind your head, right?

Most people will feel this tension when they lift their head.

But is it bad? Is there something you can do about it?

Especially for those who frequently exercise, prolonged neck tension can begin to travel.

This means that tension can start to appear in the upper back and shoulders.

And those with previous neck injuries will suffer more because of this.

So, even if it’s just more annoying than anything else, we want to do something about it.

To ease the tension in your neck, you must begin any movement by first engaging your Powerhouse (your core). 

When your abdominal muscles are engaged correctly, you will be lifting your head using your whole spine rather than just your neck. This will take some of the tension out of your neck and put it in your abs. (This is definitely a good thing)

Avoid looking directly at the ceiling, as this will create more tension in the front of the neck. 

Instead, practice looking toward your belly button or around the middle of your thighs.

Finally, be careful that the core simply isn’t too tired. This can also cause neck tension.

If this happens you should stop, and take a break or we can put one hand behind the head to support the neck.

Now it’s time to put it into practice

Sometimes it only takes a moment to recover before you join back in the exercise.

Never suffer or push through neck or low back tension at any time.

Pilates is about precision, control and efficiency, so take breaks when you need them.

Listen to your body and know that with practice and patience you will develop the skills necessary to avoid neck tension.