Neck Strengthening Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

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Neck Strengthening Exercises can go a long way in helping to prevent neck pain. And these neck strengthening exercises are a great way to strengthen your neck. Read Doctor Jo’s blog post about this video at

Anytime you exercise or work muscles, it is a good idea to warm them up. Moist heat works well to get the muscles loose and ready to work. 15-20 minutes is the recommended time. In this video, I used the Sunny Bay Microwaveable Neck Heating Wrap. Purchase one in our product store:

Let’s get started. Make sure you keep your neck in a neutral position with all these exercises, lined up with your spine. You should start off with a very light resistive band for the neck muscles since they are smaller muscles. I will use yellow for these exercises, which is the lightest band. Make sure you don’t choke yourself while doing these!

For the first set of exercises, put the band on the outside of your head on the side you want to strengthen. Then hold it on the opposite side. Don’t let the band slip off your head and pop you! Now bring your ear down towards your shoulder, but try not to lift your shoulder up towards your ear and keep it down. Slowly take your ear down, and slowly come back up. You don’t have to go far, just make sure you are controlling the band with the exercise, and try not to move your whole body. Then switch sides.

The next exercise is a chin tuck. This is not taking your chin to your chest, but it is actually pulling or retracting it inwards. You will have a lot of chins if you do this correctly. Now put the band behind your head, and hold the band in front of you. Tuck your chin in and hold it for 3-5 seconds and come back out. If you can’t keep it from sliding on your hair, you can wrap it around the back of your neck, but you might not get quite as much resistance.

Finally, you will do a neck rotation. This time, you will wrap the band behind your head and cross it in front of you, so there is an X in the band. Hold the band in front and slightly out to the sides. Rotate your head slowly to one side, and then to the other. This is like you are looking over your shoulder behind you.

You can also ice your muscles after you exercise for 10-15 minutes to cool the muscles and help prevent inflammation.

Related Videos:

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Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy.


Neck Strengthening Exercises:

PRODUCT PLACEMENT DISCLAIMER: This video represents the honest opinions of Doctor Jo. Thank you to Sunny Bay for providing Doctor Jo with a free Microwaveable Neck Heating Wrap to use in this video.

DISCLAIMER: This video and any related comments are not medical advice. Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy; however, she is not YOUR Physical Therapist and can’t possibly diagnose you through the Internet. So don’t use this information to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they have given you. This information should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any medical condition. If you are not properly diagnosed, this information won’t help, and it could make things worse. If you experience any pain, stop immediately and see your healthcare professional.

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AskDoctorJo says:

Buy a printable worksheet with the Neck Strengthening Exercises in this video here:
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Thank you Dr. Joe you are a life saver.

Post Modern says:

Are those exercises also good for neck wrinkles??

Anand Anand says:

Very good
It reduces stress

Question: pillow for neck?

crow ya salty says:

does increases in muscle mass in the neck causes spinal cords compression and other severe problem?My coach with many years in training muaythai boxing said I shouldnt for that exact issue

Awxen says:

I didn't know warming up your muscles meant literally warming them up.

Gorjan says:

How important is good posture? Do I need to keep my spine straight throughout every exercise? With my scoliosis that's a problem. Thanks

Jasmine Bell says:

I really am happy I came across this video, it is impactful!

chorse70 says:

Where can I buy the elastic band you use? I only see them in Physical Therapy?

Sherry Shane says:

I have neck problem spinal stenosis is there anything i can do for strong neck muscles

Timothy Erb says:

Hi Doctor Jo, How much time should be spent daily doing these exercises?

Candace Beckles says:

Can these exercises work for c1-c2 misaligned, moderate instability

H A says:

So this will also (to some degree) tone the neck?

Susan Buckley says:

Great video! Where do I buy the yellow bands?

Carmen Rojas says:

Hi Dr. Joe you mentioned how long to hold it 3 to five seconds but how many times do we do them each

Phylicia Goodridge says:

How often should these exercises be done? Also how many reps.

s-viv says:

Would just lying on a bench (or bed even) with you neck over the end and just lowering your head down a tad and tucking in work as well? Similar to a weight training routine but with out the added weight? More of a gravity exercise than a band.

rahghad qtb says:

are these exercises effect in case of kyphosis??

sean juan says:

Is it okay to do these exercises while you have a stiff neck?

Help Me Out! Videos says:

Great stuff, thanks!

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