Whether it’s the first ever game of your young athlete’s career or the last game of the season, it’s more than essential to ensure they’re ready for action. An athlete’s neck, which is an important yet most ignored body part, should be strengthened before participation in football and even in soccer to avoid potential injuries.
Research has shown that strengthening the neck can:
– Prevent injuries that may occur during contact sports such as football
– Results in an overall increase in speed, agility and strength
– Improve balance, one of the key components of being a successful football player
Through some research we’ve found here are a few neck strengthening exercises that will benefit the student athlete:
1. Cervical Slides
Football requires a lot of bending and twisting of the neck especially during tackline. You can help your child achieve a better posture and a firmer neck with cervical slides.
How to do it?
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Now, bend your neck and slowly move your chin downward until you feel the stretch on the back of your neck. Next, tuck your chin to your chest and slowly move your head back up. Repeat this in one minute.
Reminder: Always keep your chin tucked in to avoid straining your neck.
For better execution, watch this video tutorial: https://www.nfl.com/news/get-ahead-of-the-game-with-these-neck-exercises-0ap3000000602977
2. Dumbbell Front Raises
If you want to enhance shoulder mobility and tone your upper body to take on the forces during tackling or being tackled, dumbbell front raises are your go-to exercise. It also helps strengthen your upper back and the muscles of your neck.
How to do it?
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Swing your arms back and touch the dumbbells to your upper chest. Slowly lower them back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 20 reps.
Pro tip: Avoid swinging the dumbbells too fast. This can put a lot of pressure on your neck.
Learn how to do it properly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXSoDQ7SgTk
3. Dumbbell Shrugs
Usually, this exercise is done with a barbell, but you can also do it with dumbbells.
By practicing shrugs, you’re developing your upper body’s muscles and strengthening your neck. This can even help improve power in the shoulder and elbow joints. In addition, it will allow you to hold your head high, protecting your neck from unnecessary stresses caused by a forward posture.
How to do it?
Stand with your feet slightly apart, knees slightly bent and dumbbells raised above your head. Shrug your shoulders up and down while keeping your arms straight. Repeat for 10-20 reps.
Note: Make sure you don’t raise your shoulders higher than your ears. Go only as high as your shoulder joints allow.
This video tutorial will teach you how to do the shrug properly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llSrlpd7TEE
Better Safe than Sorry
Injuries can happen anytime, so it’s essential to better understand the potential risks that can be caused by injuries and how much time you should dedicate to preventing them from happening.
If you want your child to stay healthy and avoid injuries, take these exercises seriously to help strengthen their neck so they can play at their optimal capacity.
Need help in prepping your young football superstar before the game?
Let us handle that for you. From the pre-game warmup to the post-game cooldown, we’ll ensure that your child is ready to take action when the whistle blows. So contact us today, and let us get you started!