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Stretch and Strengthen Your Neck with This Easy Core Exercise

exercise neck pain posture

Ever since I got into a fender-bender years ago I've had a spot on my neck that likes to tighten up from time to time.  

Things that flare my neck up:  

  • work (bending over people all day long, OR sitting at a desk writing ...)
  • dance (partner dance as well as aerial dance both emphasize my right side and tense up that side of the neck spot)  
  • stress (I need to stay on top of my magnesium and trace mineral intake and regular acupuncture treatment so I don't clench my jaw at night)

Fortunately, I know what to do so I don't have to live with constant pain.  

This is one of the few exercises that made a HUGE difference in how my neck feels on a regular basis.  It's a basic core activation that can strengthen your whole spine, up into your neck. 


We start by lying down on the ground.  Bring your knees right above your hips. 

From here, I want you to tilt your pelvis so your lower back is in full contact with the ground.  Make sure when you do this that your knees don’t move in toward your chest.  Keep them in the same position. 

This activates your lower abdominal muscles. 

Up to this point, this exercise is called a "dead bug."  

This may be enough for you and that’s ok to stop here, take a few deep, slow breaths and repeat 2 or 3 more times. 

If you want to work this into your shoulders and neck, lift your arms up to the ceiling, really pushing through your shoulders so they lift off the ground a bit. 

Flex your hands so your fingers head toward your face and palms toward the ceiling. 

Next, see if you can lift your neck just about 1" or less off the ground. 

  • Make sure you keep your ears in line with the top of your shoulders. 
  • Relax your jaw. 
  • Gaze between your knees. 

Feel as though there’s a long line from your tailbone up through the top of your head.

You should feel a lot of things going on here! 

  • Feet flexed
  • Lower abdominals engaged
  • Shoulders pushing
  • Neck stretching long (important:  NOT craning upward toward your chest)
  • Breathing slow and deep

Stay here and take a few deep slow breaths, then slowly lower and repeat 2 or 3 more times. 

You can do this exercise every day if you find it helpful.   

If you're ready to finally get rid of stubborn neck pain, join us for Pain Relief Masterclass, coming soon.   

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