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The Number One Reason For Neck Training

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Nov 30, 2018 8:55:41 AM

University College London funded by the British Heart Foundations findings were set forth this year at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions conference in Chicago. They presented their findings for testing cognitive decline by examining the pulse of blood vessels in the neck. Three thousand one hundred and ninety one people between the ages of 58-74 were given ultrasounds on their necks and monitored for 14 years. Those with the most intense blood pulses which indicated irregular blood flow were 50% more likely to exhibit reduced cognitive functions. The participants in the upper 25%, whose blood reached their brain with the highest intensity were almost 50% more likely to exhibit cognitive decline in the next 10 years than all those studied. The results are so strong that researchers believe a 5-minute neck scan will predict future dementia risks.

People should exercise regularly, eat healthy, manage their blood pressure and cholesterol all which contributes to safeguarding vascular flow. Yet, nationally the significant importance of neck training is overlooked in exercise and rehabilitation. Healthy blood vessels maintain a healthy blood supply to all organs. Resistance training augments skeletal muscle fiber capillarization and more blood means more energy and oxygen, which most importantly makes our brain perform better. Without question muscle capillarization is essential to maintain metabolism, fitness, and function with aging. Make neck training something that is never neglected when Getting Strong and make neck training an essential part of exercise.

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At Hardpressed in Chicago...clients train the Entire System.

Topics: Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Neck training

Superficial Neck Flexor Substitution

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Nov 20, 2018 6:39:35 PM

There is more muscle in your neck than degrees of freedom. Degrees of freedom refers to the numerous ways you can move your head and neck through space, this is an important positive in daily living. If we wake up in the morning with a stiff neck we are able to function throughout the day by substituting the pained area with unaffected muscle groups. This ability to substitute occurs often post neck trauma in athletics, as well as, with incidences of whiplash.

Looking at EMG activity in the neck muscles of those exhibiting neck pain researchers found that there is more electrical activity in the superficial (sternocleidomastoid, anterior scalene) flexors during movement than in healthy individuals. This allows for reduced deep cervical flexor activity (longus capitis, longus colli) during neck flexion and is initially important if tissue is damaged and is problematic if continued long term.

Post recovery compensation and neuromuscular movement strategies can lead to poorer activation and atrophy.  Often over time there will be a re-occurrence of pain if rehabilitation was not done properly. The Pendulum 4 and 5 Way Head and Neck Machines address superficial neck flexor substitution. Adjust the Pendulum cam to any setting  from #12-14,  placing one's head on the face pad each repetition begins by applying pressure to the pad by pulling down and forward with the chin. An important process necessary in return-to-play and a fundamental part of Getting Strong. 

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Neck Training

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training, Head/Neck/Trap/Shop

Strengthening Health Issues

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Nov 16, 2018 10:12:43 AM

There are some 50 pairs of muscles and many nerves used to receive, prepare and move food to the stomach. Dysphagia is a medical term used to describe a difficulty that arises in swallowing. The problem is commonplace and can be related to health issues, the ageing process, disease, injury and more. One way therapists combat this problem is the Shaker Exercise. The Shaker Exercise is a head-lift and chin tuck from the supine position that consists of an isometric exercise of three consecutive sustained head raising movements for 1minute each with a 1 minute rest period between each head raising.

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The jaw-opening exercise (JOE) is also an exercise dealing with dysphagia where subjects open their jaws to the maximum extent and maintain this position for 10 seconds. This open-and-hold exercise is performed five times with 10 seconds of rest, which is counted as one set.

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The best deep flexor developer for strengthening, ageing, dysphagia and gerodontology is the Pendulum 4 Way (or 5 Way) Head and Neck Machine. Adjusting the cam to any setting #12-14, the user places their head first on the face pad and performs repetitions by applying pressure by pulling down and forward with their chin.  

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Setting #12 through #15 for Training Deep Neck Flexors

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Leading with the Chin Utilizing the last 4 Holes isolates the Deep Neck Flexor Muscles

Topics: Neck training, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Pendulum 5 Way Neck

The Neck And The Bicycle

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Sep 22, 2018 6:04:03 PM

Swim/bike/run competition originated in the 1920's in France. In 1974 the first 'modern triathlon' was held with 46 participants in San Diego, California. The sport has grown into a World, Olympic and a Paralympic event. 

bike picThe neck is among the most common overuse injuries in cyclists. As this physically demanding, wonderfully challenging, sport has grown so has the number of participants that have visited neurosurgery clinics with neck and back pain. It is a reminder that it is always important to train the entire system. 

In a study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, "Neck pain in  multisport athletes." It was found in a questionnaire to triathletes that 64% had sport related neck pain.

The cycling portion of the triathlon requires neck extension posture. The neck extensors and traps are active for hours and as fatigue sets in the suboccipitals are stressed as the participant needs to keep eyes up and the  head often in full length neck extension to safely follow the road.

When preparing for biking, swimming, running or any sport, make sure head and neck is always an important part of your exercise program. Below Doug Scott the strength and conditioning coach for the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey regularly includes neck strength training as part of his race regime. Doug recently finished the Lake Placid, Ironman Triathlon. Exercising at a competitive pace for 13 hours with zero complications is a tribute to his method, knowledge and training approach. Get Strong and Stay Strong to finish Strong.

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Topics: Muscular Strength, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Neck training

Train The Entire System

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Apr 16, 2018 3:08:10 PM

In April of 2018 the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published "Feasibility and Effect of Cervical Resistance Training on Head Kinematics in Youth Athletes: A Pilot Study."  Their goal was to see if there was potential for utilizing neck strengthening exercise to reduce youth athletes' risk for sport-related concussion by increasing neck girth and strength.  

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It has already been determined that neck girth and strength is associated with a lower risk of sport-related concussions. Having a stronger and/or larger neck mitigates head acceleration and dissipates force. The findings were published in the Journal of Pediatric Exercise Science several years ago - "The relationship between impact force, neck strength and neurocognitive performance in soccer heading in adolescent females." - and in Sports Health, "Sex Differences in Anthropometrics and Heading Kinematics Among Division I Soccer Athletes."

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Knowing neck girth and neck strength are factors that may limit head impact kinematics, it only makes sense that neck exercises are included in workout programs for all participants. The neck is part of our muscular system and should not be excluded from exercise regimes.

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Administering an exercise program requires it to be safe and effective, in other words -well thought out. One of the best programs in the United States is administered by the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, NJ.  Read the following blog to get insight into putting together a program that trains the entire system to increase performance and protect the athlete. 

http://info.rogersathletic.com/get-strong/bid/102205/Neck-Develop-Progressions-From-6th-Grade-To-12th

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Topics: Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Neck training

Maximize Range Of Motion - Neck Extension

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Feb 22, 2018 11:29:07 AM

The trapezius muscle is complex and is involved in many functions, posturally it is a counterbalance against the forward flexion of the head, due to the head's slight anterior center of gravity in relation to it's axis. The trapezius elevates the pectoral girdle, rotates the scapula upwards, retracts the scapula, depresses the shoulders - it is involved in side flexion of the neck, axial rotation of the upper thoracic spine and extension.

For safety, when we are startled, we quickly shrug elevating our shoulders using our traps to safeguard our head by not allowing the occiput to be thrust backwards. This movement is natural and reflexive. Training on a neck machine we unconsciously elevate our shoulders as a protective mechanism restricting the normal range of motion of neck extension. To maximize neck strength hold the handle in front of the Pendulum 4 or 5 Way Neck machine's seat pad or hold on to the bottom of the seat pad which depresses the traps. Keeping the shoulders down during neck extension strength will grow quickly.......use good form to Get Strong.

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 The Pendulum 5 Way Neck Machine

Topics: Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Neck training

Helmet Load

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Feb 7, 2018 11:49:18 AM

Advanced combat helmets, night vision goggles, forward head posture from carrying heavy loads, G forces when flying, all effect neck muscle strain and over time can promote neck pain. These activities leave military veterans with more cervical complaints than the normal population. It is extremely important that neck strengthening protocols are included in exercise regimes for military personnel and neck strengthening a life long pursuit. 

To improve neck muscle strength and endurance there is no better exercise device than the Pendulum 4 and 5 Way Head and Neck Machines.

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Reduce Helmet Load and it's Effect by Increasing Neck Strength.

 

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Manual Resistance, Neck training

Technology Age And Coaching

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Jan 10, 2018 9:46:38 AM

The semispinalis capitis is a posterior neck muscle with a long moment arm that functions as a main head and neck extensor. Acting unilaterally the semispinalis capitis rotates the neck to the opposite side. When we sit at our laptop computer or gaze at our cell phones there is lower activity in this muscle due to forward head posture. Over time as this flexed position persists we lose power and thickness in this important extensor and rotator. 

Forward head posture is not only a cause of muscular weakness but is associated with headaches, carpel tunnel syndrome, balance, neck range of motion, shoulder pain, chronic nonspecific neck pain and more.  It is estimated the average person checks their cell phone 35-75 per day and this does not include other electronic device use, which can mean from 2 to 5 hours per day we are in a 'text neck' position. To counteract this atrophy of tissue a neck extension movement should be commonplace in all exercise programs.

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Neck Extension on the Pendulum 5 Way Head and Neck Machine

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Neck training

Exercising The Neck

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Jan 4, 2018 3:16:35 PM

Having neck exercises as part of any workout routine is an important component of a fitness program. Push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, squats, lunges, planks are commonplace in any free-body routine but without inclusion of neck training overall development is incomplete.

An effective addition to a workout regime is to lay supine with the upper arm at a right angle to the side, the forearms parrallel to the neck and head as if making a goal post. The back of the hands must remain on the floor during the entire movement, this coaching point keeps the traps from assisting the head and neck during motion.

The exercise begins by raising the head off the floor and holding the movement for a determined count. The head then is moved to full flexion, held contracted and returned parrallel or slightly off the floor. It is recommended to hold each movement for 30 seconds at the beginning of and the top of each repetition to get the most out of the exercise. 

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Topics: Neck training, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Pendulum 5 Way Neck

The Most Important Exercise

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Oct 25, 2017 9:31:59 AM

In March of 2014, The American Journal of Sports Medicine published, Effect of neck muscle strength and anticipatory cervical muscle activation on the kinematic response of the head to impulsive loads, they concluded "Interventions aimed at increasing athletes' neck strength and reducing unanticipated impacts may decrease the risk of concussion associated with sport participation."  This has important meaning for male and female athletes across the age spectrum for them to achieve greater neck strength and always improve their skill. By doing so they will be more accomplished in the anticipation of bracing for impact (anticipatory cervical muscle activation) and can reduce the magnitude of the head's subconcussive and concussive forces if incidences do occur.

A concussion (MTB, mild traumatic brain injury) and a variety of head and neck injuries are occurrences and risks associated with many of the sports that we play.  On October 1st, 2017, The Journal of Biomedical Engineering published, The Role of Neck Muscle Activities on the Risk of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in American Football. Knowing neck strength is an effective preventative strategy in reducing sports related concussions, researchers wanted to examine the 'why' strength changed the head's kinematic response? They looked at four different muscle activation strategies - no muscle response, a reactive muscle response, a pre-activation response, and response due to stronger muscle strength to compare the effects of neck muscles on the risk of sustaining a concussion. "Simulation results indicated that active responses of neck muscles could effectively reduce the risk of brain injury." Increased neck strength can decrease the time to compress the neck and guard against the traumatic effects of injury. This study reaffirmed the aforementioned 2014 research.

As it turns, performance aside, this is why we strength train, to build our musculature to protect us as best we can during competition. Without question the number one and most important area of our body to train are the muscles of the head and neck. And if we are to look at training for performance -- remember as an athlete or coach, 'Where the head goes the body will follow', decreasing response time of neck muscles allows the body to move faster. Having quick responsive musculature throughout the system and a comparatively slower head and neck musculature is counterintuitive. 

Make head and neck training a priority to keep athletes safe and Get Strong.

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 The Pendulum 5 Way Head and Neck Machine

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training