Video Transcript:

One of the best exercises to strengthen some of your deep neck flexor muscles is neck retraction exercise or chin tuck exercise. By neck retraction what I mean is that you’re taking your chin and you’re literally sucking it back or pulling it back towards you, past neutral.

You’re holding that position for about two or three seconds, then you’d let that go slightly. What that looks like from the side is I’m going to go and pull my chin back, literally pulling it straight back. I’m trying to make double chins basically, pulling it back.

I’m holding that about two or three seconds and then I let that go. You want to ideally do that about twenty five repetitions so twenty five times ideally about twice a day.

Some people find it very difficult when they first start to actually isolate and feel this movement. To help with that process, it is sometimes easier to actually take our fingers and just feel what that movement feels like.

So using our actual fingers to push your head back, again holding that about two or three seconds then just letting that go slightly, and then just pushing your head back again. You don’t want to do that all the time, you just want to start doing that first because ideally we want to be recruiting these deep neck flexor muscles to actually do that job for us to strengthen them.

The other issue is that sometimes when people do this they tend to tilt their head back into hyperextension or they tend to tilt their head down into flexion. You want to avoid this. So when we’re doing this we want our chin staying relatively neutral, sometimes it tucks down just slightly, but it’s literally just going straight back like this.

Trying to make that double chin, holding it for two or three seconds, letting it go slightly, doing it again, holding it for two or three seconds.

The other issue that I sometimes see with patients is that when they come back from that retracted state, they tend to stick their head out past neutral, into that sort of chicken neck posture or position. We want to avoid that.

We don’t want to exaggerate that forward motion because we are trying to correct this posture, we do not want to be accentuating that movement with this exercise. This is a great exercise that you can literally do anywhere. You can do it on the subway, you can do it in your car you can do it at your computer, eating breakfast, anytime, it’s a very easy exercise to incorporate into your everyday.

Any questions about any of this, please ask.

What is the neck retraction exercise?

The neck retraction exercise is designed to counteract chronic forward neck posture by strengthening the deep neck flexor muscles. This helps to improve slouched posture, helping to bring the head and upper back backwards.

Neck Retraction/Chin Tuck Exercise Instructions:

  • Step 1

    From a neutral posture, pull your chin straight backwards, in effect attempting to make a double chin.

  • Step 2

    Do not force this movement, aim for 70-80% of your full range of motion when going back into retraction.

  • Step 3

    Keep your chin neutral or horizontal. Try not to tilt your head back into extension, or tilt it down excessively.

  • Step 4

    Hold the neck retraction or chin tuck position for two to three (2-3) seconds, then release your neck back towards neutral position.

  • Step 5

    If this movement is difficult in the beginning, you can use your thumb or fingers to gently push your chin/neck backwards, to get comfortable with the movement. Eventually however, use your own muscles to do this movement, to strengthen your deep neck flexors.

  • Step 6

    In some cases, it is helpful to watch yourself in the mirror, or have someone watch you, to make sure you are doing it correctly.

  • Step 7

    When coming back to neutral from the retracted state, don’t stick your chin out past neutral, into a chicken neck posture. We want to avoid exaggerating the forward head posture.

  • Step 8

    Repeat the motion 20-25 times, holding for 2-3 seconds each time.

  • Step 9

    Repeat 2x daily.

  • Step 10

    If you experience pain with the exercise, please stop, and try in the future more gently, and with less repetitions.

  • Step 11

    To help with neck retraction, watch the SCM stretch video and incorporate the stretch, to help release tension in the front of your neck.

  • Step 12

    For a full neck stretching protocol, watch the Neck Stretching compilation video.

Read More About Neck Retraction/Chin
Tuck Exercise Below

In this video, you will learn how to do the chin tuck exercise or neck retraction exercise. This is a great posture correction exercise, particularly for forward head posture correction, and one of our favorite patient exercises.

When learning how to do this exercise, particularly if you have neck pain, it is important to follow the video carefully, and understand that any posture correction exercise will take time. Take your time with the movement, and do not rush. This should not be painful. If it is painful, stop, and start again later more gently, or a modification may be required.

To assist with neck retraction, consider adding an SCM stretch, to help release your sternocleidomastoid muscle, and make the chin tuck exercise easier.

If you have any questions about the neck retraction exercise video, or the steps involved in it, or experience any pain, please ask.

For further exercises for postural correction and forward head posture, refer to our neck pain Toronto condition page here:

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