How to strengthen neck muscles at home – stop chin poking out

How to strengthen neck muscles at home – stop chin poking out

This is one of six short YouTube videos which make up a simple home program to pull you out of a painful, hunched upper back and neck and back towards perfect posture. The program consists of one muscle stretch, two support strengthening exercises, two home massages and practical posture.

This home program and a spinal fulcrum called the Backpod were developed in New Zealand specifically to counter the iHunch. This is the hunched upper back driving most neck pain and headache which is now the commonest upper spinal problem in the computer-savvy world. Everyone knows someone who is hunched and in pain.

This isn’t unusual or mysterious – why lots of bending causes problems is well understood. What has exploded the numbers are laptops, tablets and smartphones. These are not like desk top computers – they cannot be set up ergonomically correctly, because you can’t separate their screens from their keyboards. You need to hunch to use them.

So ergonomics, standing desks, etc. don’t help much with this problem. What you can do is treat and look after your spine so it’ll actually handle lots of hunching – over phones or computers or anything else. That’s what the Backpod and its home programme of stretching, strengthening, massage and posture are for.

Most other treatment approaches don’t cover all the bases. Gyms strengthen muscles; yoga stretches them, massage massages them; chiropractors and osteopaths click the joints free temporarily; medications and acupuncture try to suppress the pain but don’t treat the problems causing it. They’re all useful, but they all cover just one part of the problem, so you usually get results that are incomplete and don’t last.

You need to deal to each part of the problem – it’s the collection that works. The simple home programme is in the Backpod’s user guide, available free for anyone to view or download on the Backpod’s website www.backpod.co.nz The full six short YouTube videos (of which this is one) are listed on the iHunch page.

The Backpod and its home programme were developed from New Zealand physiotherapy expertise specifically to counter the iHunch. They are equally as effective for other hunching sub-groups, e.g. dentists, hairdressers, chefs, teachers, cyclists, surgeons, nurses, scientists, dairy farmers, assembly line and garment industry workers, nursing mothers, slouching adolescents, gamers, etc.

It’s not just the neck pain and headache. Posture is important – if you want to be noticed when you walk into a room, do it with perfect posture. A hunching posture indicates submission, a lack or self-confidence, not so much worth being listened to. Perfect posture gets attention. (For an inspiring explanation of this, see Dr Amy Cuddy’s YouTube TED talk on posture and body language with over 40 million views.)

This collection of six short videos is designed from 30 years of New Zealand physiotherapy expertise to give you the basic building blocks needed to get back towards pain-free perfect posture – and stay there. Good luck with the work.

Steve August (B.A.,Dip.Physio.).

The six anti-iHunch YouTube videos, as listed on the ‘Hunch page of the Backpod’s website (link is

(1) The best quick daily stretch for your neck

(2) Home strengthening exercise (1) – for the middle back muscles

(3) Home strengthening exercise (2) – to stop the chin poking out

(4) Neck posture made really simple

(5) Home massage (1) – for neck pain, headache and the iHunch

(6) Home massage (2) – for sore hunching shoulders

Specific comment about this video: This is probably the exercise most overlooked in gyms and otherwise fit people. I think it’s because gyms are expecting to lift weights, and this one just uses your head. But that’s 4.5kg (10lbs) on average, so that’s plenty.

You’ll see its weakness all round you, in people whose chins poke out. It can be so weak that you can’t actually lift your chin off the ground with your chin poked in, at all. If that’s the case, just back off and do the exercise lying on the ground but without lifting your head off at all. When you can hold that for 10 seconds, 10 times in a row, then you’re good enough to start lifting the head off a little.

It can take a few or even several weeks for you to be strong enough to lift your head off for 10 seconds, 10 times in a row. But stick with it. It’s just muscle – it’ll strengthen okay. I had one 95 year-old patient a few years ago, erect and with perfect posture, who could to 10 lifts for 10 seconds each, perfectly. So if she can do it, anyone can.