Carrying an abdominal plate to set a new personal record is a high (and considerable) goal, but your neck may not be as impressed, especially if you wake up with tension and pain in this area the next day. In fact, it could be a warning sign that you’re lifting incorrectly, or too much for your body to handle. Find your own hybrid bikes under 200.
As you increase your load, consider these five common training mistakes to avoid hurting your neck during your workouts.
Why does your neck hurt when you train?
You strain during bench press
Improperly performing a bench press is a common cause of neck pain after training.
When you are lifting a heavy load, as with a bench press, proper technique is key. You must keep your whole head on the bench at all times and your shoulder blades tightened back and tight.
But if you’re trying to push a load that’s too heavy, you may notice your neck stretching toward the ceiling, which can make your neck feel sore after your workout.
To avoid this, keep your whole neck on the bench at all times. While pressing your weight directly on your chest, bring your shoulders back and down to activate your back muscles. Keep your core reinforced as well. If you still have difficulty maintaining proper form, you should lighten the weight you are lifting.
You are squatting with the bar too high
Another common mistake that can cause neck pain is incorrect positioning of the bar when doing squats.
When performing a back squat, you may feel the need to raise the bar to the back of your head to prevent the weight from falling backward. But placing the bar on the bony protrusion at the back of your neck/top of the vertebrae can cause your neck to tense up under the weight. As a result, you may feel pain and even develop a bruise on the bone.
Place the bar on the upper trapezium muscles, just below (not above) the bony vertebrae in the back of your neck. These muscles provide a cushion for the bar without adding pressure to your neck.
You bend your neck when you do dead weight
Maintaining a neutral spine when making dead weight is crucial to keeping the neck and back safe. But when you exercise in front of a mirror, it can be tempting to lift your head to check your posture, which is a common mistake.
Although you should consider your posture, you should avoid lifting your head when you do dead weight. This may cause your neck to be stretched when you lift the weight.
Try to look at the ground, about one meter forward. This will place your neck in a neutral position. Once you have lifted the weight, look directly into the mirror. Think about keeping a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone at all times.
Your head pushes forward when you shoulder press
Do you notice your head pushing forward as you press above your head? This can definitely be the cause of unwanted neck pain.
A little neck movement during shoulder press is fine, but too much can be problematic. To protect your neck, you should concentrate on good posture, which means keeping your head in line with the spine and stacked on the rib cage.
Doing repetitions with bad posture, especially when you are fatigued or using weights that are too heavy, leads to a loss of form.
When you make a press on the head, keep the upper body as stable as possible, by starting the movement from shoulders and arms. You should also keep your neck in line with your spine, as when you are doing dead weight. Avoid pressing your chin against the wall in front of you. If this is too challenging, you should lower the weight you are trying to lift.
You are setting up your bike incorrectly
Weight-lifting mistakes aren’t the only reason you may experience neck pain after your workout; your bike may also be to blame.
When you sit on your bike, keep your shoulders down and away from your ears, not hunched over. You also want your arms to be relaxed in front of your body to absorb shocks while you ride.
Whether you’re biking indoors at home or getting ready for a ride outdoors, make sure your bike is properly adjusted. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask a professional at a bike store or indoor cycling instructor for help.
If you are using an indoor bike, adjust the height of your bike seat so you can keep your shoulders down and away from your ears, and your arms relaxed to absorb the impact of the bike.