Neck | CrossFit South Bay



man's neck under the X-rays. bones are highlighted in red.

Keep Neck Strong

When weight lifting and doing intense training, your neck can be heavily strained. Neck pain is a serious problem that can limit your ability to exercise and even perform everyday tasks. You can lose range of motion in your neck and experience pain in your shoulder, arm or hand. When you have neck pains, it is important to address it so that it doesn’t progress and inhibit your whole body.

About the Neck

The neck is a complex part of our body. It is comprised of seven bones which are stacked on top of each other. These bones are called cervical vertebrae and are filled with intervertebral discs that act as a barrier sponge between each one to allow flexibility and prevent breakage. The bones in your neck directly affect your spinal cord by protecting it and allowing it to have its range of motion. The term cervical spine refers to the cervical vertebrae, spinal cord, nerves and intervertebral discs. The cervical spine is surrounded by ligaments and muscles that help hold our head up and support our neck whenever we move.

The neck is comprised of the following:

  • 7 cervical vertebrae
  • Intervertebral discs
  • Spinal cord and nerves
  • Ligaments
  • Muscles

Major muscles and functions of the neck:

  • Flexion: sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and deep neck flexors
  • Extension: upper trapezius, splenius capitis and semispinalis capitis
  • Rotation: sternocleidomastoid
  • Side bend: sternocleidomastoid

The deep neck flexors are important in maintaining good posture. Just like the small/large muscle competitions in the shoulder, hip and abdominals, the deep neck flexors become overpowered by the SCM when your head is in a forward position. Poor posture also places a large amount of unnecessary forces on your cervical spine, so be nice to your neck and sit up tall!

Created by: Missy Albrecht DPT, CSCS, FMS