Client with Sore Neck

Question:Forward Head Posture

I have a 46 year old woman in good shape.

She has gone to the gym in the past but lost interest. She started personal training with me to get back in tone and lose 10 pounds.

The problem is every time I do any sort of weight training, she complains the back of her neck hurts her.

It has been an ongoing problem for her.

I work out of my house so have limited machinery

I only have a treadmill, dumbbells, step, exercise ball etc...

How can I lift weights with her without hurting her neck?

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken


Many people complain about a sore or stiff neck while working out.

First and foremost your client should see a specialist to rule out any serious problems which could be worsened by certain types of exercise.

If they do not have any serious problems they may have forward head posture which puts a strain of the muscles of the back of the neck because they are constantly contracting to try to hold her head back.

If she has forward head posture she should start a routine of neck stretches and try to improve her posture.

Another common issue is tight upper trapezius muscles. Some people have the tendency to constantly elevate their shoulders during periods of stress (such as weight training).

You client should be made aware of this and try to avoid shrugging her shoulders whenever possible. This would call for you to avoid any overhead exercises in which naturally cause someone to shrug their shoulders.

Something you can do with exercise prescription is have her perform as many exercises as possible from a supine position such as the stability ball bridge.

Supine Cable Lateral Raises on Stability Ball

Another option is for you to try to massage her upper traps during and after your training sessions to help them stay loose and possibly reduce her neck pain.

A tool which has been proven to be useful is the tiger stick which is like a dough roller which you can use on your clients tight muscles.

Tiger Tail Massage StickBuy the 22" Tiger Stick Massage from Amazon



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