Workout Tips

How to Deal With Neck Pain

Treat a lifting related injury and stop it from ever happening again.

Neck Pain

What You Did

According to a recent M&F survey, an alarming 95% of readers have suffered a serious neck injury while lifting.

What You Feel

Some degree of pain (soreness or sharp pain) and loss of mobility in your neck or upper back.

The Treatment

Using your hands as resistance, perform isometric contractions according to these instructions:

  1. Flex your neck forward, extend it back, rotate to each side, and bend to each side. Hold each position for 10 seconds—that’s one rep. Do 10 reps total.
  2. Stand with your back against a wall—your head, back, and butt touching it. Bend your arms 90 degrees and place the back of your hands against the wall. Slide your arms up the wall to extension. Do 3 sets of 10. Each rep should take 3–4 seconds.
  3. Turn your head to the right and place the same side hand on top of your head. Pull your head down toward your underarm so you feel a stretch in your shoulder, and hold. Do 3 sets of 8- to 10-second holds.


Going forward, make sure your neck is positioned correctly during a lift. First, imagine pulling your chin back, as to make a “double chin,” and then flex your neck down slightly. As a visual cue, imagine trying to pin a tennis ball between your chin and collarbone. If you’re prone to looking up during deadlifts or kettlebell swings— common causes of neck pain as well as a loss of stability and strength on the lifts—this posture will help correct it.