Neck Strengthening Exercises

Many of our problems in singing come from muscular imbalance. The muscles in the neck and collarbones are often neglected, yet their ability to contract and relax in a coordinated fashion is directly related to producing a free vocal tone.

Here are a series of exercises that, when executed properly, will ease tension in the neck and shoulders and release the muscular tension blocking your beautiful voice.

Neck exercises*

  • Purpose: to strengthen, stretch, and balance right-left and front-back neck muscles
    • Exhale and engage/stretch muscles while moving head
        • forward (push head out like a turtle, face level)
        • back (push head back on neck and go for a double or a triple chin)
        • up (face towards heavens)
        • down (chin to chest)
        • Look over Right shoulder (eyes, ears, and chin level)
        • Look over Left shoulder (eyes, ears, and chin level)
        • R ear to shoulder, turn L palm up to heavens to gently increase stretch
        • L ear to shoulder, turning R palm as desired to increase stretch
    • Inhale and release/relax muscles as head returns to center
    • General notes:
      • Repeat each pair of exercises 3-5 times
      • Pelvis remains level
      • Lower spine and torso remain stable and centered
      • Before each movement, traction the upper spine to add as much vertical space between vertebrae as possible
      • Keep shoulder blades squeezing gently together during each exhalation

*Thanks to my friend Avril Loy for sharing these exercises with me in yoga class.