One of the most common issues I see with neck hangs (on all apparatuses) is not properly activating your deep neck flexors.
Think about the backbend. In order to prevent hinging into our most flexible parts of the spine and to access your upper back, you need to co-contract muscles on the front side of the body.
The same applies in the neck.
1. To contact your deep neck flexors, just move your head back in space (not down to your chest). You’ll look funny and feel muscles contracting at the base on the neck. That slight double chin is our starting point.
2. From there, maintain that contraction and lift the chin as far as you can.
3. Then lift the collarbones.
4. Then lift the sternum.
5. Then lift the bottom of the ribs.
THIS is your engagement. Get used to it. Learn to love it… in cobras, in bridges, in all of the backbending.
Don’t squeeze your shoulder blades together to find the lift. In fact, scapular protraction and elevation makes it easier to access the upper thoracic spine. And guess what? A neck hang requires upper thoracic extension with load.
So start without the pesky load and work the mobility.
Your entrance into a neck hang can make it easier to get the shoulder blades out of the way. You’ll see in the video that I use a wooden dowel to approximate holding onto a trapeze bar. As I release the “bar,” I slide my hands up and lift my shoulder blades as I raise my arms.
Yes, there’s more to it than this. Load and balance are essential. But if you’re looking to get started in building the strength for this skill, start here.
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