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Deep Cervical Flexor Activation and Progressions for Stabilization 1

Deep Cervical Flexor Activation and Progressions for Stabilization is a comprehensive program designed to help individuals strengthen the deep neck flexors and build the integrity of the cervical spine. This program consists of a diverse range of exercises focusing on eccentric, isometric, and concentric movements. This program is designed to be performed for preventing and rehabilitating common neck and shoulder issues, improving muscle efficiency, and building a better posture. As the exercises progress, the resistive forces are increased

Transcript

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This is Brent, coming at you with an
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cervical flexors, the longus colli, longus capitis, and rectus capitis
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anterior. These muscles have a propensity to get long and under active in those
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individuals with cervical spine dysfunction, as well as individuals with
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upper body dysfunction. As you guys may remember, some of the muscles that move
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our scapula, specifically our levator scapulae, upper traps, and rhomboids to a
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certain extent, also play a role in neck mechanics. So, these dysfunctions tend to
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be very interrelated. Now, despite being this fairly technical group of muscles,
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and some stuff that you may be a little less familiar with, the exercises
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we're going to use are very simple, I think you'll find them very effective,
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and easy to implement. I'm going to have my friend Leann come out, she's going to
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help me demonstrate these exercises. Now, if you thought of your deep cervical
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flexors, kind of like you think about your deep intrinsic stabilization
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subsystem in your core, you know your TVA etc., how we work these muscles is
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very similar. When we work our deep intrinsic stabilizers for the core, we
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generally challenge people to hold optimal posture against resistance. The
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same thing is going to go for the cervical spine. So, the first thing I'm going to
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have Leanne work on, after we've done all of our mobility work, we've done all of
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our release and our stretching, she's just going to do a chin tuck for me. So,
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in essence, she's going to kind of tuck her chin, and try to make her neck as
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long as possible, while pressing into the table. Now, I want to be very careful to
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match up her posture. So I don't want her tilted to one side or the other, I want
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everything nice and straight this way, I want to make sure her shoulders are down
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and back, right, we don't want to let any of these overactive muscles in the upper
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body dysfunction contribute to this stabilization. She's going to hold for
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two to five seconds, and then I'll have her relax again. So go ahead and relax for me.
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There you go. Let's go ahead and do it again. She can do the same number
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of reps and sets that we do for all of our corrective exercise, so we're looking
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at 12 to 20 repetitions. Now, once I feel like Leann has this down, she's able to
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perform these activities, there's no soreness, we don't have any residual
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soreness, I can start integrating these exercises
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into some of the upper body dysfunction exercises we did in previous videos. So,
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if you guys remember "chest out thumbs out", from our external rotator activation
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videos, she can actually do this and "chest out thumbs out" at the same time! So,
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I'm going to have her tuck her chin, make her neck nice and long, keep her shoulders down,
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and then she'll go ahead and perform "chest out thumbs out". So we start
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integrating this good cervical posture, with some of our other upper body
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exercises, this is going to be really important as we move forward. Now if this
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becomes fairly easy, once again, doing 12 to 20 repetitions for one to three sets,
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I can progress her by increasing the amount of resistance that her cervical
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spine has to work against. So I'm going to go ahead and have Leann stand up, and
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now she's going to do this against the wall. So now her neck has to elongate
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againt the force of gravity, as well as the friction and pressure against this
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wall. So we're going to make sure she has optimal kinetic chain checkpoints, her
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lumbar spine is in a neutral position, I'm going to have her bend her knees just a little bit,
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her shoulders are down and back, and then it's just the same exercise. She's
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going to tuck her chin, and try to make her neck really long. A lot of clients
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hate to do this exercise, it is kind of a fun exercise to make fun of, it's the
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double chin exercise, alright. We don't want to let Leann flex down this way, or
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just press her head back because that will actually increase the tone of some
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of those muscles that are already overactive. You might even use, and
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teach your clients how to use, their own hand, to kind of palpate these muscles
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here in the neck. We don't want over activity of the SCM, which is right here,
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we don't want to see over activity of the scalenes, or the levator scapulae, this
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should all be fairly soft. Now, once we get her doing this with great form, she
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can do the amount of repetitions we want with no residual soreness, once again
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we're going to start integrating it back into those upper body dysfunction
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exercises; our an external rotator activation, which we were just doing,
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"chest out thumbs out".
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Once again, with good posture, she's going to tuck her chin and try to hold
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that, while doing this exercise. Once I see her do this really well, I can go
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ahead and move on and have her do her serratus anterior activation. If you
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remember "wall angels" from our previous video, I can have her work on tucking
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her chin, pressing into the wall, keeping nice and long, and working on those wall
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angels. How's that feeling, tough? -Yeah. You are going to find this is a very
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challenging exercise if you pay attention to your queuing. So, if I keep
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her shoulders down and back, this isn't easy. This isn't easy at all. Now, for the
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most part, if you can get somebody to start integrating their cervical
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spine posture with some of these exercises, you're probably in good shape
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moving forward and you'll be able to back these exercises out of your program. But
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some of your more athletic individuals are going to need even more intense
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exercise. So let me have you get back on the table.
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The next exercise we're going to do is the same exercise, except now I'm
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going to really start challenging her deep cervical flexors to hold a
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significant amount of weight. I'm going to put her into that cervical retraction,
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with no support. If she can hold this, and I just use a stopwatch, if
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she can hold this for 20 seconds, maybe several sets of 20 seconds, this gets
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fairly intense, from here I could then go prone, so let me have you go ahead and
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flip all the way over. Same thing, I'm going to set her up, this kind
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of portion of her back is going to look very similar to a cobra. She's
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going to be retracted, depressed here, and then I'm going to make sure I
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put her head into neutral position, and once again I'm going to go ahead and
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time her for maybe up to 20 seconds, maybe having some individuals in this
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position we could get up to 60 seconds. Some of your athletes who take hits, you
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might even want to experiment with being able to stabilize in the frontal plane.
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The way we would do that is have them lay on their side, it's a
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little tough to get somebody in optimal posture, you're going to probably have to
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do a little bit of queuing, but then again I'm going to set her head in
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optimal position, and once again I'm going to time. You've got to be a little careful with
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this variation, once again, I probably only use this with my most intense
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athletes, that they're scalenes don't get fired up here. But, if they are taking
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hits, it is important that they learn how to stabilize in this position, in this
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plane as well. Now, I'm going to go ahead and have you go back to prone for me.
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Once you get these exercises down, you should have a fairly easy time
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integrating them back into some of the exercises you already do. As I mentioned
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before, this is very similar to a cobra. So if you're planning in advance a
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little bit, and you start putting Cobras in their program for upper back work, or
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for some of their core work, and you're paying attention to this, you should be
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able to phase this out of your activation programming, so that you can
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increase the intensity of your programming over time,
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and save yourself a little bit of time. The same thing goes with the supine
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variations, let me have you flip over.
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Hopefully if you guys have trained this position well, you could see where maybe
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on a ball bridge, or a ball chest press, that you should be able to queue, get
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somebody holding this position, and if you are using those exercises in your
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weight training program, you can probably start phasing these exercises out. I hope
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you get great progress from these exercises, I hope you see an
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increase in your posture, I hope you see an increase in your performance, I'll