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Reactive Activation for Deep Cervical Flexors

Reactive Activation for Deep Cervical Flexors is a neurologically-based exercise that helps to restore and optimize activities in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. It can be used to strengthen weakened muscles that contribute to posture, improve range of motion, and reduce neck and shoulder pain. The technique includes a series of precise, soft-tissue mobilization techniques, combined with active stabilization and stretching exercises. It works by activating the deep muscles of the neck, which are the primary stabil

Transcript

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This is Brent of the Brookbush
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Institute at the Independent Training
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Spot, and I wanted to show you guys an exercise that I've been using personally
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to help me get back on the basketball court. Now I have cervical dysfunction. I
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have a history of herniation, you guys might start thinking to yourselves well
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now I know why he came up with all the cervical activation exercises and
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grouped them together. Yeah I've been working on them myself. I have good
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strength, good range of motion, but I still have a problem that is, when I get
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on the basketball court after I finished playing ball, oftentimes i'll get
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flared up and i'm sore for a couple weeks, which has made it really hard to
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get back into regular training. So i started letting that spin around in my
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head, and started thinking to myself what am i missing from this corrective
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exercise, this intervention model i've been using for the cervical spine, and it
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hit me that I haven't been doing any sort of reactive activation for my deep
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cervical flexors. Now you guys are thinking to yourself how am I gonna get
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myself to react quickly with my deep cervical flexors. Well obviously I don't
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want to throw things at people's heads. I don't want to like knock people across
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the head, make them like react to that that's going to look a little abusive.
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I had to come up with an exercise that would force the rectus capitis
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anterior, the longus colli, and the longest capitis to contract hard and
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quickly, while I threw something. So i started thinking through this movement
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pattern, realized it was pretty close to that deep cervical flexor isolated
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activation exercise we did, and realize that if i did that while throwing a ball
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that i could get that increase in force, that quick increase in force on my neck,
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that would help teach those muscles to react quickly. So I'm going have Mike
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come out, Mike is going to help me demonstrate this exercise i came up with
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for deep cervical flexor reactive activation. Now first things first, I'm
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just using a bit of resistive band tape, I've tied two loops in the ends
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here that are good size for his hand, without his thumb involved. We want it to
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be over his hand and then you guys can see it's tied here in the middle to make
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it a little shorter, in this case make it harder on Mike. I'm going to go
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ahead and slip that over his neck, he's going to put his hands through these
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holes, and now he's kind of all t-rexed up. All right so we got him in t-rex
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position, and I think you guys can already see from this set up what
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exactly we're going to do. Mike's then going to grab this ball, and as he pushes
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the ball into the wall as fast as he can, you'll see that he has a quick increase
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in tension on this band, which is going to force him to work real hard and real
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quickly to keep that chin tucked position. So let's see it Mike, good,
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higher, good try not to hit me, good keep that chin tucked. Alright so every time
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he does that you can almost see his body jolting, as he has to like try to keep
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his chin tuck. Good, let's see 20 reps. That was like 12, and so I do 12 to 20 reps of
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this exercise, and how would we progress well that's actually pretty easy, I just
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increased the resistance of the band, or I could tie the band even shorter, right
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so that he has even more of an increase in resistance, so that would be the
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easiest way to progress. We have been experimenting a little bit with can we
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work on a little bit of holding the head in rotation, and using the peripheral
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vision to catch the ball. This hasn't been working out as well, but we're
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giving it another shot today. So I'm going to have him look maybe five, six feet off
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center. Alright so you can still see the ball in his peripheral vision, Mike's a
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great athlete so I have no worry about him actually hitting himself. He's
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going to still keep that chin tuck position with rotation, and now see if he
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can do the same thing.
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Takes a little practice guys, takes a little practice. Good, so now i'm still
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strengthening those deep cervical flexors, but with a little rotation, and
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of course i could have them do that in the other direction. Great, try to keep a
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little more chin tuck for me. Good and relax. Now i should mention guys, if you
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don't have resistive band tape, you can use one of these resistant bands with
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handles, it's just not quite as easy.
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Alright, actually we need to go ahead and tie a knot back here so it's a little
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shorter, and I just tie a slipknot guys so I can get the knot out again, there we
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go. Same thing, good, good, good, good, good. Now be careful, if you guys use this,
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realize it's not as tight around his hands. I have accidentally let go of one
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of these a couple times, and once you turn yourself in, you basically turn
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your neck into a giant slingshot and hit whoever's behind you. So make sure that
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you have some clearance behind you. Thanks Mike for helping me demonstrate
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this exercise, because what I've noticed since I added this exercise, is my flare
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ups are starting to decrease, which makes me think that I'm on the right track. Now
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before you go use this with a bunch of different people, realize the scope of
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this exercise is fairly narrow. I'm not going to throw this at my mom right. If my
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mom came in with with cervical dysfunction and she's having neck pain,
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I'm probably not going to progress you to the point of doing reactive
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activation. However if I have an athlete like Mike who comes in, and he tells me
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he has neck pain and he's a throwing athlete, a pitcher, this better be
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something I do before he gets back out onto the field, because if his deep
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cervical flexors can't activate fast enough to stabilize his neck when he
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throws, what good is all the work i did. Guys I hope you get great great outcomes
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from this technique, have some fun with it, experiment with the looking in
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different directions. You can experiment with maybe hitting different targets on
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the wall. You guys could use maybe medicine balls instead of a stability
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ball, or maybe a bigger stability ball for a bigger challenge. I look forward to
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hearing from you.