Staring into a computer monitor all day, pulls your head forward from its natural position over the center of your torso. To remedy this pattern, you can do head-retraction exercises.
The quickest, simplest way to retract your head is to:
- tuck your chin down,
- lift up the back of your head, and
- slide your head backward as if you were closing a file drawer.
This pulls your head back so that it is once again centered over your body’s mid-line.
You can do this simple version of this exercise anytime, anywhere.
Here are some video examples of other head retraction exercises.
This video superimposes an arrow on the model’s chin to emphasize the movement of the head straight backward.
This next video shows how to retract your head as you stand against a wall. Backing up to a wall is helpful because it forces you to emphasize the chin tuck and neck lengthening that are the desired goal of this exercise.
If you lie face down, the tug of gravity pulling your head toward the floor adds resistance to your head-retraction exercises.
This video shows you one way to retract your head while lying face down.
Here’s another video of face-down head retraction. I like this one because the model does a great job of keeping her face parallel to the floor as she does the exercise.
If you have a weight bench or similar platform, you can do prone head retraction while you’re elevated off the floor. Just as when you are standing, the goal is to slide your head backward, not to extend your neck. So keep the plane of your face parallel to the floor throughout this exercise. This video does a great job of demonstrating this (by the way, this doctor uses the term “posterior translation,” which is the same thing as head retraction).
(relevant section of video is from 1:51 to 3:25)