Monday, June 2, 2008

How to Use a 4-Way Neck Machine

A 4-way neck machine is a very simple device. It consists of a standing bar frame with a seat facing the flat side of the frame. There are several static handlebars at arm level and a padded armature protruding from the bar to pass by the user at roughly head height. On the other side of this armature a series of weights rests, allowing for greater or lesser resistance as the bar is moved. As far as exercise machinery goes, this device is small and relatively lightweight. It's unfortunate that many people forget that the muscles of the neck are important in maintaining proper posture and absorbing shock when struck to prevent neck or spine damage. Though its often only bodybuilders who exercise these muscles, participants of any contact sport can benefit from the use of a 4 way neck machine as a preventative measure against damage to the neck or spine. This guide will explain how to use a 4 way neck machine

Using A 4 Way Neck Machine
Step 1:
Sit in the seat facing toward the padded bar armature. It should press firmly against the forehead. Grip the handlebars at your sides to help keep your upper body in position and isolate the muscles of the neck. Using only the muscles of the neck, press forward on the bar with your forehead. Make sure to stop before you begin to lean foreword with the rest of your body. This exercises the flexor muscle group which allows you to tilt your head forward so that your chin touches your chest. Complete a full set of ten repetitions and move on to the next muscle group.

Step 2:
Sit in the seat either facing toward or away from the main assembly of the machine. The padded armature should rest against the side of your head slightly above the ear. Grip the bars on the machine to hold you upper body immobile. Tilt your head to the side, toward one of your shoulders, pressing against the bar. This exercises the lateral flexors in the side of the neck. After completing ten repetitions spin around to work the other side of your neck in the same way. Then move on to the next muscles group.

Step 3:
Sit in the seat with the padded armature resting against the back of the head. It should touch high up on your head, well above the join between the neck and the skull. Grip the bars and lock your arms tightly to help keep yourself steady. Tilt your head back to press the bar up, make sure not to push with your back; you should bend at the neck only. This exercises the extensors in the back and sides of the neck. Complete ten repetitions and you've finished your set. Either call it finished for the day or take a break and start all over again.

Tips & Warnings
The 4 Way Neck Machine does not work the rotator muscle group which allows you to turn your head from one side to the other. No such machine exists. Simple resistance exercises are the only appropriate solution. To do this press one hand to the side of your face and turn you head in that direction against the resistance of your hand. Be careful not to press too hard or you can pull or damage the vital muscles in your neck, or possibly even hurt your spine. When trying this machine for the first time, never use more than ten pounds of weight.
Never put too much weight on these machines, you should not ever have to strain to move the armature. It's best to go with more repetitions and less weight rather than run the risk of hurting yourself.

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