Help Students With “Tech Neck”

by Amy Nestor on Sep 23, 2015

Ebb

Use the cool-down to teach good postural habits.

Have you noticed an increase in postural deviations among your students? In today’s society, “tech neck” is becoming more common—we all spend too much time looking down at our devices. This requires rounding the shoulders (rather than keeping them back and down, with chest open) and jutting the head forward. The position is becoming so habitual for a lot of people that it feels fixed and “natural” to them. Help participants become more aware of this uncomfortable trend and empower them to make better choices. The following exercises and stretches for the upper torso are the perfect way to end any fitness class and alleviate tech neck.

Bent-Over Reverse Fly

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees soft, holding dumbbells.
  • Brace core and hinge from hips, maintaining neutral spine.
  • Lift weights laterally, away from midline as shoulder blades retract.
  • Lower weights back to start position.
  • Perform 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Regression: Use no weights; reduce range of motion; lie over stability ball.
  • Progression: Add balance challenge by standing in single-leg deadlift position (change legs on set 2, then alternate on set 3).

Prone Breast Stroke

  • Start in prone position on mat, elbows bent, forehead resting on hands.
  • “Peel” abdominals away from mat to stabilize core.
  • Extend spine and lift chest off mat while reaching arms forward.
  • Maintain neutral neck position, ears between biceps, shoulder blades drawn down and away from ears.
  • Circle arms to hips while lifting chest slightly higher; return to start position.
  • Perform 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Regression: Reduce range of motion, keeping legs on mat.
  • Progression: Do alternating straight-leg kicks as arms circle.

Chest Expansion

  • Stand in wide-leg straddle, toes facing forward, outer edges of feet firmly grounded.
  • Clasp hands behind lower back.
  • Gaze slightly upward, lift chest and reach arms away from hips.
  • Brace core and slowly hinge from hips, keeping legs extended.
  • Lower head toward floor while reaching arms toward ceiling.
  • Hold for 4–8 full, complete breath cycles.
  • Return slowly to start position.
  • Regression: Bend knees, resting hands on lower back, or use strap.
  • Progression: Lower head until it is touching mat, as hands reach up and overhead.

Wall Sit / Partner Sit

  • Sit in comfortable position (cross-legged, butterfly or staff pose), with back against wall or partner seated behind you.
  • Pull up from pelvic floor, scoop navel in and up under ribs, lift ribs away from hip bones to grow taller, lift chest, and roll shoulders back and down.
  • Aim to have three points of spine (tailbone, shoulder blades and back of head) touching wall or partner.
  • Reach arms out overhead, palms touching. Draw elbows back to touch wall or partner.
  • Allow breath to be your guide.
  • Close eyes and become aware of breath and bodily sensations.
  • Perform snow-angel arms 4–8 times. n

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About the Author

Amy Nestor

Amy Nestor IDEA Author/Presenter

Amy Nestor has more than 15 years’ experience as an instructor, a personal fitness trainer and a manager. She leads training workshops, presents for various organizations in the