Fix Your Forward Head Posture – 3 Exercises to
Reverse ‘Tech Neck’

Article by Lucas Rockwood

Are you hunched over your laptop all day? Do you work with your hands as a graphic designer, a hair stylist, or server? Are you a new parent carrying your child under your arm? If so, you’ve probably begun to develop a forward head posture, often referred to as “tech neck” or “text neck”.

Your body adapts to your environment over time, so if you’d like to avoid a forward head kyphosis (curvature of the spine) posture, it’s smart to be proactive now with corrective exercises.

Anatomy of Forward Head Posture

Your head weighs about 5kg (11lbs), so it’s like carrying a bowling ball on top or your neck. If your head stays mostly centered, your posture stays balanced. If your bowling ball is flopped forward all day for weeks, months, or years, your body will start to adapt with short and tight muscles on the front of your neck, and loose, longer muscles along the back side.

Your neck is supported by a complex set of interwoven muscles at the front, back and sides

There are over 20 muscles that might be considered neck muscles, but three big landmarks on the anterior side include the platysma, the anterior scalenes, and the deep cervical flexors. On the posterior side, your suboccipital muscles, upper trapezius, and erector spinae muscles are of major importance. To correct a muscle imbalance, this involves stretching the muscles at the front, strengthening the muscles at the back, and fixing your work station position to reduce the cause of the imbalance in the first place.

Fix Your Workstation

Standing desks have dominated conversations about better posture for nearly a decade, but many people are intimidated to make the leap from sitting to standing, and are apprehensive to invest in what are often extremely expensive adjustable options. I’d like to suggest a way to overcome both. First, along with your standing desk setup, get a high, stool-like chair so you can, at times, sit. Secondly, there is no need to buy a mechanized, complex and expensive standing desk. Jeff Bezos famously made his first desk from a door flipped on its side resting on two sawhorses, you can do the same.

Tips for Success

  • Ideal standing desk height is at your navel
  • Purchase a full size, wireless keyboard and mouse
  • Purchase a simple laptop stand to angle your monitor
  • Use 4-6 yoga blocks to adjust your keyboard and laptop height

As the saying goes: “The best posture is your next posture!”. Allow yourself the freedom to move, alternate, slouch, and fidget. Just keep moving and ensure that your home base setup encourages head-over-shoulders, chest open, and heart up.

Corrective Exercises

There are dozens of amazing gym workouts and exercise routines to combat forward head posture, but most of us are unlikely to follow through on them. That doesn’t mean we’re weak willed or lack discipline; it means we’re busy people who can’t afford to spend an hour at the gym for just one small issue.

To solve this, I’ll show you two stretches and one strength exercise that require just six minutes of your time. The only thing you need is an exercise band. You can even practice them right at your desk.

Download PDF pose chart

Arrow Pose – 2 min

  • Sit in the middle of your chair
  • Plant your feet on the ground
  • Interlace your hands behind your back
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together, puff your chest
  • Gently look up to where the ceiling meets the wall

Cliffhanger – 2 min

  • Scoot your chair back from your desk / table
  • Step your feet very wide apart
  • Spread your fingers and place your hands on top of the desk
  • Drop your head so your ears and arms are in one line

Banded Rows – x10

  • Sit on the edge of your chair
  • Place an exercise band around your feet
  • Grip either end of the band
  • Variation 1: elevate your shoulders and pull up and back quickly
  • Release and un-shrug your shoulders slowly 5-4-3-2-1
  • Variation 2: shoulders down, squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Release slowly to the count of 5-4-3-2-1

Neck Exercises and Pain

If you’re experiencing dizziness, bladder problems, muscle weakness in your shoulder, arm, or hand, see a doctor. If you have radiating pain, I’d encourage you to see a specialist.

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