Head Retractions


There are so many reasons we are compelled to crane our heads forward without realizing it. It may work out fine for horses, but it makes hard work for human neck and back muscles.

forward head


Maybe you’ve noticed an ache in the back of your neck after staring at a computer for a long time, or while driving in traffic? Well, what’s likely happening is that you are using your anterior (front) neck muscles to crane your head towards what you’re so eager to see, and forcing those posterior (back) neck muscles to work from a long position, which tires them out and they complain to you. It’s like they are the reins of a horse, straining to keep our heads up.

This exercise has the same principle as the Scapula Depressions. It’s a way to work those posterior muscles in a way they never get to, so they can better hold our heads in a place that’s easier on the body in the long run.


Stand or sit with your back to a wall. Tuck your chin a bit, and then slowly pull your head back until it touches the wall behind you. The movement should only be coming from your head and neck. You can put one hand on your chest to make sure your ribcage isn’t coming along for the ride.

head retraction

And you get to look like this guy!

Once you have retracted your head, you can play with slowly turning your neck side to side, or bringing an ear toward your shoulder. What do you notice?

The wall serves as a guide to show you how far to pull your head back. You can also do it without the wall, which means you can do it anywhere!







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