I have a lot of cycling clients from recreational to elite (road cyclists, triathletes, duathletes) who complain about neck pain. This is a frequent problem among riders because of their long rides on the saddle coupled with their aero positions on their bikes. The head and neck are in constant extension for prolonged periods of time. During training rides and racing, the neck extenders (i.e. splenius capitis) become strong and potentially overdeveloped. Regrettably, this action can overpower the neck flexors leaving them weak and less active, like the sternocleidomastoid (SCM). The SCM is a muscle that flexes the neck, assists to elevate the ribcage during inhalation, laterally flexes the head and neck to the same side and rotates the head and neck to the opposite side. The SCM is extremely important in head and neck flexion.
Weak neck flexors (i.e. SCM) and strong neck extensors (i.e. splenius capitis) cause asymmetry, and overtime this creates misalignment in the spine producing pain. The Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls Upper Body Series and Quickfix Neck Video are a perfect neck exercise solution to get a cyclist’s sternocleidomastoid back in shape. I always provide simple ball rolling techniques and targeted SCM exercises to my cycling clients. Afterwards, they feel a whole lot better each and every time. Riding a bike shouldn’t be a pain in the neck. Ride smart by rolling and practicing sternocleidomastoid strengthening exercises.