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6.17.2012

Big Neck Muscle and Jaw Clench

The Best Posture To Train With A Clenched Jaw                                                                  

sternoIn anatomy all physical education students learn the sternocleidomastoid muscle as part of their curriculum as the anatomists explore the muscles that move the head and neck.  Students quickly learn that this big powerful pair of neck muscles is complex when it comes to motion and posture.

The sternocleidomastoid is multidirectional and rotational and lifts the chin upwards. What is interesting is that when the sternocleidomastoids contract bilaterally the two muscles cause flexion of the lower cervical spine or can cause extension of the upper cervical spine.  Training this muscle helps to build a powerful neck.

Colleges have been remiss in educating ‘Phys Ed’  students about other particulars of the head and neck anatomy that need to be addressed to have effective neck training. Additional structures are important in protecting the athlete from subconcussive forces that they may encounter in sport.

Human Anatomy The Infrahyoids are made up of four muscles; three of which attach to the hyoid bone, the omohyoid, the sternohyoid and the thyrohyoid.  They lie right over the trachea.  The Infrahyoids, flex the neck and the suprahyoids open the jaw.

The platysma also opens the jaw.  The anterior portion, the thickest part of the platysma muscle depresses the mandible when you strain leaving the mouth partially open.

To optimally train the hyoids and platysma it requires clenching the jaw during neck flexion exercises; posture also comes into play to maximally develop the area.

If you use a neck machine that requires you to stand during the movement much of the electrical activity elicited to produce neck tension will result in a widespread excitation of the musculature of the body.  The trapezius, rectus abdominals and paraspinal musculature will be activated to maintain posture limiting maximal excitation of the sternocleidomastoid while clenching.  What is also interesting is that when training supine, that is laying on your back and jaw clenching as opposed to sitting, there is a 10% reduction of activity to the targeted area.

Neck Exercise

To maximize the strength of the sternocleidomastoid and its associated jaw musculature perform this exercise in a seated position using a 4 Way or 5 Way Neck Machine.  It has been shown through EMG studies that this is the most effective way to provide stimulation of the jaw and sternocleidomastoid.

Pendulum Equipment

 Have a seat and Get Strong.

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