The occipital bone is the most posterior cranial bone on the back and base of the skull. On the underside of the occipital bone there are four paired muscles, Obliquus Capitis Superior, Rectus Capitus Major, Rectus Capitus Minor and the Obliquus Capitis Inferior. The first three of the four are called the suboccipital triangle.
These muscles are involved with posture and balance, as there are a very dense number of muscle spindle cells and golgi tendon organs. They also act directly on the skull and affect movement of the head. Weak or imbalanced suboccipital muscles send muddled information to the brain affecting balance, causing pain, altering thinking and can lead to injury.
To train this muscle group it is important that the athlete knows exactly where the musculature resides that he or she is targeting. Once properly seated on the Pendulum 4 or 5-Way Neck the coach lightly touches the area to be trained before the exercise begins. To perform the movement the athlete is instructed to look up during each repetition while only moving the head – not the neck. To ensure the athlete is training properly the trainer may palpitate the suboccipitals while the head is moving.
Palpitate The Suboccipitals