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Locating The Deep Cervical Extensors

A man working out on a Pendulum neck machine

It is important to understand the complexity of the physiological system and how muscle groups function under stress and load.  Knowing how to target particular body segments and its associated musculature is important when and if needed.

The deep neck extensors, semispinalis cervicis and multifidus are located along the back of the cervical spine.  They are anatomically able to control segment movements in conjunction with the deep neck flexors  and aid in extension and stabilization of the cervical spine.

How they function may be felt by placing the Pendulum Head and Neck face pad in hole number six.  Sit on the machine to perform forward neck flexion.  In an upright position place the upper arms at one’s side.  Place your open hands palm down at the base of the handles.  The handle will be between the index and first finger the palms resting on the frame. Squeeze the scapula together with a strong contraction.  Your head will only be able to move 15-20 degrees as the scapula contraction braces the spine keeping the head from fully moving.

Arms on side of Chest then Contract Scapula

As the head moves forward the extensors resist full flexion and go through an eccentric contraction.  The eccentric movement means the muscle is lengthening under load as it is resisting the forward head tilt. After 6-8 repetitions while contracting your scapula stop and you will feel the exercise is training the back of your neck not the front even though you are moving your head forward in a small degree of motion.  You now have located the deep cervical extensors.

The Pendulum Adjustable Face Pad


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Livonia Franklin High School
2024 CSCCa

A morning workout on the Pendulum Rack System at the College Strength and Conditioning Show in Fort Worth, Texas. The strength coaches are Staying Strong. The Pendulum Rack System