Mike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. He explains, if you want to be a better athlete and protect your cervical spine…Say Yes!
1902 Rose Bowl
The two main functions of the cervical spine are:
1). Flex and extend the head
2). Flex and extend the cervical spine
The suboccipital muscle group flexes and extends the head and is comprised of eight muscles, one set of four on either side just below your skull.
This group up around the atlas and axis are known to anatomists as the suboccipital triangle.
rectus capitus major
rectus capitus minor
The movement of flexion and extension occurs between the occiput (back of your head) and the atlas, producing the “yes” nod. Flexion occurs in the range of 10 degrees and extension, 25 degrees. This means the head can move through a 35 degree range without neck participation.
The upper cervical spine has been shown to be the most concentrated area of mechano- receptors. Mechano- receptors are the joint position receptors of the body…body awarenes in space, and balance….. good stuff.
The suboccipital muscles have a very dense number of muscle spindle cells and golgi tendon organs. Muscle spindles measure the rate of change in muscle length and monitor joint position as it relates to the muscle. The golgi tendon organ measures muscle tension.
What all this means is that the suboccipital triangle is a great place, rich in stuff, to help you become a better athlete, as well as protect yourself.
To best exercise this muscular group do the aforementioned 35 degree nodding motion on your neck machine. Starting at roughly 90 degrees, flex your chin 10 degrees. Follow this movement by extending your head 25 degrees. This ‘yes nod’ is a very small movement which you will feel in back of and below your ears along your neck.
The trick is, during extension, look up with your eyes and your head will end up in the perfect place. The Pendulum antimicrobrial face pad was made so you could ‘look up’ during the movement.
The Pendulum 5 Way Neck has a built in nodding mechanism on the cam for the suboccipital muscles. This makes things pretty easy to learn and little explanation to an athlete is needed.
Sooooo ….I guess the naming of the machine requires some explanation. But think of this. If you ‘Say Yes!’ to purchasing a 5 Way machine, you are actually getting a 6 Way….. which is kinda cool……