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  Pilates Neck Roll and Chin Tuck, and Pilates Neck Pain! Pilates Information
Pilates Alexander Technique
Free pilates Exercises Online
The Neck Roll and Chin Tuck:- Start Position
  1. Lie in the relaxation position, knees bent and arm resting on lower abdomen.
  2. Gently anchor the scapulas.
  3. You may use a thin pillow under your head, but try not to.
The Neck Roll and Chin Tuck:- Action
First relax and free up your neck:
  1. Place the "Buddha" or "Mona Lisa" smile on your face, let your tongue widen at its base and your neck gently lengthen at the back.
  2. Let your shoulder blades melt into the floor. A couple of slow deep breaths will aid this.
  3. Now slowly roll your head. First to the right, then slowly to the left.
  4. Repeat a few times.
Once your neck is free:
  1. Bring your head to the centre.
  2. Tuck your chin in. Keep your head on the floor and let the back of your neck lengthen. Imagine you are holding a ripe peach under your chin. This is a small, relaxed and subtle movement.
Neck pain can be a problem when performing the Pilates One Hundred and other Pilates Exercises. See right panel for further comment...
("Pilates Chin Tucks & Pilates Neck Pain" - scroll right>>>>....)
Neck Roll & Chin Tuck Exercise:
Start Position NeckRoleStrt Neck Roll
Chin Tuck
Comment: Take a side view look at yourself!-
  • Diagram left: a tucked chin, but the back of the neck is shortened - typical of the "pompous lawyer".
  • Diagram Middle: a relaxed chin and head projected forward - typical of the hump backed "dowager widow".
  • Diagram right: a gently tucked chin with neck lengthening upwards. This is the ideal "strong middle positioning" of head and neck! Less than 10% of people achieve this(1,2).
Diagrams of Head and Neck Positioning:
Head "Back and Down"    pcross
Head "Forward and Down"    pcross
Head "Forward and Up"    ptick
Neck Pain and Pilates...
Don't be discouraged. Pilates is wonderful for finding weaknesses, and even sports pro's find Pilates difficult to start with. Three suggestions:-
(1) During the moves that cause neck pain, keep you head resting on the floor. Preferably use a pillow.
(2) During class, gently work the sore neck by doing the neck roll. (diagram in mid panel).
(3) During your day, avoid "head forward and down". E.g. when bringing a soup spoon to your mouth, bend at your hips to let your whole torso come forward, and lengthen your neck. These suggestions elongate and take pressure off the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which is a weak muscle that Pilates seeks to strengthen.

Diagram 1: The modified Pilates 100 Exercise- if your neck hurts, keep your head on the floor. Preferably use a pillow!
Diagram 2: Neck damaging head liftptick
Diagram 3: Neck safe head lift with chin tuck... ptick
  1. Joseph Ventura: POSTURE.pdf; A document bundled with trial software available from: itm00001.htm
  2. F Matthias Alexander: The Use of the Self; Orion Paper Backs, Reissued 2001 ISBN 0 75284 391 5
  3. Shirley A Sahrmann: Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes; Publ. Mosby 2002
Pilates Chin Tucks & Pilates Neck Pain © Bruce Thomson, EasyVigour Project