Ahead by a Neck
Brian D. Johnston
The neck is a complex area that develops easily, because of its potential for growth from disuse atrophy (a factor that
further means weak muscles). The neck includes several muscles used to move the cervical spine laterally from side to
side (40° to either side from a neutral position), to flex from front/flexed to back/extended (126° total movement), in a
rotary manner from left to right (approximately 180° total movement), and is involved in the elevation of the shoulder
girdle. In total, this accounts for seven different directions in which the neck muscles are involved.
Fleshy parts on either side of the neck
Prime mover in head flexion (dropping the chin
forward); acting alone, each muscle rotates the head
toward the shoulder on opposite side and tilts or
laterally flexes head to its own side.
A muscle group that consists of three distinct
muscles – middle, anterior and posterior scalene.
Located more laterally than anteriorly on the neck,
and behind the sternocleidomastoid.
Flexion and rotation of the neck (also elevates the first
two ribs, to aid in inspiration, because of their
attachment to those ribs).
Two distinct muscles (splenius capitis and
cervicis) located under the trapezius; known as
‘bandage muscle’ because it covers and holds
down deeper neck muscles.
Extends or hyperextends the head; when spelnius
muscles on one side are activated, the head rotates
and bends laterally toward the same side.
Located under the trapezius.
Extends head and turns the face toward the same side.
Located under the trapezius; extends from the
thoracic area to head.
Extends vertebral column and head and rotates them to
opposite side; acts synergistically with
sternocleidomastoid muscles of opposite side.
Most superficial muscle of posterior thorax, of the
upper back and neck; flax and tri