Muscle group:   The back muscles

Trained muscle:   Upper back muscles, trapezius

Focused muscle:   Upper back muscles

Fitness level:   Beginner, advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Own body weight exercises


Head presses are very easy to perform and represent a highly effective training for the muscles of the cervical spine. The upper part of the trapezius muscle will be activated as well.

Head presses

Head presses can be practiced anywhere you would like to. A very effective variation is head pressing against your own hand resistance. The exercise is executed in seated position. Sit straight up with your abdominal muscles tensed. Cross your hands behind your head. Slowly you start to press your head against your hands until you have reached an intense training pressure. Your chin points toward the chest. Keep your breathing calm and abort the exercise if dizziness and/or nausea occur. Hold the pressure for up to one minute or stop at a rate of perceived exertion of high.

Head presses

Head presses

Head presses variations

Head presses can also be exercised against a headrest, preferably with back cushions. This variation can be intensified by adding pressure with your hands. Here, you would have to press your hands forward against a wall or similar. It is also possible to work out with a partner who is applying pressure against your arms from the front.

Head presses against rest

Head presses against rest

Head presses can also be performed in a lying supine position. Here, you would be pressing your head against the floor. Use a gym mat to make the exercise more comfortable.

Head presses against floor

Head presses against floor

Head presses become dynamic by moving your head to the chest and back up again. Resistance will be applied by your hands. Please do not overstretch your cervical spine toward the back and stop the motion when your entire spine is aligned in one line. Hold the pressure against your hands during the entire exercise.

Head presses against hands

Head presses against hands


It is important to not work out with maximum resistance! Spare your cervical spine by carefully dosing the pressure on your head.

Stretching: Neck stretches

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