Lying weighted lateral neck flexion exercise

Lying weighted lateral neck flexion

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Sternocleidomastoid
  • Synergists: Splenius, Erector Spinae
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Strap the head harness securely to your head and attach a weight plate to it.
  2. Holding the plate, lie on your side on a flat bench with your head extending off the end.
  3. Carefully lower the plate so that it is suspended by the head harness over the floor.
  4. Lower your head until you feel a mild stretch in the opposite side of your neck.


  1. Exhale as you slowly and carefully lift the weight plate by laterally flexing your neck.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you slowly and carefully lower the weight plate to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  5. Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.

Comments and tips

  • Do not laterally flex your neck beyond feeling a mild stretch in your neck.
  • Keep the movement very slow and under full control.
  • Keep the weight light. Do not go very heavy with this or any other neck exercise.
  • Do not allow the weight plate to touch the floor.
  • Unlike in the illustration, instead of lying on your arm, you can place your hand on the floor off the end of the bench.
  • If you don’t have a head harness, you can hold a small weight plate on the side of your head (see the second video). Place a towel between the plate and your head for comfort.
  • Use neck exercises such as the lying weighted lateral neck flexion to strengthen and build your neck. Having a strong neck is important, especially if you’re an athlete or engage in sports such as football, rugby, soccer, MMA, or other combative sports. A strong neck stabilizes your head and reduces your risk of sustaining a neck injury upon impact. It can also improve quality of breathing, as some neck muscles, such as the scalene muscles and sternocleidomastoid, assist in respiration.
  • See also the lying weighted neck flexion and the seated weighted neck extension.


Lying weighted lateral neck flexion using a head harness

This is the only video I could find of the lying weighted lateral neck flexion. It’s poor quality and the range of motion is short, but it would give you an idea of how the exercise looks.

Lying weighted lateral neck flexion using a plate


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