I was noticing a strange though mild soreness in the front of my neck soon after I awakened, and initially didn’t know what could have caused it.
Then I soon realized that the day before, I had been doing standing overhead presses.
This exercise involves standing in one spot with feet about shoulder width apart, and pressing a barbell overhead.
This is not the most common exercise, but it’s a very functional one that also strengthens the lower back. Proper form is crucial.
You may think that the standing overhead press works only the shoulders, arms and core, but pay closer attention next time you’re pressing up a heavy barbell.
The muscles in the neck are subjected to isometric contractions: The muscles are under tension, but do not lengthen or shorten.
If you raise your head just even a little bit while fighting to get the barbell completely over your head, this can set you up for some neck soreness (in the front) the next day.
Since the muscles in the neck go over the throat, you may perceive what seems to be soreness in the throat area as well (not like a “sore throat” from a cold, but a soreness in the front of your neck where the throat is). The soreness may also be under the jaw.
Whenever I have this soreness, it’s the day after heavy standing overhead presses. It’s also very transient in that it dissipates as the day proceeds.
Pay attention to your neck the next time you’re pushing up heavy weight.
You will note that the muscles in this area are straining. They certainly aren’t doing nothing, that’s for sure.
This will be particularly evident if you use good form: feet flat on floor, no jerking up the weight.
A calm rather than jerky pressing motion will enable you to better tune in to how your various muscles are making this exercise possible. The neck is not excluded.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
neck throat soreness