Head Nods

Head Nods

Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Head nods are best performed with a small ball at a wall. The simple repeated chin tuck and roll movement is a great exercise for easing neck pain and improving upper cervical spine mobility. Head nodsĀ  can also be a great way to ease a headache. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqIH2G0SH5w

Set Up:

  • standing about 10cm from a wall, feet and knees hip width apart, knees slightly bent,
  • place your small ball on the wall at forehead level. NB it should not be completely in front of your eyes,
  • gently contract your deep tummy and shoulder blade muscles, a little,
  • relax your upper neck muscles and shoulders.


  1. make a dent in the ball with your forehead. ie push your forehead onto the ball onto the wall at about a 50% push,
  2. tuck the chin slightly,
  3. then maintaining the dent in the ball, gently roll your chin towards your chest and then slowly return to the start position,
  4. it should feel “nice”, like it is gently stretching and moving through your neck, there should be no pain,
  5. repeat your head nods x10-20.
head nods with a small ball


  • the push on the ball can be less than 50% if you find it difficult to maintain whilst performing your head nod,
  • it can often help to imagine a pivot point through your jawbone; nod through this pivot point,
  • try not to poke chin when you return to the starting position,
  • maintain the 50% push on the ball throughout,
  • the rest of the body should remain still,
  • breathe normally down into your diaphragm throughout the head nod exercise.
  • see neck pain for other great exercises to improve cervical mobility and pain

Make it Harder:

  • maintain your push on the ball and rotate your head slowly to the right then slowly rotate to the left; the ball should move from one side of your forehead to the other. Repeat x 5 each side. try to keep your chin level throughout.
head rotations with small ball