Try these six facial exercises to tone and tighten the muscles under your jaw for an all-natural saggy neck lift!
Whenever anyone is about to snap a pic of me, I automatically jerk my face to the front so that the camera never catches me in full profile. The line from the tip of my chin to my clavicle has never been the sharp U shape I've wanted it to be. And as I've aged, the problem has only become more pronounced. It's not really in my budget or nature to go under the knife. So I was kind of psyched when I found out there are facial exercises you can do to tighten up the ol' turkey waddle!
I guess I'm a little late to the party on this one because I'd never heard of a workout that affects your neck! But of course it makes sense. Obviously there are muscles in there. Otherwise our heads would flop around like those weird inflatable neon-colored flapping men in they put in front of used car lots. I studied up and and discovered that there's a lot you can do for your neck that doesn't involve anesthesia. And I've compiled a list of my six favorite facial exercises to nip in your neck jiggles.
When I say favorite, I mean the ones that I think have the greatest impact. Because doing these exercises is one of the most unpleasant experiences I've ever purposely put myself through. I'm a personal trainer and group exercise instructor who works out 6 days a week. So you might say I'm used to a little pain and gain. But executing these little beauties is worse than sitting through my grandma's 487th telling of the time I wrecked the family car when I was 16 because I was in a hurry to get some Rolos from the local drugstore.
Why so heinous? It's hard to explain. The tensing and holding are...not good. It's like Kegels, except in your face. And we all know how fun-filled Kegels are!
Ok. So here's a really scary picture to illustrate what we're focusing on when we perform these jaw and neck exercises.
The big sweeping muscle you see running along the front side of the neck is called the platysma. And then there are a bunch of little muscles right under your chin called the geniohyoid, digastric, mylohyoid, stylohyoid, etc. Those are all the muscles we're gonna be targeting to firm up the neck area that tends to sag.
You can help the firming process along by hydrating your skin outside (lotions and aloe) and inside (drinking plenty of water), using sunblock and staying out of the sun, not smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
You can perform these exercises daily.
- The Oh Shit (aka Forehead and Head Press)
Put one hand on your forehead and press against your hand until you feel your neck muscles tensing. Hold for 10 seconds and then release. Put both hands behind your head and lace your fingers together. Press your head back against your hands until you feel your neck muscles tensing again. Hold for 10 seconds. Do 10 reps of each.
This is the least horrible of the bunch and just makes you look like you forgot something.
- The Dumped on Prom Night (aka Tongue Press)
Tilt your head back until you're looking at the ceiling. Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Then, holding your tongue firmly against the roof of your mouth, lower your chin to your chest and release your tongue. Repeat 20 times.
The expression on your face is reminiscent of Carrie, post bucket o' blood dumping.
- The Vomit Maker (aka Kissing the Ceiling and the Jaw Push)
Version 1-Tilt your head back until you're looking at the ceiling. Make 20 exaggerated kissy puckers.
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Version 2-Tilt your head until you're looking at the ceiling. Thrust your jaw as far forward as you can until you feel a strong flex under the jaw and neck. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 20 times.
Lord knows why, but every time I do this one I almost lose my cookies. Perhaps keep a bucket nearby.
- The Weeping Lizard (aka Open Moving Jaw)
Pull your lips back against your teeth and frown as hard as you can. Your neck tendons will pop right out. While you're holding this flattering expression, slowly open and close your mouth 20 times.
Don't attempt this one in front of a toddler. It can cause prolonged shrieking and a desperate struggle to flee from an "ugly poo poo ghost face."
- The Large Marge (aka Lion Pose)
Kneel on the floor and put your hands on your knees with your fingers splayed out. Take a breath in and open your mouth. Stick your tongue out as far as you can (like you're trying to touch your chin with it) while opening your eyes as wide as possible. Then exhale with a "haaaaa" sound. Release and repeat 10-2o times.
Try to hang in there. We're almost done.
- The Mommy, Mommy, What Are You Doing Mommy? (aka Head Lift)
Lie on your bed with your head hanging over the edge. Slowly lift your head up as far as you can and hold for a count of 5. Repeat 5 times.
If you attempt to recline on any surface ever, it automatically sends a telepathic signal to any nearby children to magically appear, climb all over you, smear you with half-eaten food particles, and demand to know what the heck you're doing, why you're doing it, and can they please have some pretzels, popsicles, butter sandwiches, or anything that you would have to climb onto a chair to get.
Proceed with caution.
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