Monday, August 25, 2008

Head Faults: The Chicken Neck

The head fault comes in many flavors, sizes, styles, and brands. And this aberration of the neutral spine is best expressed by the ubiquitous "chicken neck."

When under athletic demand, we want our athlete's head to be in a position that reflects both utility (have to keep my eyes on the ball) and "best" neutral spine positioning. Deviation from neutral, straight spine can cause a whole slew of silly mechanical BS downstream (blown cervical discs, flexed lumbar spines problems, poor shoulder positioning, etc.)

Best defense? No be there.

See if you can identify the chicken neck in the movements below.

Coach Kstar


meg said...


Eugene said...

bbawk bbawk chicka chicka
bbawk bbawk chickenhead


Nick said...

that sucks

Anonymous said...

Leave it to Kelly to shuffle through hundreds of pictures that would've gotten me arrested for being awesome, and find the one pic where im less than awesome. HOT SHOT!!!! DAMMIT!!!!


FilthyBrit said...

Chickens may not be good at lifting weights, but they sure can

Thurston Howell III said...

What about wall ball? You have to look up to hit the target and catch the ball on the way down, which means you have to chicken neck, at least while your at the top part of the squat. Please advise.

Nick said...

Filthybrit, I love how your pic is of Ric Flair. I can feel the chest slaps burning across my chest right now.

Also, why am I the one who is chosen in sepia tones?

Kelly Starrett said...

You will note that I did speak to your point when I addressed functionality, specifically "have to keep my eyes on the ball." Deviation from an ideal position is often a necessary evil. But universally all the chicken necks we see are not secondary to task positioning as in your wall ball example.

You will note that there aren't any wall balling athletes in these examples. But I would make the case that a Coach Boz wouldn't chicken neck even during that movement.

And the number one inducer of exertion headaches is wall ball.
Closing off your neck extensors and closing your cervical facets is still gnarly even if you "have to" do it.

Advice: Always look to create length in your spine. Don't stay closed off during wall ball neck extension.
Back away from the wall a little.
Don't become a professional wall baller.


FilthyBrit said...


Never forget, to be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man.

Yours truly,

Nature Boy

P.S. Whoooooooooooo!!

Aneel said...

ok I like the term Chicken Head myself. But that is just me.
On another note, this evening we will be saying goodbye to Ross I heard mention of drinks? anyone know anything?

Nick said...

Ross is leaving? where is he going? Damn that sucks.

Filthybrit - Dude I was sitting here trying to remember all of the sayings of the nature boy but couldn't. The irony of the nature boy is that if that is natural, I don't want anything to do with it.

thurston howell iii said...


Thanks for the info.


Jeremy Jones - Diablo CrossFit said...

"Professional Wall Baller" . . . I would think they would have to worry more about STDs. . .

Nice info, and I like the name. I am going to be shouting -I mean- "using" it often at The Shed.


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