How to Fix Forward Head Posture | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

How to Fix Forward Head Posture

April 16, 2013 | Robert Taylor

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

I'm sure you've had someone try to fix your posture. But did they tell you that bad posture—specifically a forward head tilt—can actually hurt your athletic performance.

Although posture seems like a small part of athletic training, it can have serious implications if you ignore it. A forward head tilt can cause your skill mechanics to break down, leading to potential neck, shoulder, back and elbow pain, or more severe injuries. (Try these exercises to prevent back pain.)

When you look at your entire body to make sure it is ready for competition, don't be afraid to put your back literally up against a wall to correct your posture. Be ready for the challenge.

How to assess your forward head posture

  • Stand with your head, shoulder blades and hips against a wall with your heels about six inches away.
  • Have a teammate use their fingers to determine how many fingers can be placed between the back of your neck and the wall.
  • If your partner can fit more than three fingers, your neck will be about two inches away from the wall and you likely have a forward head posture.

How to minimize forward head posture

Consult your sports medicine team, athletic trainer, or physical therapist for a more specific program design.

  • When working at a computer, position the monitor so that the top third of the screen is level with your eyes and between 18 and 24 inches away from your face. The exact distance depends on the size of the screen; the larger the screen, the further away it should be placed.
  • When sitting, always sit up straight and maintain a curve in your lower back. Try to find chairs that have some amount of built-in low-back support. Keeping the low back (a.k.a. the lumbar spine) in proper alignment will keep your head from drifting forward. (Learn how to reduce low-back pain.)
  • Remove extra pillows from under your head at night. One is enough. Since we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, it's important not to reinforce bad alignment during this time.

Exercises forward head posture correction

Do both of these exercises for two minutes each hour you are awake. Perform ten reps each time. Remember, the posture you have now took years to develop, so it will take time and practice to restore good posture.

Chin Tuck

  • Stand or sit as straight as possible with proper spine alignment.
  • Ask a teammate, coach or trainer for feedback so you are consistently in a good position prior to and during this exercise.
  • Using your neck muscles, pull your head back until your ears are over your shoulders, as if some someone were pushing your nose toward the back of your head.
  • Keep your eyes level. Try not to move your head up or down, but let it glide back. Hold for five seconds.
  • Return to the start position and repeat for the specified reps and time.

Chin Tuck in Supine Position

  • Lie on your back with nothing behind your head.
  • Nod your head by brining your chin closer to your chest without lifting the back of your head off the floor. Hold for five seconds.
  • Return to the start position and repeat for specified reps and time.

Watch this video from SMARTER Team Training for more info on forward head posture.

Editor's Note: Coach Taylor has developed the SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason and public understanding of prudent, purposeful and productive strength and conditioning practices for clients and athletes. Listen to episodes featuring some of the best experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition and sport psychology here


Topics: BACK
Robert Taylor
- Robert Taylor is the founder and owner of SMARTER Team Training. He has served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Maryland;...
Robert Taylor
- Robert Taylor is the founder and owner of SMARTER Team Training. He has served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Maryland;...
Must See
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 8,065,729
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,016,243
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,222,559

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros Episode 6: The Combine Views: 1,007
James Harden Resisted Euro-Step Views: 11,715
Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 139,786
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dwyane Wade Jumps Onto a 42" Box
Views: 10,738,584
Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,135
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 5,020,437
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,328,909
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,250

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Sports Destroy Your Feet: Steps to Take for Healthy Feet on and off the Field By Jim Carpentier, CSCS Size, strength, speed, flexibility and endurance...

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses