Have all your selfies sprouted second chins lately? Thankfully, neck and chin toning can be achieved without surgery — all it takes is adding a few targeted exercises to your workout. Over time, skin loses collagen and elasticity, causing it to sag around the neck and chin, a process that begins around age 20, according to Dr. Suzan Obagi, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Factors like sun exposure, smoking and poor diet can intensify the process.
Two main muscles — the sternocleidomastoid and platysma — make up your neck, and toning them can help pull the overlaying skin tighter for a younger, healthier look. To achieve results, try these exercises from personal trainer Mike Donavanik that are designed to help return your neck to its former glory.
EXERCISE 1: Tongue Press
Sitting with your back straight and shoulders down, tilt your head back so that you are looking at the ceiling. Forcefully press your tongue flat to the roof of your mouth. Then, keeping your tongue against the roof of your mouth, lower your chin to your chest as far as possible without rounding your upper back. You should feel your chin and the front of your neck contract. Then relax your tongue and straighten your neck to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete two sets of 20 reps each.
EXERCISE 2: Pout and Tilt
From a sitting or standing position, stick out your lower lip as far as you can to form a pout (place a finger on your chin; the skin should feel wrinkly and puckered). Hold this contraction for one second. Then, with your lip still out, contract the muscles at the front of your neck to lower your chin to your chest as far as possible without rounding your upper back. Pause and hold for another second, then relax your lips and straighten your neck to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete two sets of 20 reps each.
EXERCISE 3: The O
Sitting with your back straight and shoulders down, tilt your head back so that you are looking at the ceiling. Close your lips so they are together but relaxed. Keeping your lips closed, open your mouth so it forms an “O” shape. Hold this position for 20 seconds. You should feel a contraction on both sides of your neck directly under your jaw line. Relax your mouth and lower your chin to return to the starting point. That’s one rep. Complete two sets of 10 reps each.
EXERCISE 4: Kiss the Ceiling
Standing tall with your arms hanging at your sides, tilt your head back so that you are looking at the ceiling. Then try to kiss the ceiling by puckering your lips and extending them as far away from your face as possible. You should feel a tightening throughout your neck and chin. Hold for five seconds, then relax your lips and lower your chin to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete two sets of 15 reps each.
EXERCISE 5: Chin Rotations
In a seated or standing position, elongate your spine for a tall, straight back. Then, leading with your chin, slowly and gently rotate your head so it moves in a full circle from your shoulder to chest to shoulder to back. (If full circular rotations bother your neck, stick with semicircles moving from shoulder to shoulder.) Make sure to keep your shoulders down and back throughout the movement. That’s one rep. Complete 10. Repeat in the opposite direction.
EXERCISE 6: Side Neck Stretch
Sitting on the floor, place one hand on the floor, fingers down, about one foot away from your hip. Do not lean or rest heavily on your fingertips. Wrap your opposite arm over the top of your head so that your palm rests on your opposite ear. Keeping your head in alignment with your neck, bend your head toward your shoulder, using your palm to gently press down your head to your shoulder. Then take your fingertips off the floor and place them on your upper arm, applying gentle pressure to press the shoulder down and away from your head. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Release your hands, return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep. Complete three.
EXERCISE 7: Jaw Release
In a seated or standing position, elongate your spine for a tall, straight back. Moving your jaws up and down like you are chewing and keeping your lips together, inhale deeply through your nose then slowly exhale while humming. When you finish the exhale, open your mouth as wide as possible with the tip of your tongue gently pressed against the back of your bottom teeth. Holding this position, inhale then exhale with an audible “ahhh” sound. The entire move should take 90 seconds. That’s one rep. Complete two.
EXERCISE 8: Pigeon
Place your thumb on one side of your jaw, underneath your jawbone and just before it turns upward toward the ear. Place the same hand’s index finger in the same location on the opposite jaw. While holding your hand still, push forward against your hand with your neck and head. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then release your hand and move your neck back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete three.
EXERCISE 9: Stick Out Tongue
This is a great exercise that builds the muscles in your chin and can reduce a double chin without surgery. Stand or sit in a relaxed position. Open your mouth as wide as you can and stick your tongue out as far as you can so that you feel your chin and neck tighten. Hold your tongue out and count to 10. Relax and return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete 10.
EXERCISE 10: Head Lifts
Lie face-up on your bed with your neck on the edge of the bed and let your head hang relaxed off of the side. Contracting the muscles at the front of your neck, slowly lift and curl your head toward your chest as far as you can while keeping your shoulders flat on the bed. Hold for 10 seconds, then, being careful not to let your head drop, slowly relax your neck to return your head to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete three sets of two reps each, sitting up between sets to prevent dizziness. If you experience dizziness, take sitting breaks between each rep or perform the exercise on the floor with your neck in a straight line for the starting position.