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by Neil Zietsman from 3S Functional Training in Sun Valley.

Special considerations for women: Head posture

As trainer and being a male it can be difficult to understand what some of my female clients may be going through first hand. The one positives that I have maybe is an outsider’s perspective. So lets look at some of the differences in men and woman and how these affect us in everyday life.

Differences in men and women

The human head weights roughly 8% of your body weight. There is no difference here in men and woman although both sides might debate as to what extent is grey matter and what is thick bone. Where man and women are different is the amount of muscle they have in their bodies and in this case we are looking at musculature of the neck. Men are ahead here with up to 30% more muscle supporting the head. So it sands to reason that a woman’s neck would have to work harder to keep the weight of her head in place.

Normal Posture
Normal Posture

Neck Strain

Remember that as the head moves forward it puts additional strain on the extensors of the neck. So much so that 2 to 3 cm forward movement can add up to double the weight and strain on the neck muscles.

Another factor to take into consideration is that often women will have longer hair then their male counterparts. You might argue that the weight of someone’s hair is fairly negligible but please keep in mind that having a small force over a long period of time can have an effect. It only takes 1 gram of constant pressure from someone’s braces to move a tooth in a couple of months. Environmental influences such as ergonomics at the work place, sitting for long periods of time can also have an effect.

Forward Facing Posture
Forward Facing Posture

Results of forward head posture

If someone has forward head posture this can put strain on the neck extensor muscles and affect much of the rest of the body. Studies have shown that muscles under constant strain often have less blood flow to these areas resulting in further problems.

Some of the symptoms of this problem might be sore neck and shoulders, constant headaches, forward shoulders, rounded back, a slouched posture or a dowager’s hump (connective tissue that forms at the base of the neck).

To correct this a person should look at correcting posture, stretching muscles that are tight and strengthening loose muscles through out the body as posture often affects the whole body not just particular areas.


NeilNeil Zietsman from 3S Functional Training in Sun Valley has a BBA (Unisa) & internationally-accredited Master Fitness Certification (Australia) as well as a specialisation in Core & Back Conditioning (CHEK Institute).

So if results matter, contact 3S Functional Training?