As people age, the shape of their face begins to change. As fat builds in the neck, skin begins to sag and the jaw muscles begin to shrink. This may cause your jawline to become less defined.
While changes to the face due to genetics or aging are perfectly natural, there are some exercises you can do to help define your jawline. Exercising the neck, chin, jaw, and other facial muscles can lead to subtle changes in your face, including sharper cheekbones and a more prominent jawline. One study found that performing regular facial exercises over the course of 20 weeks led to fuller cheeks and a more youthful appearance.
These exercises can do more than give your face a more defined or a younger look—they can also prevent pain in the neck, head, and jaw. Studies have shown that jawline exercises may help reduce the effects of temporomandibular disorders, or chronic pain in the jaw muscles, bones, and nerves.
Exercises to Help Define the Jawline
Jaw and neck muscles are rarely exercised in a gym setting. Over time, this can cause sagging skin, a less defined jawline, or even neck pain. These jawline exercises can help create a defined jawline and prevent neck pain, jaw pain, and headaches.
Neck crunches are like an abdominal crunch or curl. This activates neck muscles that are rarely used, so be sure to take it slow and stop if you feel any pain.
Step 1: Lay down on your back and press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
Step 2: Bring your chin to your chest, lifting your head about two to three inches off the ground.
Step 3: Slowly lower your head back down and repeat.
By sounding out vowels and stretching your mouth, this exercise targets the muscles around your lips.
Step 1: Open your mouth to create an “O” sound. Exaggerate the vowel to tighten the muscles.
Step 2: Then, open your mouth to create an exaggerated “E” sound.
Step 3: Repeat the “O” and “E” movements.
The collarbone exercise engages the muscles under your chin that support your jaw.
Step 1: Sit down on the floor or in a chair.
Step 2: Bring your head back several inches until you feel the muscles on the side of your neck contract, keeping your chest as still as possible and making sure that your ears stay over your shoulders. Keep your chin parallel with the floor as you move.
Step 3: Repeat the same motion, but this time pushing your head forward.
The chin-up exercise lifts up the facial muscles in the lower half of your face, including your jaw.
Step 1: Close your mouth and slowly push your jaw forward.
Step 2: Lift up your low lip and push up until you feel the muscles in your chin and jawline stretch.
Step 3: Stay in this position for about 10 seconds before repeating the exercise.
The tongue twister targets muscles below the chin to tone the jawline.
Step 1: Place your tongue at the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth.
Step 2: Press your tongue firmly against the roof of your mouth to create tension.
Step 3: Hum and make a vibrating sound to activate your muscles.
However, when doing all of these exercises, it’s important to take it slow. Muscles along the neck and jaw are often underdeveloped. This means going too fast or doing too many reps can cause neck strain. If you feel any pain during these exercises, you should stop right away. Check your form and make sure your neck is properly aligned, but if the pain persists, see your doctor.
Experts recommend exercising for about 30 minutes a day at least six days a week in order to see significant results. It’s best to begin with a few minutes a day and work your way up. It takes time to develop these muscles — and even more time to see results. If you’re too vigorous in these exercises, you could damage the bone or cushioning cartilage in the jaw joints, leading to pain and jaw injuries.
If you’re already experiencing jaw pain, check with a healthcare professional or a neuromuscular dentist to see if these exercises are right for you.