I practice lion dance as part of the tradition and culture of my martial arts system. It is a dance in which two performers mimic a lion's movements inside a costume. As part of some lion dance routines (in general), various tricks can be performed with two people.
There is one particular trick where I lift a person (the one holding the lion head) up by the waist and onto my head. Lifting the person up with the lion head is not particularly difficult for me. Maintaining the weight after setting the person down on my head tends to put stress on my neck and shoulders, and more so when I walk around, as I try to keep my posture and not collapse.
Here is a picture that resembles what I'm talking about.
lion dance - full stack
Photo by Scott Swigart
I am mentally comfortable with bearing the weight on my head (from practicing over and over), but physically I feel like I still there is a limit to how long I can hold the weight. Doing it too many times also leads to much soreness. I am curious to know whether there are exercises and stretches that would allow me to build up strength in my neck and shoulders so that I could perform this move longer.
I added the "cheerleading" tag since it is probably the most analogous type of physical workout. Hopefully it will attract people from that area who understand what I'm describing and could provide some insight.