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Exercise for the neck

Guys, are there any good exercises for the neck? Will shoulder/military presses, heavy shrugs do any good? I’ve always wondered how some wrestlers get that real “don’t mess with me” kind of neck. Thanks in advance for your input.
Roy.

Ian King worte on the neck recently. You can’t change the structure of the neck, but you can build the traps to make the neck more impressive. If you haven’t already, check out Paul Chek’s articles on shrugs.

Roy, shrugs, cleans and the like should help you, but if you want a wrestlers neck, you gotta wrestle, they got big, mean necks because they are constantle bridging on them with the weight of themselves and their opponent on top of them. If you don’t wrestle though, you can try getting a wild ass girl.

The best exercise by far that I have ever used to strengthen the neck is the “Wrestler’s Bridge.” Matt Furey shows how to do this at his website www.mattfurey.com. In fact, my neck has gotten much bigger from using the exercise and I find that most of my shirts do not button up at the neck anymore. Really good exercises for keeping the spine strong and flexible as well.

Hey Mike, do you have any updates on your combat conditioning? It’s been working well so far. I’m now able to do 35 straight Hindu pushups without rest. I’ve been tweaking my Hindu squats and usually doing a set of 100 followed by another set of 25 or 50 trying to keep my form and good speed. Some days I’m so sore, I can’t get much more than 100.

I'm going to do the 500-rep Squat workout tonight. Hopefully I'll make it through. I'm still working on my bridgin, and I can almost get my nose to the floor. But I can't hold the position for too long right now. I also enjoy wall walking, what a great exercise. And I'm still trying to get my handstand pushup strength a bit higher. I've been able to do sets of 5 or 6 reps. I've also started doing stadiums twice a week followed by pushups after each climb/spring up the stadium steps. What a killer workout! And rope jumping has already helped my calves get pumped up and start growing. I can't believe it works so well. I'll be sore for a week after a few minutes of jumping rope!

Nate Dogg,

Sounds like are kicking some ass on the combat conditioning! Keep up the good work and good luck with the 500 straight squats. I have not received my resistance bands yet. I will let you know what I think of them when I do. I started doing handstand pushups off of two chairs to increase the range of motion! Wow what a difference. If you think regular handstand pushups are hard, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Once you can do 10 regular handstand pushups easily, trying increasing the range of motion! My girlfriend states that my arms and shoulders are blowing up from the exercise. Still doing about 200 body squats a day and some of the other leg exercises in matt’s book. I am going to start working on one legged squats(Man are those hard) and see if I can build some reps in those.

As for bridging, keep doing the wall walking and try some reverse pushups. It took me a while to get the bridging down. However it was worth it. Now I am more focused on decreasing the distance between my head and legs while bridging and touching my chin to the mat. Great exercise. I have laid off the weights for a while, but plan on doing some deadlifts, power cleans, weighted chin ups and dips soon. Should be a great combination. I just ordered some Tribex, Methoxy, and ZMA, and started taking Glutamine, phosphatidylserine and ginseng and it is helping reduce stress and give me better workouts. I will let you know how it goes!

Mike, yes let me know what you think of the bands. I’d be interested in getting them to add more resistance to my pushups! As for handstand pushups, I’ll definitely wait until I can easily get 10 before I go trying to do it on the chairs. I can only imagine how much harder it must be. Now you get to feel the whole range of motion! That’s tough bro!

And I’m sure your arms and shoulders are blowing up! I can already see more size/definition in my shoulders. Which is great! Shoulders have always been a weak point for me. And with shoulder injuries, they just weren’t growing or feeling good. But this stuff has helped decrease the pain!

As for tonight's squat session, I won't be doing 500-straight squats! I'd die trying to do 200. I'm going to break it up into sets of 25, 50 or 75. I'll do it similar to the workout listed in the back of the book. Even if it takes me 10 sets, I'm sure it will be awesome. I'm also going to try some of those one-legged squats. But I need a little more strength in my legs. I know those suckers are hard! Well keep me up-to-date! Thanks Mike.

Mike thanks for the information. I tried the wrestler’s bridge and IT IS THE GREATEST! You can feel it all the way down to your spine. I can almost touch my nose w/ hand support but I think it is going to take a few more weeks. How does Matt suggest doing these? I know he said try to get to 3 minutes but how many sets should you do and how many times per week?

Hey Guys thanks for the information, I am starting the “bridge” exrcise this evening, hope I won’t end up breaking my neck!
Roy

Glad I could help out. Bridging should be done everyday. In fact if you take a week off from bridging you will lose a lot of the flexibility temporarily. Thus, get in the habit of making it part of your daily regimen. I look at it as meditation and love using it before any workout to get my energy up. Don;t worry about sets. Just focus on getting your nose to the mat and hlding your arms out in front of you. Once you can do thaat, hold it for three minutes, then five minutes, then try ten. I got up to about 15 minutes and now just do three daily to keep up the exercise and benefits. Once you get good at the bridge, focus on decreasing the distance between your head and feet, or try adding additional weight(Example have your girlfriend sit on your chest as long as she is not a fat ass! Or hold a weight on your chest. Good Luck

Nate - What book are you guys referring to?

I recently became interested in strengthening my neck, just before this thread appeared in the forum about bridging. A coworker told me about exercises he used to do for football paractice that were similar to wrestler’s bridge, but done from a hunched-over pushup position, and including rocking the head forward and backward slightly. Well, my neck was NOwhere near strong enough to start with this so I incorporated the following into my warmup stretching routine (BTW, I’m 39 and never trained my neck):
1-while laying on my back, knees bent about 90 degrees and flat-footed, raise back and butt off the ground so that my whole body is supported by my feet and elbows. Tilt my head back slightly in contact with the mat and gently transfer weight to my head by raising my arms. It has taken me 3 weeks at 3X a week to get to the point where I can raise my arms completely off the mat for a count of 2! I notice very rapid progress, though, in those 3 weeks, in the ability of my neck to take the strain. I perform 3-5 reps and hold the position steady. I am up to just 5-seconds holds now.
2-I perform the same scheme in a pushup position on my knees and hands, tilting my head forward on a towel, using the line from my nose to my forhead for contact. This is harder, and I am only up to hands-free counts of 2-3. - Nylo

I recently became interested in strengthening my neck, just before this thread appeared in the forum about bridging. A coworker told me about exercises he used to do for football paractice that were similar to wrestler’s bridge, but done from a hunched-over pushup position, and including rocking the head forward and backward slightly. Well, my neck was NOwhere near strong enough to start with this so I incorporated the following into my warmup stretching routine (BTW, I’m 39 and never trained my neck).
Number One: While laying on my back, knees bent about 90 degrees and flat-footed, raise back and butt off the ground so that my whole body is supported by my feet and elbows. Tilt my head back slightly in contact with the mat and gently transfer weight to my head by raising my arms. It has taken me 3 weeks at 3X a week to get to the point where I can raise my arms completely off the mat for a count of 2! I notice very rapid progress, though, in those 3 weeks, in the ability of my neck to take the strain. I perform 3-5 reps and hold the position steady. I am up to just 5-seconds holds now.
Number Two: I perform the same scheme in a pushup position on my knees and hands, tilting my head forward on a towel, using the line from my nose to my forhead for contact. This is harder, and I am only up to hands-free counts of 2-3. - Nylo

Michelle, we are referring to Combat Conditioning by Matt Furey. There have been a few posts about it on the forum. Or you can check out the info on his web site combatwrestling.com.

Michelle, the book that Nate and I am talking about is "Combat conditioning: by Matt Furey. You can check it out at www.mattfurey.com

I used to wrestle and never found bridges to be that effective for building the neck. More of a flexibility exercise. I’m sure that those of you who have never done them before will find them taxing, but once you have a little practice, you will find that you can stay in bridge position on a mat for as long as you’d like. I recommend the four-way neck machine, as well as lots of shrugging. Bridging is ok though, if you don’t have the neck machine or one of those obnoxious neck harnesses.

when i was boxing, there was 3 exercises, one was a machine where you add plates, another was performed by lying face up in the ring, and hanging your head and kneck off the ring. then you would perform a “situp” with your head going very slow like a 3-0-3 tempo. An the last was done by doing bridges, arching your back supporting your self on your head and feet(many wrestlers also do this). hope it helps

I am a high school wrestler. The neck is commonly mistaken for the trapezius. Shrugs and uprigth rows primarily work the traps. For a real neck do front and back bridges on your head. Support yourself with hands at first and move the neck in different directions. Remove hands when able.

How could I forget? Partner necks! That’s what our college wrestling team used to do because our school was too cheap to buy a neck machine. Basically it was manual resistance, one guy would stand behind the other guy who was on all fours and push against the back of his head for like a 3 count, for ten reps, while he was bringing his head back. You also could do either side by resisting against the temples with both hands, and then you would do the front by interlocking your hands and pushing against the forehead while he moved his head forward. Although it looked a little weird, it was effective, unless your partner was one of the idiots who didn’t really care about whether your neck got a good workout. Those people were the reason the pink belly got invented.

i haven’t tried any of that wrestlers bridge stuff, but deadlifts get my vote for best neck developer, period.