T Nation

Neck exercises

I’m not talking about exercising the upper traps for size. I was wondering if having a strong neck would help in sports like boxing or mixed martial arts like it’s hyped up to be. And, if so, are those weights that wrap around your neck safe and effective? If there are any other exercises out there (besides that 4-way neck machine thing- those things always seemed harmful to me) I’d like to hear about them.


Slapmonkey I don’t know about the value of traps in fighting, but I know a guy who used to play for Nebraska back when they were championship material who told me they wouldn’t allow those neck exercising machines in there gym because they were dangerous. I asked him how come football players always have big necks. He said it was because they move their heads side to side so much while wearing football helmets. That might be difficult to do day in and day out, but then again there is a character in Doonesbury who always wears a football helmut so I guess it can be done.

I don’t know how it was back then, but I can tell you that now we do use the 4 way neck machine and yes it is periodized into there workouts. Usually 3x10 front and back.

Back when Charles Poloquin was still writing for T-mag he wrote of a means of exercising your neck. I’ll do my best to describe it and save you the search. Stand straight up against a wall and press the back of your head hard up against it. Then walk forward so that your body is at an approx 45’ angle from the wall. The idea is just to be supporting your bodyweight with only two points of contact. The back of your head against the wall and your heels. Hold this position for as long as you are able. And believe me, when you first start off it won’t be long. Take a rest and do a few more sets like this. Once you can hold this contraction for a couple of mins, you can move on to a swiss ball. Similar exercise. Only difference is now you use the ball like a big pillow, with just the back of your head resting on it and your heels on the floor. In this position you can incorporate small movements. Allowing you chin to come down to your chest, before flexing your neck muscles to so that the line of your spine is once more straight from the base right to the skull. And for the pedantic few out there, yes I know the spine is not straight. After this you can incorporate extra resistance by holding a weight plate on your chest.
There you have it. A safe way to build up your neck. Though I have to admit, lifting with free weights in my garage as I do. I am not familiar with neck machines you are talking about.
One final bit of info. When you do this exercise, be prepared for dizzy head spins that will last a few seconds when you immediately stand straight again after finishing a set.

Actually the helmet exercise is just what the doctor ordered. Get a helmet and put a post on it, throw some weights and you’ve got a safe and effective neck builder. Do a search because I believe how to create this “thing” is in the archives. Croooz

C is right. I wrote a detailed discription on how to make one a couple of months ago. If you have trouble finding it, please post here and I will see if I can find the word file that contains the information.
Best of Luck.

i use a head harness and go front - back, side - side, usually after i do shrugs. Seems to be going good.

Ever try bridging a la Combat Conditioning/ Matt Furey…very, very good stuff, if you can get to the point where you can back bridge with no hands, i’d say your neck is pretty strong…

how often should one train there neck 1xweek or more?

a strong neck is beneficial to anything really-flows into trap and shoulder strength
4 way necks aren’t harmful if u use a controlled and fluid pace at the right height-very rarely see that wrestler bridges are good too, or towel exercises.

Thanks a bunch, all. I’ll do that research. Thanks again!

I agree with afdsaints90 towel exercises are the way to go especially if you have a training partner.

I found those instructions.
www.t-mag.com/javaforum/forum.1/threads/ thread.1953959610.html
In case anyone else is interested. Take the space out after “threads/”

Thanks again

if you want a strong neck for safety’s sake in martial arts, then you also need that neck to beable to respond with a significant amount of force to a collision against your head. strengthening the neck muscles is only part of the puzzle

Peraonally, and I used to fight MMA, I would rely on bridges, reverse bridges and just grappling. Maybe I would lie on a bench with a plate wrapped in a towel on my forehead and do some neck extensions but I really think all the other stuff probably isnt worth the effort. I dont doubt it would work mind you but to me 10 minutes doing a neck exercise could be better spent working on techniques that will keep you from getting your head split open when you get pinned in the cage in the corner and you cant get the steroid-aided monster off of you(sound like I been there? I have). Train Hard! ProCop