T Nation

Neck Hypertrophy

Trying to put some size on my neck, both because I like having a big neck and it helps in rugby. Been using a neck harness for several years, mostly doing 3-4 sets of 10-25 reps once or twice a week, but have felt that in the last year or so my neck has stalled at 17" (above average, but nothing special).

Don’t have access to a four-way neck machine, and never gotten much from wrestler’s bridges, but have all the other standard gym machines and free weights. Any recommendations on exercises, sets, and reps (bear in mind I can’t afford to just specialize on my neck, most concerned with getting the big compound lifts up)?

In my opinion, your neck would grow if you deadlifted and shrugged with a couple hundred more pounds! Keep using the neck harness, but do that after deadlifts and shrugs.

I’ve heard it recommended to do neck first in the workout. I wish I had the link explaining why.

I certainly fdon’t see neck-first taking anything away from deads or shrugs.

Neck work followed immediately by shrugs or DLs makes a great superset.

Stay away from the wrestler’s bridge. Bad news.

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
Trying to put some size on my neck, both because I like having a big neck and it helps in rugby. Been using a neck harness for several years, mostly doing 3-4 sets of 10-25 reps once or twice a week, but have felt that in the last year or so my neck has stalled at 17" (above average, but nothing special).

Don’t have access to a four-way neck machine, and never gotten much from wrestler’s bridges, but have all the other standard gym machines and free weights. Any recommendations on exercises, sets, and reps (bear in mind I can’t afford to just specialize on my neck, most concerned with getting the big compound lifts up)?[/quote]

My neck is just under 20". All I do is shrugs. When I had access to that seated HS shrug machine, I made the most progress and my traps actually got a little too big. I think my neck was 15" in high school so it has come a long way.

The only thing I could see that could make any more of a difference at this point is a neck machine just for the sake of building up up my sternocleidomastoid muscles (the ones on either side of the neck when seen from the front). Then again, that might scare some people.

I think some people make this way too complicated. You don’t have that many muscles in your neck to think you need 10 different exercises for it. It is simply your traps (shrugs) and the sternocleidomastoids contributing to neck thickness and muscularity. Considering the size of your traps, spending more time in a neck harness for the smaller muscle group than on shrugs for the larger makes little sense.

Focus on the big muscles in priority.

The rest is a matter of overall body size because how many people under 200lbs have necks over 19"?

Youir stats list you at just over 200lbs. Get bigger all over.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

My neck is just under 20". All I do is shrugs. [/quote]

Yeah, that and eat medium to large cattle for breakfast.

X is right, shrugs are one of the best ways to grow your neck. Also it seems that training in the 10-25 range is high for anything other than muscular endurance.

10-12 reps would be the highest I would go for hypertropy, but I would think you would want to train heavier for max strength, since you are looking for protection from a single collision. I would venture down into the 3-5 range if you really want to protect the neck for rugby.

deadlift and then deadlift some more…

I had my neck measured two months ago to have a shirt made to be in a wedding. It measured close to 22inches. I’ve never done a shrug or direct neck work.

meat

what about hang cleans? hang cleans seem to hit my traps pretty hard? just a note maybe its individual but i would think hang cleans and power cleans would hit everyones traps pretty damn hard

what about hang cleans? they seem to hit my traps hard as hell, seems like they would build a decent neck as well.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

Your stats list you at just over 200lbs. Get bigger all over.[/quote]

Based on what you have told us this is probably the only way you are going to see any significant size increase in your neck.

Shrugs and deadlifts are good advice but without an increase in overall size I doubt you will see much increase on the tape measure.

Good luck.

[quote]pure_country wrote:
what about hang cleans? hang cleans seem to hit my traps pretty hard? just a note maybe its individual but i would think hang cleans and power cleans would hit everyones traps pretty damn hard[/quote]

right on. olympic lifts are superior if you can do them right.

ive been trying to work on my form with cleans, trying to do them perfectly, i dont really use that much weight but im trying, i think their giving me some big gains, just for reference how much weight should someone of my size be cleaning? i weigh about 170 and im about 5’10, ive been training about 2 years?

Read this:

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/the_yoke.htm

DD

Variations of cleans and snatches work the traps well, from an explosive standpoint, but shrugs are superior from a hypertrophy standpoint because of the constant tension you place upon the traps.

Shrugs allow you to keep the traps under an appropriate TUT (time under tension) for maximum hypertrophy gains. Due to the extremely short range of motion involved with shrugs, for maximum hypertrophy, higher rep ranges are warranted to keep the TUT adequate.

Rarely does a full rep on a shrug take more than 3 seconds. Most people use to much weight and don’t hold the lockout isometrically for a second, which in my opinion is better for hypertrophy. If you use a one second concentric, isometric hold and eccentric rep, that’s three seconds per full repetition, which would require a 14-23 rep range in order to fall into the 40-70 seconds that most studies indicate are best for hypertrophy.

Deadlifts help build a stronger back and posterior chain so you can handle the weight when you start shrugging with 400, 500 and 600 pounds. It is possible; the traps are capable of handling a heavy load!

I always do a rep wrestler’s bridge, about 8-10/set for 2-3 sets, then follow that with a weight plate 35-55 placed on my forehead and end with manual resistance from side to side, neck usually around 18 3/4-20" depending on how much I weigh.

[quote]bruinsdmb wrote:
pure_country wrote:
what about hang cleans? hang cleans seem to hit my traps pretty hard? just a note maybe its individual but i would think hang cleans and power cleans would hit everyones traps pretty damn hard

right on. olympic lifts are superior if you can do them right.[/quote]

I love O lifts, but I don’t think they are superior for hypertrophy. They are better for developing explosive strength.

Heavy shrugs & deads, lots of food, plenty of rest.

[quote]devilBASTARDdog wrote:
Read this:

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/the_yoke.htm

DD[/quote]

damn, id give my left nut to have a “yoke” like this cat, craziness, looks like he has 3 heads man!!!

I read what X et al were saying, and they seem to be testament, so go with that man. But specifically for rugby, my mate used to play for Rhondda and Wales, and he’s a sinewy little toughnut. He needed to withstand impact, so the coach put him on the programme that follows, and he said it worked really good-

Press your neck forcefully against an immovable force (your hand) on each side, and front and back, holding your head at the temples/forehead. Isometrically hold for 30 seconds, really hard. Repeat 3x week (it’ll take minutes, you know) and you could maybe even increase the volume, and obviously as you get stronger it’ll increase in intensity. Good luck