T Nation

Neck Muscle for Protection?

My husband is a competitive cyclist, with a typical cyclist build - long, lean, & not muscular except for his legs. Yesterday on his mountain bike in the woods he went over the handlebars & smashed his head & face into some rocks. His helmet saved his life. Now he has a concussion & severe whiplash.

I’ve only been really lifting for a couple months, but it seems to me that if he had more muscle on his neck and shoulders he would have more protection in a situation like this. Am I correct? If so, what exercises should be be doing? Seeing him in the hospital strapped to that board scared the hell out of me - I don’t ever want to do that again.


No amount of training and muscle will save you in case of an unlucky accident - all you can do is wear proper protective gear and always be careful.

That being said, i frequently see people training specifically for Martial Arts (especially Boxers) doing the ‘wrestlers bridge’.

alexanderbecker.net/lexicon/?term=wrestlers_bridge

Awesome, thank you!

I suspect that maintaining good flexability is important too for protecting the neck. I am not sure how much the wrestler’s bridge stretches the neck, but you might consider adding in neck stretches to his usual stretching routine which is presumably frequent given he is an athelete.

There are straps/helmets that one can put on and hang a weight from to use for lifts with the neck. One could also use isometric exercises on the neck (e.g. pushing one’s head back with one’s hand but resisting it with the neck muscles).

Have him read this, especially the neck training:

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

Then buy a neck harness from the online store there.

If you don’t want to/can’t buy a harness, do static holds with manual resistance (push against head with hand/resist with neck).

Thank you so much. This information is an enormous help. As soon as the bandages & neck brace come off, he’s on it. And I love the invisible barbells.

There is also an exercise that one can do to strenghthen it. I’ll try as best I can to explain.

  1. Lie on back.
  2. With neck elevated off the floor, nod your head in a nodding “yes” motion, up and down like. 30-50 reps.
  3. Without laying the head back to the floor, now you move your head side to side, like you’re doing a nodding “no” motion. 30 -50 reps.
  4. Again without laying the head back on the floor, move the head ear to shoulder left to right left to right etc. 30-50 reps.

Do that along with any other exercises, the usual 2-3 times a week.

Don’t forget that some upper body strength could have kept him in the saddle! Get some arms and shoulders on your man. It’s for his own good. 8^)

I’m workin’ on it, honey.