Neck training

Are there any good exercises for training the neck? I know that most people just train the traps because it makes the neck look big anyway, but are there any safe ways to get a thicker neck? Coach Davies, since you have worked with many top football players, do you do anything to strengthen the neck to try and prevent injury in tackle situations?

Try bridging, using only your forehead and feet. Cross your hands over your chest. Hold for as long as possible. Three sets. You could always do weighted “neck extensions” to the front and sides. Have someone hold your head, and try to push it sideways. Use your imagination.

should bridging be done with nose touching the ground, or just with the crown of the head on the ground?

Personally, I just rest on my hair line, or high forehead. I wouldn’t want my nose on the mat, in case I slip or something.

I usually do my neck bridges up about on my forehead. Any farther and it gives me discomfort. You can also try one of those neck machines or straps, but partner resistance is a lot cheaper. Be careful also because if you get your neck too big it is hard to find dress shirts large enough. This has actually been a problem for two guys I know.

My apologies on not responding sooner. Heck we do a great deal of work within the neck. Careful balance of all work need to be shown with this area. One problem that athletes have in this area of training is going too heavy and destroying range of motion - be careful not to do this, in particular if you have access to a 4-way neck machine. In addition to the extensions that Choad noted (I use a simple weighted harness or towel) we also do a fair amount of bridging work. I use an older maneuver called a “wrestlers bridge”. I look forward to being of service. In faith, Coach Davies

Two of the most productive I have used are:

  1. A football helmet with a pipe attached to the top. The lie on a bench. Raise to the front, roll then raise to each side and finally lie face down and raise to the rear. As you get stronger, you can added weight to the pipe. (Dear Editor…This could be a great article with pictures and everything)
  2. Using a trusted partner have them provide resistances through all four planes of movement.