Here’s a question for anyone with experience in neck injuries or with a good knowledge of the spine. I currently use an Ironmind head harness for working the back of my neck. You can view it here: http://www6.mailordercentral.com/ironmind/prodinfo.asp?number=1232 (I use the 4-way neck machine for the front). As with anything, I lift relatively heavy (about 3-sets of 8). For me, that means about 3 sets of 8 with 80lbs hanging off my head. My neck is getting stronger, so the weight is going to continue going up. I am not having any problems with my neck & the only soreness I get from it is good ol’ muscle soreness. When I do the lift, I lean forward and squat a little with my hands on my knees for support while keeping my back straight.
My concern is this:
When doing any variation of deadlifts, it is common knowledge that you must maintain natural alignment in your spine to avoid injury. When using the neck harness, this isn’t possible. You have to bend your spine in order to complete a rep. There’s just no way around it. I’m a little worried that one day I’m going to hear a POP and one of my discs is going to shoot out of the back of my neck and put someone’s eye out across the room. Am I worrying over nothing?
Any advice would be appreciated. I would also like any input from anyone else currently using a head harness for neck strength and your thoughts on lifting form, etc.
I’ve used a neck harness from Iron Mind for many years now. I train with it as you have described. And…I have not yet had a disc blow out the back of my neck and put someones eye out.
Two things to remember when you are training with a neck harness:
-There is no need to use extremely heavy weights. You stated that you current perform 3x8 with 80lbs. I would strongly recommend that you stay in the 12 to 20 rep range. Your neck will grow from this trust me. And you will help keep your neck healthy as well. There is always a temptation to hang great amounts of weight off your head once you have been training a while. My advice is DON’T DO IT. Stick with reps of no less than 10 that you can perform without straining. In other words leave at least 2 reps on the back burner.
-Be very careful about the “track” that your neck is taking as you do your reps. I have seen some people run into trouble by getting out of their “zone” with the neck harness. In other words, if you are comfortable in the bent over position that you described with your hands on your legs for balance, make sure that you stay in that position. Don’t assume that simply because you’ve been training your neck that you can perform any movement with that same amount of weight.
By all means attempt other motions if you like, but start out light as if you are a beginner.
You are correct in being cautious about using the neck harness. But if you use your head (pun intended) you won’t have any problems.