T Nation

Neck Work


What do you guys do to get a big, strong neck? I'm tired of having a pencil neck.


Get yourself a neck harness.


Pretty recent article on here, http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/how_to_build_a_powerful_neck

Done it twice on the med ball, quite liked it

If you dont have a harness, tie a t shirt or a towel to a dumbbell, bite it and pull.


Fuck a neck harness.

Learn to do some really heavy shrugs with no straps and report back if you still have a small neck.

I am actually not against a neck harness...but that is only to further strengthen the sternoclediomastoids in priority...the traps (which make up more of the neck) still grow most from heavy shrug work or pulling.


At 5'10" and 160 pounds, gaining 25 pounds or so should help. I'd work on that first.

You're already very strong, based on the lifts you mentioned in another thread, so get your eating in line. Make sure you're getting enough total calories from protein, carbs, and fats.


This completely.

They don't make 170lbs'ers with 20" necks.


I like wrestlers bridge but I guess that would be an issue for some of the real big guys, (prof was like 300lb last time I was here, and that is REAL BIG lol)

That and heavy shrugs, deads and high rep neck harness changed my neck a lot.



Nice to see you.

It's been a while. Down under 270 now.


Neck harness for direct neck work. I go with Wendler's suggestion of high reps and avoiding being a "neck harness hero" by ramping up the weights too heavy. I train 100 reps with a 50lb dumbell at the end of my squat day.

For traps, the best contributer I have is mat pulls, touch and go.


You look leaner in your avi man, nice work.

Pwnisher, could you elaborate on mat pulls? Not sure what you mean, deadlift off blocks?


Neck bridges same pretty much as wrestlers bridge.. Also you can do dumbell press or barbell press in neck bridge position once you have the strength


Weight resisted blow jobs


You have a dedicated training partner.


Like deadlift off blocks, but mats instead of blocks. I use some rubber patio tiles I got from a hardware store for the effect. I wrote up about the whole thing here


Also, I remembered that I've been seeing some trap growth with doing band dislocations each night. Something I've been doing recently due to some shoulder pain.


I have increased my neck size by inches by doing the following every day:

Neck harness with band (set a band low down and attach the harness to the band, then nod away - contract hard at the top) - 100 reps in as few sets as possible.
Neck plate curls (lie with head off bench, plate on forehead and touch chin to chest) - 100 reps in as few sets as possible.
Band face pulls - 50 reps in as few sets as possible.

Training should obviously consist of trap/shoulder/upperback work.

The secret to training neck like mentioned above is not to think of it as training, rather just get into the habit of doing this before bed like you would clean your teeth. If you have a short neck, specific training for the neck probably isn't necessary, weight gain + trap work will be enough. However, if like me, you have a longer neck (which accentuates the pencil neck look) this high frequency neck work can really make a huge difference. I got the ideas for this from Mike 'the machine' Bruce and Johnny Pain of Strength Villain.
Hope you find this useful.


How exactly do you do shrugs X (or really anyone who actually has traps ha)? I have tried numerous different ways and never really see any effect. At one point I was shrugging 405 for sets of 5 with a 1 second hold, tried the same for sets of 10 with no hold, tried 225 for sets of 20 with 3 second holds, tried barbell, trap bar, DB's, behind the back with a smith and shrugs never really did much for my traps. I have been experimenting with Snatch grip High pulls lately and actually and actually am seeing much more rapid growth than with shrugs but I just keep thinking that I must be missing something with the shrugs.


I would have to get someone to tape me doing them...which is hard in a crowded gym that doesn't like video.

I hold the weight at peak contraction but the time spent there is variable.

I don't do sets of 5 though. I go pretty heavy but always at least 10 reps.


Yeah the sets of 5 was actually one of the last things I tried when high reps seemed to not be cutting it. I had always heard that traps should never be worked for sets of less than 10 but if it wasn't working I figured what the hell and experimented.


You use a barbell, trap bar, DB's, or Smith??


Started doing them with a barbell and static holds. We used to just work on getting our strength up.

I now use a hammer Strength shrug machine for all the work I do....and that is more than enough.

It is one body part that if I trained it any more than I do, it would grow out of proportion. I had to stop training traps when I was riding my motorcycle because it was hindering how high I could hold my head up on the bike.