T Nation

Neck work

Any one know of any ways to work the neck muscles using forms of resistance? Neck bridges seem just OK because there is no way to increase resistance.


Lie on your back or your side and while resting a plate on your forehead (wrap it w/ a towel) ‘curl’ your neck. Never done it, but I’ve seen it done.

You can increase the resistance of neck bridges by having someone sit on your chest or holding a weight while bridging.

Rubberman, I love that exercise! I do it on “off days” when I work abs, calves and a lil cardio. Right now I can pack about three 25 plates on my thick skull for about ten reps or so. Lata.

“MB Eric: THE Revolution in Evolution since the innovation of the primordial soup.”


Rubberman and MB Eric - I was looking for an exercise to strengthen the muscles in the back of the neck. The “pulling” muscles. Sorry, should have been more specific.


Lie on the hamstring curl machine backwards, with your head under the place where your calves usually go. Lift. Yes, people will look at you funny, but it works very well.

Then do the same thing, except lie on your stomach and put the plates on the back of your head!

Go down to your local body piercing shop and asked to get your earlobes pierced with 2 gauge surgical steel hoops. Then without hesitation go to your local sporting goods store and grab a couple of 20 lb dumbbells, figure out a way to “dangle” them from your earlobes and your set! I’ve never tried this but I’ve seen it done. But what do you do if you want to keep your workout confined to the gym and you can’t get to the ham curl machine because it’s “buns” day for the local crew of chickenheads (it must be “Sex in the City” night). No sweat! Don’t limit your potentially powerfully neck muscles to just the ham curl machine. You can get a very similiar effect by just rolling a flat bench up to the smith machine. Just a wrap a towel around the bar or your head to avoid possible abrasions, position the bench about 12"-14" from the bar and all you have to do is select your desired weight and rep scheme. Obviously common sense dictates starting with the bar higher than the bench and an assist from a spotter. I’m amazed sometimes by the chances people take in the gym. It’s almost like they have no regard for there physical well-being and long term health. Thank god for sights like this!

Sorry for the prior response, I was not serious if anyone wonders. Just playing around. Maybe it’s my mood today but I must disagree with every single reply before my own. Nothing personal, just a friendly debate about what we all love to do. First, Rubberman-How can you suggest an exercise you have never tried??? And you even suggest a variation!!! That’s awesome. Bridging is actually something I’ve just undertaken with great results (check out Matt Furey’s Combat Conditioning book, it’s great and best of all it’s completely different and interesting). I’m not sure about the sitting on the chest thing, especially if you only bridge to the top of your head as opposed to your nose (again, Combat Conditioning). As far as the ham curl thing, um, geez, don’t do that. Look, I can’t find anything written by anyone anywhere supporting the methods previously espoused. I CAN find plenty of things written by tons of very qualified people urging people not to do movements of this type. Just search the net for about 30-45 minutes and I guarantee you will find the same things I did. The traps and levator scapulae are the muscles you want to focus on. Try shrugs, there are a lot of ways to do them and they hit those muscle groups very well. Just do them right and you should get results. Or maybe a good deadlifting routine for 3 or 4 weeks wouldn’t hurt. Or Powercleans? Just have someone who knows what they are doing teach you these if you are currently unfamiliar with them. My general personal feeling is that you don’t want or need to isolate the neck itself to make it massive. Using your head to push a weight or a machine part just seems, looks and feels uncomfortable and frankly that’s enough for me. Especially when I know there are other alternatives that will benefit other parts of my body as well. What about bridging,you say? Well, for anyone involved in a grappling sport or art you will quickly see the benefit of bridging. The stability and strength it adds is very noticeable, especially when your “rolling” with an opponent, I felt it after just 1 week of bridging “Furey style”. I’ll admit that at first I was very apprehensive but I’m now a believer, 94.36% (I’m still the worlds biggest skeptic and even when something works I still watch it like the Sphinx, ever doubting, waiting for it to fuck up, so 94.36% is like 100% for most people). I hope I didn’t offend anyone, well not really, but that was not my intent. I guess I just see the neck area as something you don’t fuck around with. If you give someone questionable advise on training biceps they’ll probably just get really sore or not feel a thing and blow off the advise. But the neck, no, that needs to be working well 24/7, no bout adout it. Hey, I used the ancient 4-way nautilus neck machine that was jammed in the corner (always the corner?) of seemingly every gym ever created by man. Funny, they throw out the power and squat racks and keep the 4-way neck machine and the geinocologists(SP?) table (or is it the thigh adductor/abductor machine, whatever…). Anyway, just figure out a way to get better at picking up heavy weight, hold it in your HANDS and move it through a properly predetermined range of motion, either in a controlled manner or ballistically (again,FORM!) and you’ll get a stronger,larger neck with your health intact.