T Nation

Thickening Neck


Has anyone had success thickening their neck via direct neck exercises?

I believe Ian King said it was a waste of time and that you'd be better off thickening your traps to give the illusion of a thicker neck.



Your traps run all the way up the back of your neck, and the sternocleidomastoids(SP?) are the muscles that form the long ridges up the front, training the traps makes your neck look bigger, cause they ARE your neck. Neck harnesses are useful for hitting both of these if you're trying to bring them up, but they aren't great for doing lateral exercises.


To be honest, in my experience that's just not true. If anything, it's much easier to fix a lagging neck than lagging traps. I put over an inch on my neck, from 16 to about 17.5, over the course of college with just a few sets of neck harness work, relatively high reps (10-15), twice a week, as a throw-in at the end of workouts. Would recommend buying one, they really do work. Got mine from a Canadian company called Grizzly Fitness, but Ironmind sells a decent one too I think. Wrestler's bridges or a four-way neck machine might also be worth trying.


Trap development is one of the easier things for me, and I've had decent traps for a while now. But also a skinny neck. I don't think they make a skinny neck look better, I think it's the opposite; a skinny neck makes your traps look better. But that's just if you have oddball development like me I guess.

A strong neck is very useful in things like wrestling and boxing, and I wouldn't mind one in football, either.

There's a lot of people who favor bridges over all other neck exercises, and sometimes to read what they say, you'd think the salvation of their souls or imminent violence was at stake.

Hell, I think you should do whatever you want that works. It's well worth it. It looks good, it's healthier, and safer.


I haven't been lifting for very long, (2 months), so I guess this is normal. I think my kneck has gotten thicker, or maybe its just the traps. Deadlifts did it.


Do this exercise.

(This is NOT a joke)

Lay on your bed with your head hanging off the edge. So it is dangling and you are looking upside down.

Make complete circles by lifting your at the peak of the exercise or top of a circle, your chin should be trying to touch your chest, and tehn the bottom of the cirlce your head should be in the resting postion.

I do it 15X3 each way (counter clockwise and clockwise)

I got this exercise froma football player i roomed with in college.

Have fun.


if you have nay neck problems to begin with or any contraindications, do not, I repeat do not do neck circles. I have been told by many PT's and found myself that if you have any existing conditions you do not want to do circular motion with the neck. you can however do the same exercise except lean on your left side raise head to the right, then so on lay on back raise head to chest. just my 2 cents BB


Buy the neck harness from Ironmind. I believed the "build the traps" line and all it did was....build the traps. My neck was still the same. If you look around very few have powerful "looking" neck. There are many a bodybuilder without a good neck....it takes away from the illusion.

Anyway, buy the Ironmind neck harness and use it at the end of your workout. The reps are up to you. I'm using the Waterbury method and just throw the neck exercise in at the end. 4x6 with a 2-3 second pause at the top.

You aren't able to do any lateral stuff but I haven't found the need. Be careful since your neck muscles have been neglected for so long they respond....and quick.


Your traps are a part of your neck.


I have also heard that any neck movements/exercises should involve front to back/back to front and side-to-side movement NOT circular.


Good post! I've been wondering about this for a while. I used to work my neck when I played football and wrestled (long time ago).

I have also heard that any neck movements/exercises should involve front to back/back to front and side-to-side movement NOT circular.


I train my neck specifically with a headstrap-and it measures about 21inches now. In my line of work I need a big neck for protection. I think my neck size came primarily from being a competitive powerlifter for almost 20 years. Now, due to lifestyle changes with having a family-I still train heavy but I do not use nearly as much/if any ephedrine/caffeine etc. When I start a workout and I feel sluggish-I will begin by doing strict neck harness with the dumbell hanging in front of me while I am seated evenly on a flat bench. A set or two with betwen 60 to 85 pounds for 12 to 20 reps really wakes me up naturally-without the need for chemicals.


I don't use a headstrap, only do shrugs for my traps and my neck is 20".


Are you moving front to back only or side to side as well??


My neck went from 16 inches to 20.5 inches over the years. I do a lot of trap work, but I had a lot of success with the 4-way neck machine.

Problem is that I eventually ran into trouble with disc damage. If your limbs start tingling, or if your arm or leg on one side become weaker than the other side, DROP THE NECK MACHINE.

The plate-loaded neck machines with a rotating arm that moves like a pendulum seem to have done more damage than the neck machines with a weight stack goes up and down. The pendulum dynamics are very peculiar: The resistance varies as you go through the movement, and varies wildly if you move too quickly.

My neck hasn't gotten any smaller since I stopped using the neck machine, but it isn't growing much, either, even though I still train my traps.

Whatever you try for growing your neck, be very conservative with it, and STOP if you exhibit any of the problems I mentioned above.


Wow... looks like my advise is bunk. Ignore my post. Sorry guys, didnt mean to post improper technique.


Get a really tight necklace! :wink:


I've often gotten compliments on my traps and about the closest thing to laughs out loud for my skinny neck.


Look up CT's Rapid Fire. He has a neck workout in it.



How much do you weigh?