There are many reasons why you would want to increase the strength and muscle mass within your neck.
You might want to take part in contact sports like rugby, American football, wrestling, mixed martial arts, you might need to for rehabilitation to an injury you sustained or just to be in proportion to the rest of your body.
Whatever your reasons we have found 7 amazing exercises to help build the muscles within your neck.
The muscles within your neck are not like the other muscle around your body. The other muscles within your body are able to create compound movements with agonist and antagonist muscles.
The neck is exceptional which means one of the best form of training is Isometric Exercises
Always start with neck stretches before doing any resistance training on your neck. Flexion stretch bending the head downward, toward the floor. It is important your posture is straight and correct. In a normal range of motion, only apply enough pressure until you feel the muscle stretch in the back of your neck. Lateral stretch tilting of the head, moving your ears toward your shoulders is the movement for this stretch. Make sure you keep looking straight forward and keep your back straight with good posture.
2. Isometric neck exercise to the side
Place your right hand on the right side of you head and apply pressure towards your head forcing the muscles on the right side of your neck to engage. Hold for 20-30 second and switch side.
3. Face-up plate neck resistance
Lie down on a flat bench with your shoulders resting evenly on the bench. While in this position, hold a plate on your forehead and slowly raise your neck up whilst pulling your chin towards your chest. Slowly lower your head to a neutral position not allowing your head to over extend and fall backwards.
4. Face-down plate neck resistance
Lie down on a flat bench with your shoulders even and your chest flat on the bench. While in this position, hold a plate behind your head and slowly lower your head down as far as you can go. Raise your head up slowly back into a neutral position making sure your ears are inline with your shoulders, make sure you do not go any further than this and repeat this movement with your chosen amount of repetition.
5. Trapezius exercise (Shrugs)
Shrugs are a staple when it comes to strengthening the muscles around your neck as they work your traps and your shoulders effectively. Also, shrugs can be performed with either dumbbells or a barbell – so there’s really no excuse not to do them!
i. Stand up straight and tall with a dumbbell in each hand.
ii. Lift the dumbbells by elevating the shoulders as high as possible while you exhale. Hold the contraction at the top for a second. Repeat if needed.
ii. Lower the dumbbells back to the original position once you have completed your set.
6. Neck rotation
Stand up straight and tall. Place both hand on the side of your head with your elbow pointing outwards. Turn your head to the side, trying to look over your shoulder. Do this both ways providing resistance with your hand.
Do 8-10 reps each way for three sets.
7. Assisted neck isometric to the side, front and back.
This is a very good strength building exercise for your neck. We do recommend doing some form of resistance training on your neck before attempting the following exercises. You will need a training partner who is capable of holding your bodyweight.
Rest your head on you partner’s hand and lean your body towards them. Make sure your weight is shifted to your partners hand and the resistance is on your neck. Have your partner walk backwards away from you making your body lean at an angle. The further your partner walks away from you the greater the resistance will be. Try and hold this exercise for at least 1 minuets on each side.