Neck Training Guide

The following article was written by user ‘Neck Brah’

What can neck training do for you?

Here are some comparison pictures to show how big of a difference having a thicker neck can make to your overall appearance.

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Here is Rugby Union player Tom May who of course has a massive neck from rugby training. The pic on the right has been made to look smaller, he looks less robust and masculine with a smaller neck.

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Do all of the 3 different movements (extension, flexion, lateral) and work on progressively overloading (adding weight and/or reps over time) and your neck should grow quite fast, especially if it has not been trained previously.

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Flexion-Extension

The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) has the largest moment arm (best leverage) for neck flexion, while the superior and middle trapezius fibers have the largest moment arms for neck extension. The splenius capitus and semispinalis capitus also display good leverages for neck extension.

Lateral Bending

The muscles with the best leverages for neck lateral flexion are the anterior scalenes and SCM. The middle scalenes and levator scapulae also possess significant lateral bending capacity.

The 4th movement can only really be completed if you have access to a cable machine or bands.

Rotation

The superior and middle trapezius, sternocleidomastoid and semispinalis capitis sub-regions were the greatest contributors to contralateral (opposite side) axial rotation, while the rectus capitis posterior major, obliquus capitis inferior and splenius capitis were the greatest contributors to ipsilateral (same side) axial rotation.

When doing neck work in general (harness or bridges) you will probably need to wear a beanie or a hoodie as it will feel like the hairs on your head are being pulled out if you’re not wearing one.

All 3 movements are completed in the video below.

To do the lateral (side) movements you can also lay sideways on a bench like in the video below or a couch if training at home. You can use a cable machine if you are training at the gym.

If you feel the harness is going to slip off your head when doing the lateral motion, use the hand you’re not laying on to lightly hold the harness.

1-3 WORKING sets, Do a few light warm up sets beforehand.

  • Extension 1-3 sets        8-12 reps
  • Flexion 1-3 sets           15-25 reps
  • Lateral 1-3 sets           15-25 reps
  • Rotation 1-3 sets         15-25 reps

2 of the best neck harnesses available on the market:

Highly recommend Senshi Japan equipment, really cheap but amazing quality:

Neck Bridges

If you don’t have a neck harness you can do neck bridges. For extra resistance you can hold a weight plate on your chest when you find doing it with your body weight too easy. You will probably need to wear a beanie or have some padding on the floor when doing these.

Isometrics

These can also be done against a wall, put some padding on the wall like a pillow or towel if it hurts your head. Do these combined with neck bridges, so do your neck bridges first then do isometrics last.

Neck harness work is superior, it may take longer to build a large neck doing bridges and iso’s due to it being very awkward to progressive overload. With that being said its better than nothing.

Movements for forward head posture

Movements that will strengthen the smaller neck muscles that help prevent forward head posture.

You basically just have to mimic the movement in the video below, and here are the different ways of doing this movement. Pick one you find best.

4 options:

  • Can be done with resistance bands
  • With a neck harness attached to a cable machine
  • Neck harness with a free weight and slightly bending over
  • with a neck harness & free weight laying face first on a bench like in the gif below

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