How many people do you know who train their neck directly? And no, we are not talking about stimulating neck muscles through exercises such as deadlifts, and definitely not the stretching you can do after working out shoulder or back
Why should you train your neck?
Bringing up the topic of neck training is almost as weird as seeing a well-performed squat. And it’s not only newbies or “weekend gym goers” that forget about the neck. No. Even the most experienced coaches and high-performance athletes leave neck work exercises out of their training routines, either out of fear, because they consider it unnecessary, or simply because they consider that it is not worth the effort if the results go unnoticed.
And this is the case until the day comes along when, suddenly, they suffer a neck injury
The neck region is made up of more than a dozen convoluted muscles that spread out on top of each other, working in symphony to ensure correct head movement and stability , as well as being actively involved in shoulder movement and breathing. And let’s not forget, that as far as aesthetics are concerned, an attractive and worked out neck gives that final touch to a slim and toned body.
It is also important to bear in mind that the neck and cervical spine connect your brain to the rest of your body. Considering how important this is, we can safely say that the muscle mass that protects this is definitely not the most voluminous of all
Advantages of having a stronger neck
- Nerve impulses that run from the brain through the spinal cord can be affected by damaged, weak, or fatigued neck muscles. This can decrease static and dynamic balance, as well as basic locomotor movements. This means that working the neck muscles correctly can contribute to an improvement in balance and locomotion.
- On the subject of head workouts, having strong jaw muscles can also reduce the risk of injury.
- Believe it or not, the strength of the neck also has an impact on the respiratory system and the quality of our breathing. The scalene muscles (anterior, middle, and posterior), along with the platysma or cutaneous muscle of the neck and the sternocleidomastoid muscles, contract and assist in breathing, especially during particularly demanding exercise routines or activities
5 short and simple exercises to strengthen your neck
1. Face down lateral raise with disk
- Lie face down on a flat bench with your whole body resting on it, while holding a weight disc behind your head. You should position yourself so that your shoulders are slightly above the end of the bench, so that your face, neck and upper chest are not in contact with the bench. This is the starting position.
- As you hold the disk behind your head , slowly lower your head as if you were going nod, and breathe in as you do this.
- Next, lift your head back up into the starting position, while you breathe out. Hold the position for a second.
- Do 3 sets of 15 reps, resting 60 seconds between reps.
- You can also choose to do the exercise without additional weight at first, using your body weight
2. Face-up lifts with disk
- Lie on your back with your whole body resting on a flat bench, while holding a disk above your forehead. Position yourself on the bench so that your head and neck are suspended in the air. In other words, hanging off of the bench. This is the starting position.
- As you continue to hold the disk above you, slowly lower your head back in a semi-circular motion, while breathing in.
- Raise your head to the starting position in a semi-circular motion, while breathing out, and hold the position for a second.
- Do 3 sets of 15 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets.
- You can also choose to do the exercise without additional weight at first, using your own body weight.
3. Seated Head Harness
- Put on a neck harness with your weight already selected at the end of a flat bench, and sit at that same end with your feet positioned at a wider angle than your shoulders. Your toes should be pointing outwards.
- Slowly move your body forward, until it is almost parallel with the ground. With both hands, securely place the neck harness around your head. Make sure the weights are still lying on the floor to avoid any strain or injury to your neck. Now grab the weight with both hands as you move your body back, leaving it almost perpendicular in its position with relation to the ground. Keep in mind that both the head and the back must be slightly tilted forward to perform this exercise.
- Now place both hands on top of your knees. This is the starting position.
- Slowly lower your neck down until your chin touches your upper chest, while breathing in.
- As you breathe out, bring your neck back to the starting position.
- Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.
4. Isometric side bending
- With your head and neck in a neutral position (standing, head upright facing forwards), place your left hand on the left side of your head.
- Gently push to the left as you contract the neck muscles. You must be using the force of strength from your neck, while your hand is simply there to provide resistance. Start with gentle pressure, and slowly build it up as you do the exercise. As you make this contraction, continue to breathe normally.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds.
- Soften the tension slowly and rest 45 seconds.
- Repeat the same process, now placing the right hand on the right side of the head and tightening the neck muscles on the right side.
- Do 3 sets of 20 seconds on each side, alternating, and resting 45 seconds between sets.
5. Front and back isometric exercise
- With your head and neck in a neutral position (standing, head upright facing forward), place both hands on the front of your head.
- Gently push forward by contracting your neck muscles, stopping head movement by using your hands as resistance. Start with gentle pressure and build it up slowly. As you do this contraction, continue to breathe normally.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds.
- Gradually release pressure and rest 45 seconds.
- Repeat the same action, now placing your hands on the back of your head and tensing your neck muscles at the back.
- Do 3 sets of 20 seconds at the front, and another 3 at the back, alternating between them and rest 45 seconds between sets.
- Best Exercises for Quadriceps
- Best Exercises for Forearms
- Exercises for glutes
- Exercises for Weight Loss