Why strengthen the neck?
In street fights, the neck is often targeted first, with choking and head strikes being common. A strong neck is important because:
- it protects you from choking techniques,
- it helps prevent head injuries (when experiencing sudden impact, it prevents the head from hitting the ground/wall due to inertia),
- it prevents neck injuries (sprains, dislocations, fractures),
- and it helps combat cervical osteochondrosis (prevention and posture improvement).
Indirectly, the neck is involved in many exercises. However, if you want to speed up the process, there are specific exercises for it.
Warm-up: It's important to mention warm-ups - always warm up before training the neck by doing rotations, turns, and tilts at least 10-15 times.
Comprehensive home training for all neck muscles
METHOD 0: the classic method available anytime, anywhere
This method is performed using your hands and can be done anywhere. At the beginner stage, this is probably the best option. The principle is the same as with any other muscle group - perform the exercise until you can do a maximum of 15 repetitions. This way, the neck muscles will grow. With this approach, the risk of injury is minimal.
Training the posterior neck muscles (extensors)
METHOD 1: on the floor
The simplest way to train the neck is on the floor, starting from a supine position and transitioning into a wrestler's bridge. Initial position:
Then, lift the torso using the back and neck extensor muscles:
Adding complexity: place a weight plate from a barbell or any other weight on your chest and hold it with your hands.
METHOD 2: Neck extensor training with a head harness
For this method, you need a special device (also called a "head harness"):
You can buy one or make it yourself by taking a cap and sewing two sturdy straps to its sides. The ends of the straps should have a mechanism to attach a weight plate, kettlebell, or dumbbell.
You can also ask your training partner to hold your head, thus lifting your head with effort.
Training the anterior neck muscles
METHOD 1: on the floor, head support in a pillow
This exercise involves an inverted wrestler's "bridge" with your face down. Perform forward and backward head tilts and (for home training of the neck's lateral muscles, which will be discussed further) circular movements to the left and right.
Pressing your toes and forehead into the floor, roll to the top of your head and back.
METHOD 2: US Navy SEAL neck training
This method is extremely simple, and to perform it, you need to lie on your back, holding your head in the air and doing a lift:
Head lift while lying down
In the following video, the training for the anterior and lateral neck muscles is demonstrated.
METHOD 3: with weights on a bench
To train the front neck muscles, you can use weights and a bench. Everything is extremely simple here, as can be seen in the picture.
Training the lateral neck muscles
METHOD 1: on the floor
The starting position is the same as in the training of the front neck muscles, leaning on the forehead and toes into the floor. Perform swaying from side to side, due to the movement of the neck.
METHOD 2: lying on your side
You need to lie on your side, keeping your neck suspended. To make the exercise more challenging, it is convenient to use a barbell plate as additional weight. Raise and lower your head.
METHOD 3: described above - from the US Navy SEALs:
When you reach level 80
Once you've developed your neck muscles, you'll be able to do this:
That's it.Photo by Alesia Kozik: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-in-black-shirt-holding-a-ball-7289821/