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How to develop strong neck muscles

Updated on October 10, 2013
soconfident profile image

I am a fitness enthusiast who wants to help people see the benefits of personal fitness to allow people to live their lives to the fullest.


In the quest to obtain more muscle mass most people forget to work the neck, which leads to the “lollipop effect”. To obtain a full built look from head to toe you have to work out from head to toe (it’s not call a “full body workout” for nothing). A strong neck helps prevent neck pain and help absorb impact whether it’s a punch to the face, a car accident, etc.

Never use a weight that is overwhelming, this is your neck we’re talking about here. You want it to be challenging, but not challenging that you hurt yourself.

Before neck training

Before you begin with your neck training, the first thing you need to do is prepare your neck to move through full range of motion; this will activate the neck musculature and allow the cervical spine to that to move through a full ranges of motion. This can be achieved by performing static holds and stabilization exercises.

Neck exercises

The neck needs special attention if you expect to see results. Of your neck could get a workout be performing power cleans, heavy dead-lifts, and shrugs, which will only work the extensors, which is one of the four muscles groups in your neck.

Isometric neck exercise

This move is perfect for those who are just starting out training their neck.

  • · With your head in the neutral position (head up facing forward).
  • · Place both hands behind your head.
  • · Now gently push forward as you contract the neck muscles, but resisting any movement from your head.
  • · Slowly increase the tension and keep breathing normally as you execute contraction.
  • · Hold for a set amount to time and slowly release the tension then rest for a set amount of time.

The variation to this exercise would be to place your hands on the sides of your face one hand at a time.

Lying down plate neck resistance

  • · Lie face down with your whole body straight on a flat bench while holding a weight plate behind your head (your shoulders should be slightly above the end of the flat bench in order for the upper chest, neck, and face to be off the bench.
  • · With the plate secured on the back of your head slowly lower your head as you breathe in.
  • · Raise your head back up to the starting position in a semicircular motion as you breathe out and hold the contraction and repeat.

If you are a beginner you can start with no resistance; also this move can be done faced up.

Chin to chest stretch

This move also works the trap muscles as well as the neck.

  • · Get into in the seated position on the floor.
  • · Place both hands at the rear of your head with your fingers interlocked, thumbs down and elbow pointing straight ahead.
  • · Slowly pull your head sown to your chest and hold for 30 seconds.

Quick anatomy of the neck

The neck is made of four muscle groups

  • · Rotators- move the head from side to side as if to look over your shoulder
  • · Flexor- moves the head up and down as to drop the chin to chest
  • · Lateral flexor- tilt the head side to side as to touch the shoulder with the ear
  • · Extensors- tilt the head backward as if to look skyward

Trap muscles

Building strong traps help develop even stronger neck; this is because as mentioned before, the neck has four muscle groups, the rotators, flexors, lateral flexors, and extensors and the trap muscles are part of the extensors. You can work the traps be performing upright rows and every type of shrug exercise there is.

It’s going to take time to train the neck. It’s so important that you don’t go beyond your limits when training your neck; take your time and you’ll safety, but surely develop a powerful neck.


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    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      This was an interesting hub soconfident, a very creative topic. The neck is a lot like the forearms, unless your really into fitness/body building, most people really don't think about them. Thumbs up on your hub.