Adam Harder – @AHard779
Just as the title suggests, I am here to tell you that, yes, EVERY athlete can benefit from having a stronger neck. Having a strong neck can do a couple of things for any athlete. First, it is going to help with a good posture. Being able to have your neck in a neutral state brings the rest of the body in line, because wehre the head moves the body follows. Second, and this is a big one for younger athletes, it’s going to help prevent any serious neck injury or concussion. That’s right, I said it will help prevent a concussion. Now is it going to 100% keep you from getting one? No, but it sure is going to help. The reasoning behind this is that if your neck stays in a stable position while getting hit in the head then your head is falling all over the place with your brain bouncing around in your skull like a pinball machine. So when all of these college and professional level athletes are neglecting their neck work, it’s putting them at a huge risk to lose their spot or job.
Let’s touch on the whole posture thing for a second here. How many times in your life have you heard to have a good posture? Probably a lot, right? Starting from when you are young all through school they try and teach proper posture and all of these instagram accounts out there talk about fixing it as well. In order to have a great posture you’ve got to start at the top and work down. So why wouldn’t you start with your neck? It is one of the easiest things to train, but yet the most over looked muscle group in the body. Most people don’t even understand how it could help you. Let’s say you are setting up for a huge deadlift right? Going for that PR, and you drop your head down and look at the ground. Now MOST of us know that this is poor form, but do we know why? Having your head looking down or looking towards the ceiling you are putting yourself at a great risk for injury to your back and neck by putting that strain there. Also it is pulling you out of position on your deadlift by putting your shoulders out over the bar, which will most likely be the cause in missing that PR because for every inch your shoulders are over the bar, you lose about 10 lbs.
Now injury prevention. Having any athlete with a weak neck is a scary situation. Parents and coaches PLEASE have your kids strengthen their necks, it’s a very simple thing to do and very easy to overlook. Parents and athletes are all scared of getting a dreaded concussion and most want to look into better helmets and a softer landing surface. Both of which will help but aren’t here yet. So in the mean time: TRAIN YOUR NECK!
Now that we have gone over the why, let’s go over the how. I am sure most of you don’t know how to properly train your neck and I want to start this by saying to start training it lightly. Too much strain on your neck mixed in with your other lifts can leave you vulnerable for injury. Most gyms in America have a 4 way neck machine but most people either don’t see it or don’t know how to use it.
I would recommend putting a 5-10pound plate on and doing all 4 ways for 15 reps 2 sets all the way through. Your neck will be plenty tired.
Another exercise that can be done almost anywhere as long as you’ve got a semi soft surface is a neck bridge, both forward and backward.
Starting out trying to make it to :30 seconds should be enough for most of you. You can use this as a stretching tool also. Wrestlers do this every day and have some of the strongest necks out there!
So there you have it folks, reasons why, and a how to on training your neck.
For more articles like this, click here!