If there is one single part of the body which deserves the title of ‘most neglected’, it’s the neck. And, the crazy thing about it is, unless you wear thick turtle neck sweaters bulked out with padding constantly (and I’m sure you don’t…) then your neck is on display, all the time… so why not turn it into yet another feature to be proud of?
A thick, bull-neck is impressive: a man with a little twig neck, unfortunately, looks weak. And, a big hulking body with an underdeveloped neck looks even stranger. Having a strong neck not only impresses the ladies, and causes guys to thick twice before looking at you boss-eyed, but it is a great safety mechanism to protect your spine. Why do you think boxers have such large, strong necks? – Because they are protection for the general fragility of the brain and spine.
Ok, so we’ve established the why, now for the what.
Training the neck is very simple, and, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you build both strength and size in your neck – and once you do, you’ll wonder why you neglected this muscle to begin with.
There are two muscles you need to hit in the neck, those at the back, used when you lift your head skyward, and, the sterno-mastoid muscles at the side which are used when you dip your head forward and which give your neck width.
To work the muscles at the back of the neck, simply lay face down on a flat bench, with your neck hanging over the edge, and, placing a weight plate (I started out using a 10lb plate) on the back of your head, holding it with your hands, going through a full range of motion lift your head back, squeezing at the top, and lower it again. I do this exercise for 12 reps, for 3 sets – and it is a killer, believe me.
Now, for the side muscles. Simply repeat the above technique, only this time you will be laid on your back, lifting your head forward until your chin touches your chest, and squeeze, and then slowly lower. Again, 12 reps for 3 sets are what I tend to do.
Tip: use a towel or rag to cushion the weight on your head.
The neck should be worked out around twice a week, leaving plenty of time for it to recuperate and grow in between. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself walking around like a whip-lash victim for a day or so afterwards – just smile and know you’re on the way to building a powerful neck.