Training your neck is a very over looked and underappreciated thing. With benefits from being more attractive to warding off arthritis, neck training is something you should implement into your life as soon ass possible.
Benefits of Training Your Neck
Good posture is becoming harder to find and is very important for overall health & attractiveness. Strengthening the neck muscles will naturally tighten it and support the skull, improving your natural posture and making it easier to stand & sit up straight. This will help to prevent a forward or ‘gamer’ neck that many people are now developing.
This is also one of the reasons we get shorter as we age. The neck muscles deteriorate and our posture slowly slouches forward, taking off a couple inches of our height. Fixing our posture would make us taller,
Larger necks are naturally more attractive & give a more pleasing aesthetic to the body. Men with thinner necks look more goofy while those with larger necks always just look better.
The neck of supermodel Jordan Barrett.
The photo on the left is the original, and the right is photo-shopped to have a thinner neck. The thicker neck looks better while the right gives the man a nerdier, more goofy look.
Here’s a comparison of the ‘sexiest mug shot ever’. The photo on the left is photo-shopped to have a thinner a neck and the right is the original. The only difference between the two is the neck.
Here is actor DJ Qualls, the left being his actual neck and the right him photo-shopped to have a larger, more filled out neck.
Actor Channing Tatum, the left being the original and the right photo-shopped to have a smaller neck.
Even Vitruvian man, the apex of male development has a thick neck.
So why is it attractive? Well my theory is that it is another artifact of our primitive years. The neck & trap muscles have a very high sensitivity to androgens, in fact a rapid increase or absurd size of the neck & trap muscles is a tell-tale sign of a steroid user. This makes them a good indicator of a man’s testosterone levels and everything that comes with that such as confidence, strength, and fertility. Men with larger necks would have had a higher survivability and therefore be a better mate. These men would likely have good genetics as well as larger & strong bodies, a sign that they would be able to provide & protect a woman as well as producing offspring with a high chance of surviving.
This graph shows the naturally thicker neck of men due to higher testosterone & adrogenic hormones.
In addition to it’s symbolism of high testosterone & therefore masculinity, survivability, and fertility, it could be inferred that men with large necks also engaged in more fighting and exerting themselves physically, a further symbolism of his ability to protect, provide, and survive.
And in the end it just simply gives the body & head a more balanced look.
Health & Longevity
Strong neck muscles are important for supporting the skull, neck, and spine. Training them would allow for a much stronger structure with benefits throughout the body. It is estimated that every inch forward the head slumps, an additional 10 pounds of force is leveraged on the spine. Over time this causes irreversible damage to the spinal disks & vertebrae as well as creating compensatory habits like slouching & imbalanced shoulders & pecs. A forward neck completely imbalances the entire body, including changing the alignment of the spine, shoulders, and pelvis. This puts abnormal strain on muscles, joints, and tendons not just located in the spine. Proper posture & support of the neck/skull very important for warding off arthritis & other complications throughout the entire body.
The neck & skull are very susceptible to injury during impact. Concussions & neck strains have their roots in the neck where the injury is actually caused by the whiplash effect of an impact. Strengthening the neck muscles help support the spine & skull, vastly improving it’s structural integrity and preventing injury.
NFL players and MMA fighters train their neck specifically in addition to their normal training in order to prevent injury as well as reducing the chances of being KO’d in MMA. Car accidents and falls also serve many injuries due to whiplash. A collision at 8mph can issue 7 G’s of force and move your head 18 inches in a quarter of a second. The space shuttle Discovery is built to only handle 3 G’s of force. Neck training is important for preventing injuries in everyone, not just athletes.
How To Train Your Neck
When training your neck it is always important to stretch, start slow, and always be in control of the weight. The neck still has vertebrae and is easy to injury if you don’t have proper form or too much weight. Sets of 3 with 10-30 reps are what you want to aim for. The rep range is so high because too much weight & too little control can cause injury and wear out the spinal discs at a higher weight of say 8 reps.
Warm Up & Stretching
Warming up & stretching the neck muscles are very important for preventing injury or stiffness the next day, as well as working the neck muscles itself. You can make a calisthenic workout for your neck by doing these for an increased duration. These stretches are also good to do periodically throughout the day to keep it well oiled & flexible. A few minutes of neck rotations, lateral rotation, flexion, and lateral flexion will prepare your neck for resistance and give it a pretty good pump.
- Neck Rotations are rotating your head in a circular & semi-circular movement, periodically changing direction to avoid dizziness.
- Lateral Rotation is simply looking side to side.
- Flexion is moving your chin towards your chest and the back of your head to your back.
- Lateral Flexion is stretching your ear towards your shoulder.
Be sure to do these slowly to avoid injury and make sure you’re engaging your neck muscles. You’ll want to wear a hat or wrap a towel around your head as the plates can be rough on the skin and hair.
Lay on your back on a bench with your head hanging over the edge. Lightly hold a plate to your head and curl your head forward, tucking your chin into your chest.
Lay down on your stomach on a bench and hold the plate over the back of your head. Tuck your head down and extend your head backwards. It might be difficult to stay balanced so try wrapping your legs under the bench or using something to balance you like a backpack.
Lay on your side on a bench with your bottom shoulder & head hanging off. Use your bottom arm to stabilize yourself on the ground while holding a plate or dumbbell on the side of your head. Stretch your ear to your shoulder just like the stretch, only with weight now.
Exercises that work your trap & deltoid muscles will also have an acute effect on neck size & strength.
At advanced levels, neck training can become tedious and dangerous with heavier weights. If you still want to further develop your neck after making quite a bit of progress or just to work it more efficiently, you may want to consider a neck harness. A neck harness is just a harness that goes around your head that you can attach weight to so you have a wider variety of exercises & exercise more efficiently. I recommend the Neck Flex as it is more advanced in it’s design & implements compared to a regular neck harness, though a regular one or none at all will still work.
*traditional harness compared to neck flex
The harness is basically like a whole workout machine for your neck so it can be expensive however the neck flex does come with more hooks, a chain, resistance bands, and a door anchor so you are able to workout from your home with ease. The exercises are generally the same motions, now you can just do them in different positions & angles. You can buy the Neck Flex at theneckflex.com and with that I bid Adieu.