Showing posts with label neck muscles building. Show all posts
Showing posts with label neck muscles building. Show all posts
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Importance Of Neck Training For A Bodybuilder

neck training

Q: Is it important for bodybuilder’s to train the neck and, if so, what exercises are the best?

A: Yes, it is important for a well rounded physique to have a muscular neck. A thick neck, offset by huge sloping traps, is the epitome of raw power and manliness. A physique without good neck development is, quite simply, incomplete. Think of the last two Mr. Olympia’s – Coleman and Yates. Without thick, muscular necks they would not have been able to stand head and shoulders above the competition. Apart from the aesthetic appeal of a thick, strong neck, developing this area of your body can give you some major injury insurance. The effects of whiplash can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated entirely by the possession of a strong neck. In addition many of the nagging injuries picked up during training result from weak neck muscles. So, if you’re not incorporating neck training into your program, maybe it’s time you did.

So how can you go about building an impressive neck? Well, to develop the back of the neck, the old stand-by is the wrestler’s bridge. This is a great exercise that can be done anywhere as it incorporates bodyweight resistance only. However, you have to pay careful attention to what you’re doing as the risk of injury is quite high. Lie on the floor, facing up and bridge up on your head, raising your hips and arching your back. Lift your hands off the floor. Try to stay in this position for one minute, progressively increasing your time each workout.

An invaluable piece of equipment for building the neck is the neck harness. If your gym doesn’t have at least one of these, suggest that they correct that situation smartly. The neck harness has a cap that fits onto the head. Weights are attached to the harness. Get into position by bending at the knees with an arched back and resting your hands on your knees. Begin a repetition by bending your neck down to full extension and then lift back up to full contraction. Working from side to side will also work the sternomastoids, which give width to the neck.

Complete your neck work with body weight resistance neck extensions. Sit on a bench and, placing your hands on your forehead, slowly move your head from a position where you are looking up until your chin is resting on your chest. Keep constant tension throughout and keep your neck moving smoothly the entire time. Do 2 sets of 12 reps.

Finally, a bit of safety advice when it comes to neck training. The neck is a very vulnerable body part and safety should be a prime concern at all times. For this reason it is suggested that your neck workouts be done on your non-weight training days, perhaps before your cardio sessions. Make sure that you don’t do any sudden, jerky movements when training neck. Always have a smooth, slow execution of movement, concentrating on the feel of the target muscle. Go through a full range of motion on all exercises. This is especially important with regard to the harness exercises. Finally do some specific stretching exercises for the neck as a precursor to your resistance workout.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Neck Training

The neck is a body part which is viewed constantly, and a key to support strength for many popular compound movements. Despite this importance, it’s often overlooked even by experienced bodybuilders, who either aren’t aware of its significance or don’t know how to train it.  Let’s address a few frequently asked questions regarding the neck and neck training.

Why should I train the neck?
The neck should be trained for several reasons.  The most important reason is to help avoid injuries. When you consider the intense workload you place on the back and chest, muscle groups directly connected to the neck, it seems maddening that one would completely neglect this adjacent muscle group.  Additionally, we’ve all heard the term “pencil-neck geek” used to describe the look of a skinny person with a very thin neck.  Contrast that with the look of boxer “Iron” Mike Tyson or bodybuilder Jeff Long, who both sported very thick and muscular necks, and you begin to realize the level of power and thickness that a well-developed neck can exude.  The neck cannot be hidden in the way that one can keep poor calves out of sight in pants, or hide underdeveloped abs in a tank top.  A weak neck shows constantly.

What do we know about the structure of the neck?
The neck is comprised of a swirling network of small, thin muscles.  These include the erector spinae, splenius capitis, semispianalis cercisis, sternocleidomastois, and the trapezius.  From this list, the trapezius is probably the only muscle group with which bodybuilders may be familiar.  Each of these muscles works to extend the neck and head in different directions. These muscles don’t possess the propensity to gain much size, but they do possess the ability to gain a bit.  A fraction of an inch on each of these muscles will add up to a great deal of muscle perception to the eye of the beholder.

 How do I train the neck?
Obviously the trapezius should already be a staple in your training routine.  Barbell shrugs (with the barbell gripped both in front of the body, and behind the back) are remarkably effective for stimulating the trapezius and hitting all of the neck muscles with a rush of blood to some extent.  Dumbbell shrugs work as well.  Manual plyometric resistance is also very helpful for the neck.  Placing your hands on your forehead, side of head or back of head, apply resistance and move neck in different directions.  Additionally, the neck harness works as a substitute for manual resistance, and allows for an additional workload.

What should my neck training protocol be like?
All neck exercises should always be performed in a slow, controlled motion.  Any “jerking” can result in a range of maladies, ranging from a minor neck strain (which could derail chest back training for a week) to a serious neck injury requiring surgery, which could sideline your gym efforts for weeks or months.  Always warm up, move through movements slowly, and use moderate weights and medium reps, in the 8 to 15 range.  Low repetitions (3 to 9) mean you’re using too heavy of a weight, which can lead to injury.