Whether you’re training for a particular sport, or merely for the purpose of getting a stronger, bigger neck, the fact remains that it’s much better to have a strong neck than a weak one – not just for the superior appearance but for safety reasons for life in general. Gaining neck strength and size is actually quite straightforward as the neck muscles can be targeted quite accurately, unlike many muscles.
Rather than give you advanced neck training methods the beginner may find themselves out of their depth with, I have 2 basic exercises to share with you to help you build up some good strength.
Rear of the neck plate raises:
Firstly, the rear of the neck is actually the trapezius, and is the strongest part of the neck responsible for pulling the head backwards. You work this part of the neck like so:
Lay down on your stomach on a flat bench, with your neck overhanging the end of the bench. Have a training partner hand you a weight plate (I recommend you try a small plate first) which you will hold on the back of your head with both hands.
Carefully, lower your head almost as you are attempting to touch your chin onto your chest and then raise up as far back as possible whilst holding the plate in place.
Repeat for desired repetitions.
Side of the neck plate raises:
These muscles are the sternocleidomastoid muscles and serve to move the head forwards and rotate the head and are situated at the sides of the neck, giving it width.
The exercise to hit these muscles is simply the reverse of the one mentioned above, the only difference being you lay on your back and this time have the plate on your forehead instead. Most people find this exercise more difficult due to the naturally lower levels of strength in this position, so it’s advised trainees do this exercise first while they are still fresh, and work the rear of the neck afterwards.
Neck training is very tough and you should expect to be pretty sore and stiff in the coming days. You may even feel a little light headed whilst performing neck training due to the amount of muscular activity so close to the brain and the repeated movements of the head.
Start out light and slowly build up to avoid any unnecessary injuries by attempting too much too soon.