Having a thick neck isn’t just purely for aesthetic purposes. Strong neck muscles are useful in many grappling sports like wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Anytime an opponent pulls on your head or tries to push it down, you resist their force by using all of the muscles in your neck. This includes resisting a muay-thai clinch in a mixed martial arts fight.
There are many workouts like shrugs and high pulls that work the neck muscles secondarily, but there are very few that stimulate them as the primary target group. Although not commonly performed , there actually are strength training exercises that focus your neck muscles directly.
Here are three strength training exercises that will directly workout the muscles in your neck:
1) Lying Face Down Plate Neck Resistance
This exercise is very similar to hyper extensions, except it focuses on your neck. Lie face down on a flat bench with your upper chest, shoulders, and head hanging off the edge. Hold a weight behind your head with both hands firmly grasped to it. Inhale and lower your head while holding onto the weight. Then exhale as you bend your neck upward slightly above one hundred and eighty degrees. Be careful not to make sudden movements; this is not meant to be an explosive workout. Perform this exercise slowly and maintain good form.
2) Lying Face Up Neck Plate Resistance
Lie down on a bench with your face up and securely hold a weight on top of your forehead. Make sure your shoulder blades are just slightly above the bench so your neck is hanging off the edge. Inhale and slowly lower your head as far as you can while firmly grasping the weight. Exhale as you come up, and try to touch your chin to your chest. Be sure to have a secure grip on the weight the entire time. Do not make sudden movements. This exercise should be done very slowly.
3) Seated Head Harness Neck Resistance
As silly as this looks, it’s a great way to build strength in your neck. Have a seat at the edge of a flat bench with your feet shoulder-width apart in front of you. Attach a weight to the head harness and put it onto your head correctly. Place your hands on your knees and straighten your back while leaning forward to a forty-five degree angle. Inhale as you lower your head, and exhale as you contract it upward. Your back should be stationary while doing this. Don’t make sudden movements; this exercise should be done very slowly. There’s a weight hanging from your neck attached by a chain. Moving fast could be very dangerous.