What is the most neglected area of the body? Without a doubt, it has to be theneck. The neck acts as a shock absorber to prevent injury. It enables the athlete to literally use his head. Football players, wrestlers, boxers and other athletes know the importance of a powerful neck. How come bodybuilders neglect this muscle?
I would rather have a neck like a gorilla or mastiff. Personally, I train my neck three times a week because I need more size between my shoulders and head. My wife say's I need more brains on top of my shoulders but if I'm to have more brains I need something to hold it all up don't I?
Look through any bodybuilding magazine and take a look at the pictures of the competitive bodybuilders. There are some with superior neck development, which goes hand in hand with the rest of their body.
Then there are those who lack any resemblance of any kind of neck development. Doesn't it make you wonder how they can win bodybuilding titles with this very noticeable flaw? It does me. It is very noticeable in the esthetics of the body.
Fortunately, for those of us who don't want to be "pencil neck" bodybuilders, the neck responds quickly to hard work. So, what is the importance of a thick, strong neck for the bodybuilder, or, for that matter, the average fitness enthusiasts? First of all, as in case of the athlete, it is a safe guard against injury. You have heard of individuals who have survived serious accidents because of their strength and size.
Did you know that whiplash and other neck injuries happen by the thousands in otherwise minor mishaps? Many of these injuries probably would not have happened if the victim had some degree of neck strength and development. For those of us weight training there are many cases of pulled, strained, and stiff neck muscles because of a weakness in the neck.
There is another reason for neck building. Like we stated earlier, it improves a physiques appearance greatly. Even an advanced bodybuilder with 20-inch arms, and 50-inch chest looks unimpressive unless he has a neck to match the rest of his physique.
In spirit of this, I have talked to some trainers advising bodybuilders not to train the neck. Why? Well, because they suggest it will make the shoulders look wider if you do not train the neck. This makes about much sense as refraining from legwork so your upper body will look bigger. Duh! Yeah, if you want to look like a Florida Flamingo! A skinny, un-trained neck on a bodybuilder stands out like the proverbial sore thumb.
Neck Building Exercises
The wrestlers bridge is the most effective way to build the back of your neck. This exercise eliminates the light bulb shaped look that many of us start with. To begin, first get used to the pressure on your neck. Lie on the floor with your head on a pad. Now bridge up on your head arching your back with the feet under your knees.
Keep your hands off the floor. Stay in the bridge position for approximately one minute. If you are only able to stay up for only a few seconds that's OK, increase your time each week.
Lying Face Down Plate Neck Resistance:
Another exercise that can be done for building the back of the neck is too lie on a bench flat on your stomach, hang your head over the bench, as if your looking at the floor, place a 25 pound plate on the base of your head and neck, holding the plate with your finger tips, and then move your head up and down for 10 - 15 reps. Take your time with this particular maneuver, it's a tuff one.
Chin Touches With Towel Resistance:
The next exercise we want to hit works the sterno-mastoid muscles that give your neck width. You need a partner for this movement. Sit on an incline bench. Fold a towel and place the center across your forehead. Have your partner stand behind you holding the towel at both ends.
Bring your head forward until your chin touches your chest and have your partner apply tension throughout the movement. Do three sets of 15-20 repetitions, and train your neck twice a week.
Lying Face Up Plate Neck Resistance:
You can attack the Sterno-mastoids at yet another angle and that is to lie flat on your back on a bench, grab an Olympic plate, preferably a 45 and then place it on your forehead with a towel in-between you and the plate. By slowly moving the plate back and forth or up and down if you will, this movement mimics that above exercises done on an Incline bench.
Bring your head forward until your chin touches your chest and then slowly move your head to the floor. Make sure you always apply continuous tension throughout the movement. Perform 2 sets of 10 preps. There are neck harnesses on the market. They are a little awkward to use but they are great apparatuses that can help in using heavier weights for the neck.
The only equipment you need to build a powerful and sizable neck is a towel; incline bench, a pad or foam rubber, and some weights. Training the neck is very hard to do but the conclusions will pay dividends in your appearance and feeling of superiority. Neck training is a short program and will only add a few minutes to your daily or weekly routine.