Neck Training: Why Do it?
I train my neck, yes I wear a funny looking head harness to do so.
It seems to confuse people as I am regularly laughed at and asked what I am doing, what am I training or why do I want a bigger/stronger neck?
This stuns me as usually it’s other trainers that ask me, occasionally a gym member, but for other trainers to not recognise why neck training is important or even that neck extensions are actually training the neck is strange to me.
I commend the desire to learn something new though, so here goes.
Top 3 reasons to train your neck:
1) To strengthen it. The neck is such a vital component of the spine that to neglect it is to court serious risk, paralysis, death or chroinc pain, especially if you partake in activities that have the potential to cause your neck grievous harm. Activities such as….rugby, football, boxing, martial arts or things like motor vehicle racing, bike riding, horse riding, climbing or such daily activities as driving a car or climbing the stairs.
The reason for some of those activities needing a strong neck are obvious but daily duties such as driving may make you furrow your brow but I ask you: have you ever been rear ended in a car, seen someone with whiplash or watch a person fall over…the neck connects your brain to your body…you’ll want to keep that part of you secure. Trust me on this.
The stronger your neck is, the less likely you are to injure it.
If you are a coach responsible for sportsmen and women in contact high velocity sports then you have a duty to keep their necks strong.
Rugby always pops up…front or second row? That’s serious amounts of tension and impact force being transmitted through the neck…failure to strengthen the neck of these athletes may well be considered negligence.
2) Proportions. Pencil neck syndrome. I train the rest of my body hard, it gets stronger, it gets bigger but without direct neck training my head support stays the same and I end up looking pretty siily with a 48″ chest and a 16″ neck. I train my neck to attempt to avoid looking disproportionate…although I may fail…at least I am in the arena and not craning my neck as a spectator.
3) Enjoyment. The neck is a pretty responsive area of the body to train and progression is regular. That is positive reinforcement right there. I like training my neck, I see success and feel good about that success. Who doesn’t feel good about progress…you do progress, right?
I like to keep the weight moderate to light and work around the 15-25 rep range for my neck training. It avoids training nearer the tensile limits of the neck muscles, keeps technique controlled and safe as well as allowing for regular progression in repetitions and weight.
Your Expert Personal Trainer, Epsom and Surrey.
R Ham WIlliams
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