The neck muscles are a part of our anatomy that many of us pay little attention to. The belief is that the neck muscles don’t need to be trained, partly as all they do is hold our head up which doesn’t require much strength, and partly because they are not as ‘glamorous’ or as attractive to the opposite sex as say abs or biceps. Many people wouldn’t even be aware that they could strengthen their neck muscles and might assume that they can’t seeing as you can’t hold a weight with your teeth… can you?
However, both of these beliefs are in fact somewhat short sighted and miss the real point of having great neck muscles. First and foremost, having really good neck muscles has a range of uses – in preventing snoring, in adding to your overall muscle mass and thereby burning fat to maintain them and for making your neck strong enough to resist being strangled or accidents. At the same time it also looks great as it’s one of the muscle groups that will be visible at all times – in fact the only muscle group that will be visible in almost any clothes (apart from a scarf). A big neck will make you look bulky and strong, while a thin weak neck will of course have the opposite effect and leave you looking a bit flimsy and weak.
Fortunately there are many ways to strengthen the neck muscles that we shall look at here…
Pressing on your head
One exercise that can strengthen your neck is to use your hand to provide the resistance. Simply place your hand on the side of your head and attempt to look to the right while pushing your head back the other way, then do the same to the other sides. You can also strengthen the up and down movements in the same way by pushing on the top of your head or under your chin.
Using a weights plate
You can use ‘neck extensions’ to train your neck using a weight plate. Simply lie face down on a bench with your head sticking out over the side. Then hold a weight on top of the back of your head/neck but do so gently and don’t place all of the weight on your head at this point, before raising your head and neck to lift the weight for a few repetitions.
Using squats and other exercises
Squats will cause every muscle group in your body to grow by triggering a release of many anabolic hormones. At the same time though it will also involve the neck more as the barbell rests across the back of it… But further all exercises to some degree will train the neck, simply because it is involved in a large range of movements. Try to focus on involving your neck more in the movements.
Training your traps
While not technically your neck, the traps poke out either side beside your neck. Growing these larger then will make your neck look thicker as a result. Hold a dumbbell in either hand and performing a shrugging motion (this is unsurprisingly called a ‘shrug’) in order to target these easily.