Exercises To Build A Big Strong Neck – Building strong neck muscles may not be on your first priorities list when working out, but, in fact, you shouldn’t neglect them. They not only add to your overall image but are also good for your health!. In 2008, scientists from National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen proved that strengthening your neck relieves pain in this area, so why not start benefiting yourself right now and do some neck-building exercises?.
1. Dumbbell shrug
This is an exercise that targets both your shoulders and your neck, so there’s a double benefit here. It’s a basic set that should be incorporated in any neck workout, so why don’t we start with that. Take a dumbbell into either hand, and stand straight with your arms along your body and your legs hip-width apart. Make sure that dumbbells aren’t too heavy — you shouldn’t over strain yourself or you might get a stiff neck afterwards. With palms facing your torso, exhale and lift your shoulders all the way up. Hold this position for a second and say “I don’t know. ”Just kidding, don’t waste your breath. Lower your shoulders, and here you go, one rep done. Do from 8 to 12 reps, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat twice more.
2. Face down resistance
Now this one targets your neck specifically,but it should be performed with caution: if you do it wrong, it can lead to serious injury. Lie on a flat bench face down so that your face, neck, and shoulders are hanging over the edge. Take a light weight plate or a bottle of water in your hands and hold it behind your head. Now, keeping the weight secure, inhale and lower your head in a nod of approval. Then exhale and raise your head back to the starting position and hold it for a second. Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, but make sure you don’t over strain yourself. If you feel too much tension at some point, stop immediately.
3. Single-arm dumbbell row
If you want to ask what arm rows have to do with the neck, I don’t blame you, it can be perplexing. In short, almost any exercise, if it’s not extremely isolating, targets several muscles at once. Dumbbell rows are not an exception: they target your triceps, shoulders, and back of the neck. Get yourself a nice and cozy flat bench and prop your right knee on it. Plant your left foot firmly on the floor and take a dumbbell in your left hand. Bend forward, keeping your back as straight as possible not to over strain your lower back,and place your right hand onto the bench for support. Let your left hand with the dumbbell hang to the floor and slightly bend it at the elbow. Now lift that hand until your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Hold it there for a second and then lower it back. Do 8 to 12 reps, then change sides and repeat. It’s best to do at least 3 sets, switching sides.
4. Lateral raise
Again a complex exercise that targets not only your neck and traps but your shoulders and upper arms as well. Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang along your body, palms facing your torso. Slightly bend your knees for less lower back strain and bend your elbows too for better leverage. Now raise your arms to the sides as if you’re getting ready to fly away and make sure your upper arms are parallel to the floor at the top. Stay like this for a second, inhale, and slowly lower your arms back. That’s one rep, and you’ll need 3 sets of 8-12 reps, just like with everything else so far. Easy!
5. Front dumbbell raise
You’ve done it to the sides, now it’s time to do the same in front of you. Front dumbbell raise targets the front of your shoulders, your traps, and sides of the neck, as well as the upper chest muscles. Take the dumbbells and stand straight with your weighted hands on the front of your thighs, palms facing them. Without turning your palm, lift your right hand to the front until your arm is a little above parallel to the floor, the elbow slightly bent. Make sure you don’t swing your torso from side to side or back to front — this is incorrect form and could reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. When your hand is in top position, hold it there for a second, and then lower it back to your thigh. Repeat with your left hand and go on until you’ve done 8 to 12 reps. Rest for 10 seconds and do two more sets like the first one.
6. Face up resistance
Yeah, you’ve done its face down counter part already, and now you’re going to do it on the other side. It’s almost like frying a steak, you know: if it’s only done on one side, it won’t ever be ready. In the case of your neck, with face up resistance you’ll be targeting your traps, deltoid muscles, and the back of the neck. Lie on a flat bench in the same way you did for the face down resistance: your head, neck, and shoulders should hang in the air over the edge of the bench. Take a light weight plate and hold it on top of your forehead. Inhale and slowly lower your head back, all the while holding the weight secure on your forehead. Exhale and raise your head back to the starting position. Hold it for a second and repeat. Again, 3 sets of 8-12 reps should be good enough for you.
7. Reverse fly
This one will be our finisher for today’s neck workout, and not least because it doesn’t directly affect the neck. Before you raise that eyebrow (hm,,, eyebrow raise — it should be a separate exercise too!), I’ll explain. Your neck, especially the back of it, is strongly connected with your trapezius muscles as well as other muscles in the back, such as the rhomboid and deltoids. So to make the workout really worth the effort, you should strengthen your upper back too. Reverse fly is just about that: it targets the rhomboid and the deltoids, making your neck and shoulders stronger and more flexible.
Sit on a bench with your knees bent and next to each other. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, lean forward, and let your arms hang down at the sides of your calves. Slightly bend your elbows and turn your palms so that they face your calves. Make sure your back is straight and doesn’t bend at the waist — you can experience serious discomfort in the lower back if you do this exercise wrong.
Now exhale and slowly raise your arms to the sides until they’re parallel to the floor. Hold the top position for a second, inhale, and then, slowly again, lower your arms back to the initial position. Do at least 8 reps, rest for 10 seconds, and follow up with another set, and then another one. Congrats!, You’ve completed the neck and traps workout for today.
Let’s revise some additional stuff that will definitely come in handy before and after you do the workout. First of all, don’t forget to warm up your neck. It’s one of those regions of your body that are more vulnerable when it comes to strain damage, along with your lower back and joints. Make sure you spend some good time on warming up activities, otherwise you might end up with stiff and painful neck the next day or even right after the workout.
Next, neck workout shouldn’t be the only workout of a day — it’s normally combined with something else, and trainers argue about which is best: to combine it with your arms and shoulders day or give it a go on a chest and back day. In fact, there’s no universal answer, so pick the days you feel the most comfortable with and incorporate the neck training into them.
A little tip, though: if you train your shoulders, you can squeeze the traps for an added bonus of targeting your neck too. Thirdly, it’s as important to cool down after a neck workout as it is to warm it up. Cooling down is often neglected at the gym, but professional trainers advise against this practice. After an intense workout, your muscles are pumped up, and they can become stiff if you don’t stretch them a little bit here and there.
Stretching gives the tired muscles that much needed bit of flexibility, and you’ll feel better the next day. Less pain in the neck, so to speak. And finally, don’t overdo it. Like I said before, your neck is more vulnerable than the rest of your muscles, so keep the weights lighter than you would for other exercises. Also, three times a week is more than enough — you can even reduce the number of days to two if you feel it’s getting too much. Waking up one day without being able to turn your head is not a sensation you’d like to experience, trust me.
So keep your neck safe and don’t break it!, What other cool neck and traps exercises can you name?, Let me know down in the comments.