Last we checked, bodybuilding is an aesthetic sport, and as such, symmetry is hugely important! Have you ever seen someone with a buff upper body but with really thin legs?
Sure, if you only take pictures from specific angles and do the right poses you can hide any asymmetrical facets of your body. However, you can’t really do that in a contest, can you? One of the main muscles that we tend to neglect is our neck.
You can’t have shredded abs, monster calves, biceps that shoot upwards, all connected by a flimsy-looking neck! It just ruins the whole image. Even subconsciously, we tend to equate a thick neck with power.
So how do you go about training your neck? There are a surprisingly small number of sources that tell you how to train your neck. Granted, there are neck training machines out there. However, most gyms tend not to have them available.
How Do You Target Your Neck Muscles?
First you need to understand what it is your neck does in your body. It’s placed at the top of your spine, and has a number of muscles around it. Your neck has two main purposes.
The first function of your neck is to move side to side, we can this lateral flexion, or a lateral side bending. The other function is what we call an extension, which means moving your neck forward and backward.
Just like any other muscle, you can train your neck by placing the aforementioned movements against resistance. The great news is, if you’ve got weight plates, a towel, or bands, you can train your neck at home!
How to Train Your Neck
The first thing to train is your lateral side bending. Start by lying sideways on a bench, take a towel, and put it on the side of your head. Then take a weighted plate—not too heavy, five or ten pounds—and put it on the side of your head. Start your workout by laying your head down slowly, moving it back up, and slowly laying it back down again.
To train that extension movement, in which you move your neck forward and backward, lie on your back on that bench and put the towel on your forehead. Put the plate on your forehead and support it with your hand. Then move your head up and back down to the bench. This trains your forward extension.
For your backward extension, lie face down on the bench with your head over the edge of the bench. Put your towel on the back of your head, put that plate on the back of your head, stabilize it with both hands, and pull your neck down and back up.
If you find yourself without any weights at home, you can take the towel, wrap it around the side of your head and hold it in the same position, then resist the towel manually and work your neck muscles in all four planes. Alternatively, you can use any band you have, hook it up to a pole or a door knob and do the same movements.
Important: your neck muscles are the one thing you should definitely NOT cheat on. Take these exercises slowly and carefully, doing fewer and more controlled reps. This isn’t like your bench press where you can bounce up after you put the barbell down; an injury to the neck is catastrophic at best.
Our Recommendations for Training the Neck
We recommend doing 3 sets of 15-20 on each side, going slowly and safely. If you do these exercises 1-2 times a week you’ll be guaranteed to eventually have a bull-thick neck!
We hope this article helped you figure out just how you can train those neck muscles! We’ll see you again in the next article.