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The Underrated Benefits of Neck Training

In the world of fitness, neck training often takes a backseat to more popular muscle groups.

However, the benefits of strengthening your neck extend far beyond just aesthetics.

Here's 4 reasons why you should consider incorporating neck exercises into your fitness routine.

"Having a strong neck, why is that so important?

Well, it's important because you want a strong spine, and it's the upper portion of your spine.

The other thing that I notice it does is it completely changes my psychology to train my neck.

I just naturally stand more upright."

-Dr. Andrew Huberman

1. Injury Prevention

One of the primary benefits of neck training is injury prevention.

A strong neck can significantly reduce the risk of neck pain and injuries, which are common in both athletes and the general population.

Some research suggests that increased neck strength might reduce the risk of concussion. For instance, a study found that for every one-pound increase in neck strength, the odds of concussion fell by 5%​​.

This is supported by recommendations from Rutgers University researchers, who suggest that athletes, particularly those in higher-risk sports like football and soccer, should build neck strength as a preventive measure against concussions​​.


In daily life, a strong neck can protect against the strains caused by sudden movements, poor posture, and the increasing issue of "tech neck" from prolonged phone and laptop time.

2. Improved Posture and Spinal Health

Neck muscles play a vital role in supporting the head and maintaining proper posture.

This is because the neck is the upper part of your spine. The neck makes up 7 out of the 33 vertabrae which is 21% of our spine.

Strengthening these muscles can counteract the forward head posture that often results from prolonged sitting and screen use.

By improving neck strength, you're also supporting spinal health, reducing the risk of back and shoulder pain, and even alleviating some forms of headaches and migraines associated with poor posture.

3. Aesthetic and Confidence Boost

While the functional benefits of neck training are paramount, we can't ignore the aesthetic improvements.

A well-defined neck can contribute to a more balanced and symmetrical appearance, enhancing muscular definition between the head, neck, and shoulders.

This physical change can boost confidence and body image, which is a significant aspect of overall mental health and well-being.

Furthermore a lot of gym goers and bodybuilders look disproportional since they train their lats and delts but neglect their necks. This further exxacerpbates the "pencil neck" look.

How to Train Your Neck - 3 Essential Exercises

1. Neck Extension

Neck extension exercises target the muscles at the back of your neck. These are important for maintaining a good posture and preventing neck pain that can arise from prolonged sitting or standing.

  • How to Perform:
    • Lie face down on a bench, ensuring your shoulders are at the edge and your head can move freely up and down.
    • Place a small weight plate or a resistance band on the back of your head for added resistance.
    • Slowly lower your head towards the ground, then lift it back up by extending your neck. Keep the movement controlled and focus on using your neck muscles.
    • Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

2. Neck Curls

Neck curls primarily work the front part of your neck. Strengthening these muscles can help support your spine and improve your forward head posture.

  • How to Perform:
    • Lie on your back on a bench with your head hanging off the edge.
    • You can use your hands for light support on your forehead or add a small weight for increased resistance.
    • Slowly curl your head towards your chest, then lower it back to the starting position. Ensure the movement is smooth and controlled.
    • Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

3. Neck Side Curls

Neck side curls target the lateral muscles of your neck, helping to improve neck mobility and reduce the risk of strain.

  • How to Perform:
    • Sit or stand upright with your head in a neutral position.
    • You can perform this exercise with or without added resistance, such as a hand for gentle pressure or a light weight resting on the side of your head.
    • Tilt your head to the side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
    • Complete 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions per side.

Safety Tips:

  • Start with light resistance and gradually increase as your neck strength improves.
  • Keep movements slow and controlled to avoid strain.
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort during these exercises, stop immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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