The Question

A strong neck can be a necessity in some high contact sports.

What is the best workout for building a strong neck?

What are some of the benefits to building a strong neck?

Who specifically would be interested in building a stronger neck?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners
  1. 1st Place mrkdrt
  2. 2nd Place History in Effect
  3. 3rd Place soundcheck129

1st Place mrkdrt

A strong neck can be a necessity in some high contact sports.

High contact sports, day-to-day living, and even pure cosmetic appeal - a strong neck can be useful.

What Is The Best Workout For Building A Strong Neck?

I'm sure many of us have woken up in the morning with a stiff neck. Have you ever wondered why the pain is not only felt in the neck, but also can spread into the trapezius (traps) muscles, and the deltoids (shoulders)? All these muscles contribute to the neck area we refer to. As supporting muscle groups, these should also be trained to increase neck strength.

The most important thing to remember when getting into neck workouts is DO NOT try to lift beyond your physical limits. Sure, the same goes for workouts and exercises for any muscle group, but neck injuries are among the worst, and can cause the most inconvenience and pain.

Always start with adequate stretching before adding weighted resistance. Stretching your neck muscles will prepare your muscles for resistance, and can alone strengthen your neck. They are also important to monitor your range of motion.

If your range of motion is less than normal, do not force the movement or use resistance. Sometimes through various stretches you can increase your range of motion though. Consult your MD or DC for professional advice if you cannot.


Hold each of these stretches, at the point of tension, for at least 8 full seconds. Repeat at least twice.


This stretch involves the motion of bending the head downward, toward the floor. It is important your posture is straight and correct. In a normal range of motion, your chin should be able to touch your chest, without opening your jaw.

Lateral Flexion

Tilting of the head, moving your ears toward your shoulders is the movement for this stretch. Be sure to keep your shoulders flat and do not lift them during this stretch. Normally, your head, while looking forward, should be at a rough 45-degree angle from your shoulders.

Sample workout
Lying Face Down Plate Neck Resistance
3 sets, 8-12 reps
+ 6 more exercises


  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home
  • Access to Workout Plans
  • Access to Bodyfit App
  • Store Discounts

What comes with BodyFit?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

For the Traps exercises, I normally do these on a Back/Traps workout day, and perform the Delts exercises on my Chest/Shoulder day. Of course, the only "pure" neck exercises are the Lying Face Down Plate Neck Resistances and the Lying Face Up Plate Neck Resistances - which can easily be done on a typical "off" day, or throw the two exercises into another workout of yours.

Those 2 exercises can easily be performed at home with minimal equipment, so a trip to the gym isn't always necessary. Also, the neck itself doesn't need to be trained at high frequency, so you don't have to have a neck workout every week either.

If you don't workout on a regular basis, these exercises can all be performed in one workout - but remember do not go over your lifting ability, or too hard starting out - or you may end up with more neck pain you're intending to prevent.

If you don't have a preferred volume for your workouts, normally for isolation type exercises I like to maintain higher reps. Try keeping the volume for your neck exercises around 3 sets of 12 reps. As you progress, or based on your comfort level, you may add a set, increasing your volume.

What Are Some Of The Benefits To Building A Strong Neck?

A stronger neck can and does lower the risk of everyday neck pain. Like I mentioned before, I'm sure you've woken up with a stiff neck one or two times and wow, does it ever make other routine actions difficult sometimes. Luckily, building up a stronger neck can help reduce these aptly named "pains in the neck."

Having a stronger neck can reduce the risk of neck injury (and central nervous system trauma), in sports and unexpected accidents in vehicles, or tripping and falling even.

Sure, the construction of your "chin" is a big determining factor on how easy you get "KO'd," but if you are rocked with a hard punch, a strong neck can prevent your head from spinning sideways to quick and can greatly absorb the impact - reducing transfer to your head. Brain trauma is a SERIOUS issue, so that should be motivation enough.

And sure, let's be superficial for a moment and just say, yes, a thick, strong neck does draw some looks. Hey, the neck can always be seen - and in my opinion a strong neck screams bad@ss.

Who Specifically Would Be Interested In Building A Stronger Neck?

For the purposes of lowering the risk of neck pain and injury, everyone can benefit from having a stronger neck. Having a stronger neck can reduce stress you may put on your neck, like keeping it in an odd position, preventing soreness.

Also, when times can get stressful, the traps and neck area tense up the most often. To attenuate the tension, stretches can help a lot. Having a stronger neck though, can reduce tension in the first place.

However, athletes of all sports (and perhaps especially combat sports) may find a stronger neck the most useful. Not only can a stronger neck prevent "whiplash" from contact in sports, but it can also prevent your brain from jostling around a lot if you get rocked. In MMA, BJJ and other grappling sports, neck submissions and chokes are common - and a stronger neck can prevent related injuries.

2nd Place History in Effect

Protect Your Neck

When many people workout, they do every part imaginable or so they think. They hit the major parts and the smaller parts like the calves or forearms. Though this is the case, there is one area that seems to be forgotten. This area is the neck.

You want to strengthen neck muscles because a brutal hit in a sport or any activity that involves contact can lead to neck pain or even more worse spinal cord problems. Training the neck should not just be done by men, but women too.

"A new study on women with neck pain found that specific strength training exercises led to significant prolonged relief of neck muscle pain, while general fitness training resulted in only a small amount of pain reduction."

What Is The Best Workout For Building A Strong Neck?

Fitness Exercises

The upper part of your traps is a part of your neck, so when you train traps you also train your neck. These are excellent for building strength in your neck and reducing pain.

Barbell Shrugs

Raise shoulders high as possible and don't rotate them back. Hold at the top for a count of 2 for maximum effect. Barbell Shrugs add mass to the upper back/neck area. Make sure and look forward because leaning to one side could have your traps looking uneven. 3 Sets Of 12 Reps.

Dumbbell Shrugs

Do about the same thing except for you don't have to worry about your private area getting hit. 3 Sets Of 12 Reps.

Lateral Head Raise

I am sure few of you have heard of this exercise before. This is a control movement and you are urged to use light weight. 3 Sets Of 12 Reps.

What Are Some Of The Benefits To Building A Strong Neck?

The benefits of building a strong neck are numerous. Neck problems are common. "In 2002, a survey of adults in the United states showed 26 percent reporting lower back pain and 14 percent reporting neck pain in the three months previous, according to the background information in the article." This is why its important to build a strong neck free from injuries. A strong neck will save you from running to the medical room because neck injuries are serious things. A bad neck could lead to problems with the spine and the many nerves around it.

Who Specifically Would Be Interested In Building A Stronger Neck?

Everybody should be interested in building a stronger neck. Neck problems are one of leading problems for people these days. Anybody involved in sports involving contact and collision should also be ready to protect the neck. These include:


When tackling or hitting somebody, the helmet offers some protection, but not all the time.


In clinches people will grab on the neck to get leverage or advantage when doing a move. This include wrestling in high school and college as well as wrestling like WWE or TNA.


Getting checked into the boards or engaging in on-ice fighting can be brutal for necks.

Boxing Or MMA

Getting hit right on the button as people would say transfers from chin to the neck. You feel it in your chin and it transfers down your body. Your neck will be shocked, so you better be ready.


You do have a neck harness, but crashing at speeds of 190 even at restrictor-plate races can cause injury.

Protect your neck or you will suffer.

3rd Place soundcheck129

A strong neck can be a necessity in some high contact sports.

Athletes participating in contact sports have helmets, shoulder pads, chest protectors, and a wide array of other equipment, but even with all of that protection, the neck is still vulnerable to injury.

Unfortunately, the protective equipment that does exist for the neck - such as neck guards often used in youth hockey - cannot protect athletes from neck injuries caused by whiplash or trauma to the head. These injuries can cause serious damage to neck muscles, vertebrae and nerves.

What Is The Best Workout For Building A Strong Neck?

In order to build a strong neck, you'll want to build up all of the muscles in the neck, as well as those that support these muscles.

Strong deltoid and trapezius muscles contribute to overall neck strength and movement, so these muscles cannot be ignored. And while neck musculature is important to build up, especially for those in contact sports, an entire workout day dedicated to the neck is not appropriate. Instead, try to incorporate neck exercises into all of your workout days, hitting different muscles each time - providing a variety of stimuli will challenge your muscles and spur growth.

Some beneficial neck exercises to include in your routine are:

Neck Exercises

Face-Down Plate Neck Resistance

Lie down on a flat bench with your shoulders even with the end of the bench. While in this position, hold a plate behind your head and slowly lower your neck as far as comfortable, and then raise it again slowly, trying to comfortably increase the range of motion if possible.

Isometric Neck Exercise To The Side

Place your right hand on the right side of your head and exert pressure on your neck, while using your neck muscles to resist the force. Switch sides and repeat. This can also be performed for the front and back.

Head Harness Neck Resistance

Attach your desired weight to a head harness and raise head up and back as far as comfortably possible.

Trapezius Exercises


Shrugs are a staple in my routine, as they work your traps and your shoulders effectively. Also, shrugs can be performed with either dumbbells or a barbell - so there's really no excuse not to do them!

Upright Cable Row

This is another solid exercises that activates both your shoulders and traps. Try to concentrate on putting resistance into the weight on both the upward and downward motion - you'll feel the burn and it will pay off in strength and the mirror as well.

Incline Shoulder Raise

While seated on an incline bench, rest a barbell on your thighs, then kick the weights to your shoulders and lean back. Next, raise your shoulders as high as possible, lower and repeat.

Deltoid Exercises

Arnold Press

Hold two dumbbells in front of you while seated. Raise dumbbells by extending elbows and rotate shoulders to straight arm position as you raise. Lower slowly and repeat.

Barbell Bent-Over Row

Slightly bend knees and grip barbell with overhand grip. Pull arms until upper arms are slightly above parallel. Lower slowly and repeat. This exercise works your lats as well as your shoulders, so it goes a long way in strengthening your neck and back.


Begin with hands down at your sides, with dumbbells in each hand. Slowly raise each arm out to the side until they are parallel with the floor. Lower slowly and repeat.


Stretches such as arm circles for your shoulders and neck circles for your neck will help increase flexibility and maintain your range of motion.

What Are Some Of The Benefits To Building A Strong Neck?

It's important to realize that the body is a kinetic chain, and one weak link will compromise the strength of the entire body. A strong neck is not only visually appealing for a bodybuilder ready to step on stage, but it provides support and control, reducing whiplash that can occur in everyday accidents and car crashes.

Also, athletes competing in contact sports will want a strong neck to prevent jarring to the head and vertebrae so they can reduce or eliminate potential nerve damage or concussion. A strong neck is also a must for fighters and boxers, so that they can stay focused on their opponent even after receiving blows to the head.

Who Specifically Would Be Interested In Building A Stronger Neck?

While everyone could benefit from a stronger neck, contact sport athletes such as football, rugby and hockey players would be particularly interested in the injury prevention aspect. MMA fighters and boxers would also find a stronger neck to be to their advantage as well.

Another set of athletes one might not immediately think of would be soccer players - heading the ball toward the goal is a valuable tool in a scorer's arsenal, and a strong neck is an essential part of directing the ball accurately and not being critically injured from the blow.


About the Author

Workout Of The Week

Workout Of The Week

Workout of the Week is where forum members are asked to answer questions about what they think the best workouts are.

View all articles by this author