Monday, December 21, 2009
One of our most popular athletes at the gym is “Sam Bonato.” ”Sam plays Nose Tackle for a Division III school in Central New York, and while I cannot provide you with his real name per NCAA regulations, everybody who trains at our gym is undoubtedly laughing right now. Why is Sam so popular? Because he has the biggest neck in the gym! He takes a lot of ribbing for it (rumor is he even has strangers approach him in the street about his neck), but most of it is out of sheer jealousy of the 18 inch tree trunk that supports his head. And for all of you internet warriors out there claiming a 20 inch neck, I am calling you out on it. A 20 inch neck is like a 40 inch vertical or a 4.4 40 Yard Dash. Everybody “has one.” Anyways, I am having a little too much fun at Sam’s expense, and there is a point to all of this.
HOW on earth can you consider yourself a serious football player and NOT train your neck? Despite the fact that you are taught to lay a bone crushing hit with a shoulder pad, football is a violent instinctive game, and sometimes there is helmet to helmet contact. Having a strong neck is extremely important to prevent spinal injuries that may occur during such collisions. When going into a big hit, do you want a neck like Gumby or a neck like a tree trunk?
In this sport, you had better protect your neck!
Ok, so we know training our neck is important, but HOW do we train our neck. At PTS, we have 2 neck exercises that we really like, and both are far cheaper than a 4 way neck machine. For neck extension, we like the neck harness, and for neck flexion we like to place a dumbbell on our forehead using a towel. When training the neck, here are a few tips that we would like to advise you on:
1.) A slower tempo is advisable. Going too quickly cut lead to pinched nerves, and injury.
Start light, and progress slowly. In other words, don’t go trying to be Mike the Machine
in your first neck workout!
3.) Be careful about using extreme ranges of motion. Never go into cervical hyperextension. (Where you are leaning your head ALL the way back).
4.) Use higher rep ranges when training the neck in order to maximize muscular hypertrophy and keep safer working loads.
5.) DON’T leave your neck training to be finished “later”. In my experience, “later” means “never.”
6.) Don’t neglect your traps. Plenty of deadlifts, shrugs, scarecrows, etc will also help build a nice protective base.
Neck Flexion Start (Above)
Neck Flexion Finish
Neck Extension Start
Neck Extension Finish
At PTS, we like to incorporate neck work as “filler” between our core lifts. For example, if you train on M, W, F, on M you would perform neck extensions with a neck harness, and on W you would perform dumbbell neck flexion with a towel. Perform 4-5 sets of 20-30 reps after each warmup /working set. However you choose to incorporate it, just do it! Alternate flexion and extension each time you train, and you will be well on your way to a bigger, stronger neck that will provide your spine with the reinforcement it needs on the gridiron.
By Matt Phelps
Page 1 of 1 pages