Yes, neck training is safe and is highly recommended. As long as proper technique and safe training habits are followed, consistent neck training will not only have aesthetic benefits for a persons physique but it can also prevent injuries, improve posture, and reduce neck pain.
A thick, muscular neck is common amongst some athletes and many bodybuilders. Its often associated with power and strength. The size of your neck should be proportionate with your body. If you have a muscular body, you shouldn’t have a thin neck. Likewise if you are new to weight lifting or have a very slim body with little to no muscle, you shouldn’t focus on building a large neck because it wont match your body size.
Neck training can be used for aesthetic purposes, to improve a persons physique, but it has many other benefits, such as preventing injury. Neck training becomes extremely important in reducing risk of injuries in contact sports or physical activities that put pressure on the neck. Building your neck muscles and strength will help support the neck as you do physical activities that put pressure on the neck.
Benefits of Neck Training
- Reduced risk of neck injury: As you train and build your neck muscles, you will be able to have extra protection from injuries that can occur in sports, daily physical activities, accidents and more. One example would be the muscles will support the neck and prevent it from whiplashing during sudden impact.
- Reduced neck pain: If you ever experience neck pain or you’re currently experiencing neck pain, strengthening the neck can help reduce and in some cases completely eliminate the pain. This is because the muscles built and strengthened can help support the neck and reduce pressure or strain on the neck.
- Improved posture: Many people are often on their phones or hunched over a desk while working on a computer all day. Often during these times people will have their heads tilted forward, adding strain to the neck. As you build your neck muscles and strength, your body will begin to naturally keep itself in a safe, healthy position. You will also learn good posture habits as you learn to train your neck.
- Aesthetics: If you already have a muscular body, building a muscular neck will help improve your physique greatly. It will not only make you look bigger but a big neck is a sign of strength, people will see you as being strong.
Risks of Neck Training
- Neck injury or permanent damage: Just like any exercise you do, if you do not follow good technique you can and will hurt yourself. You can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage, so it is best to follow good form and don’t try to lift heavy when doing neck exercises. You do not need to lift heavy to build the neck because the neck muscles grow very fast even with light weight. Focus on form and technique.
- Tightness and reduced flexibility: As you build muscles in any area, if you do not compliment the training with stretching often, your body will become tighter and less flexible. This is not only for the neck but can happen for any body part. Try to stretch at least 3 times a week and for best results try to stretch before and after training.
- Overtraining: The neck does not need to be trained every day of the week. I’d recommend a max of 3 days per week if you’re starting out, if you feel that is too much, reduce it to 2 times a week. The neck easily grows and gets stronger, use light weights, focus on form and technique, and avoid overtraining.
Why Should You Train Your Neck?
A well developed neck can be an important part of a balanced physique. It can also help reduce the risk of injury and help you heal after an injury as occurred. If you’ve ever had a neck injury and went to a physical therapist, they usually will recommend some neck stretches and exercises to slowly build back the muscles and improve flexibility. Building the neck will also help to prevent future injuries after one has occurred. So if you find yourself having consistent neck pain or injuries, it is recommended to speak to a doctor and follow their advice to implement a safe neck training routine.
If you’re still wondering “is neck training safe?” it is definitely safe and has been used for decades, even medical professionals recommend it. When I injured my neck, my doctor and physical therapist had me go through neck training routines to build back my neck muscles and prevent future injuries.
If you’re an athlete or you notice you regularly have pressure on your neck from daily activities, it is highly recommended to train your neck. Training your neck now will have lifelong benefits and prevent neck pain in the future as it will help prevent the wear and tear build up from daily activities throughout the years. When training mixed martial arts, my coaches often had us train our necks, especially in grappling arts such as Wrestling or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
How Often Should You Train Your Neck?
If you’re just starting out, it is recommended to train your neck 2 times a week. If you aren’t noticing improvements in size and strength after a month I recommend increasing the weight slightly and training 3 times a week max. The neck does not need to be trained every day, it grows extremely fast without having to train it every day.
Do not add too much weight when starting training. As an athlete and someone who lifted weights a lot prior to doing neck training, I only had to start with a 5 pound plate to feel the results. Once I worked up to a 10 pound plate after a few weeks of training, I noticed significant strength improvements and my neck size began to increase.
Training the neck too much can result in neck pain or worse. Training the neck with heavy weights, especially too soon will have negative effects than what you expected. The neck is not like other body parts such as the shoulders, chest, back, or legs. You do not need to load up heavy weights onto the neck or train it too much to see incredible results. Focus on slow and controlled movements. Focus on perfect form and technique. Focus on slowly increasing the weight over time. Follow these rules are you will see incredible results.
When Will You See Results?
You can expect to see results after at least a month of consistent neck training every week. You will notice both strength and size improvements, as I mentioned above I started with very light weight and noticed improvements in weeks. This can differ for each person, but often it only takes a month to begin to notice slight improvements and feel the difference.
If you aren’t noticing any improvements after a month of consistent neck training 2-3 times a week, I suggest slightly increasing the weight. If you started with 5 pounds, try to move to 10 pounds and see how you feel. Make sure you’re paying attention to your form, also try to implement pause reps into your neck training routine. For example, when doing a neck raise while holding a plate on your head, try to hold the top position of the lift for 2 to 3 seconds, then rest. Do that for some of your workouts and you should notice a big difference.
If you are interested in learning some effective neck training exercises, check out the links below!
The key takeaway here is neck training is extremely effective and is just as safe as many other exercises as long as smart training habits are in place. Neck training has been utilized for decades and are recommended by medical professionals to not only rehab after an injury but to prevent future neck injuries.
If you have previous neck conditions it is highly recommended you speak with a doctor before performing any exercises, your doctor will most likely be able to pair you with a physical therapist who will recommend the best and safest exercises for you to perform. If you feel any sudden pain during neck training it is recommended you stop the exercise and rest. Consult with a doctor immediately if you feel the pain is serious or the pain has not reduced after a week.
Start with very light weights and focus on perfect form and technique first, once you have that down, then you can slightly begin to increase the weight. Focus on making sure you are feeling the neck being worked for each workout in your neck training routine. After a couple weeks to a month you should begin to notice improvements.
Check out this article to learn more about getting a thicker and stronger neck!