If you’re wondering “how do you train your neck without a harness?”, this article will teach you multiple ways of getting a workout that is just as effective as using a neck harness. We will go over both direct neck training and indirect neck training and combine them to build a powerful neck. Combining both direct and indirect neck training provides us with a workout that hits the neck in many different ways.
The best way to train your neck without a harness is to combine both direct and indirect neck training. Direct neck training works the muscles directly in the neck while indirect works the muscles around the neck while still building the muscles directly in the neck, combining these two methods of training will increase neck size and strength much faster than if you did them separately.
Disclaimer: If you have a previous neck condition please consult with your doctor before doing any exercises. If you feel any serious pain during any exercise, stop and consult with a doctor. Focus on form and technique over lifting heavy.
Direct Neck Training
As previously mentioned, direct neck training will target the muscles in the neck directly, it is possible other muscles around the neck can be worked, but that will only be a secondary effect, direct neck training primarily targets muscles in the neck. This is great because since these workouts isolate the neck, you can grow your neck size and strength faster. You also wont hit a plateau as fast as you would if you did only indirect neck training. This is one of the best ways to train your neck without a harness.
You may wonder “why don’t we just do direct neck training then?”, the answer is, to build an overall balanced physique you wouldn’t only build the muscles in your neck, you would build the muscles around it, such as your trapezius muscles. This is equivalent to saying “why don’t I just curl?” if you only curled you would only hit the biceps, but your triceps are a big part of your arms too, so to build your overall physique you will need to build them too. Combining direct and indirect neck training methods is the best way to build a bigger and stronger neck.
Lets go over some effective direct neck exercises.
Lying Neck Extension
For this exercise I recommend using a weighted plate, start light using 5 or 10 pounds only if you’re new to direct neck training. You can also use a towel wrapped over your head and pull it down for resistant or use a partner by having them push down on your head. Make sure you’re laying flat on your stomach on a bench with your head hanging off the edge of bench.
Relax and let your head hang down, place the weight on the top of your head and hold it. Now lift your head up until your head and neck are aligned straight with your body, hold for 1 – 2 seconds, then go back down and relax. Do this for 15-20 repetitions, for 3 sets. We want to do high reps on this specific exercise to build the size and endurance of the neck. Like I said before, you don’t need big weights for this exercise, you will quickly feel this exercise even with smaller weights.
This is one of the best ways to train your neck without a harness and we will be using other variations of this workout to directly and effectively work every part of the neck. Make sure you rest for a minute after each set or a bit longer if needed so you can complete all the sets.
Lying Neck Curl
This is the next variation of the exercise and will be very similar to the previous exercise. For this exercise, lay on your back, flat on a bench. Once again, let your head hang off the edge of the bench. Grab a weight and hold it flat on your forehead. Don’t go too heavy on the weight as mentioned before.
Relax your head and neck, then lift your head while bringing your chin closer to your chest, don’t force it or else you can strain your neck. Hold the position for 1- 2 seconds, then go back down and relax. Do this for 15 to 20 repetitions, for 3 sets. All of these exercises will be high reps and will work the neck a lot. This is another reason why you shouldn’t use a weight that is too heavy or you’ll burn your neck out and you could cause an injury.
Although all of these exercises are similar variations, they will directly work each part of the neck and they’re an effective way to train your neck without a harness. Make sure you rest for a minute after each set or a bit longer if needed so you can complete all the sets.
Neck Side Raise
For this final variation you will lay on your side, you can pick any side because you’ll be doing both side for this exercise by the end. Let your head hang off the bench. Grab a weight and hold it flat on your head on your ear. Once again, please don’t go too heavy if you are new to this kind of workout.
Relax your head and neck, then lift your head while bringing the ear which is facing the ceiling closer to your shoulder. Don’t try to force it to your shoulder too much, just go as far as you comfortably can and hold for 1 – 2 seconds, then go back down and relax. Do this for 15 to 20 repetitions, for 3 sets. All of these exercises will be high reps and will work the neck a lot. This is why I continue to recommend not using weight that is too heavy.
Turn onto your other side and repeat this same exact workout for 15 to 20 repetitions, for 3 sets. Then relax. This is the final direct neck training exercise I recommend. Doing this training will give you a workout that is just as effective as using a harness. This is how I recommend you train your neck without a harness.
Indirect Neck Training
It is often said you don’t need to do direct neck training, workouts such as the deadlift, shrugs, farmers walk, and other similar exercises are enough. Although these exercises can help build the neck, this is not always the case and you will most likely hit a plateau quickly. Unless you’re genetically gifted, the average lifter will not see significant neck gains from these exercises alone. That said, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do these exercises, they are still useful, especially the deadlift, which should be in almost everyone’s routine.
As mentioned above, the best way to train your neck without a harness is to combine direct and indirect neck training for the best results. This will build your overall physique and make your physique much more balanced. If you’re looking for the best result when trying to train your neck without a harness, you want to utilize both forms of training in your routines.
Lets go over a few exercises that will have an effective impact on the muscles around your neck, while still helping to work your neck muscles directly. Although it wont build your neck as much and as fast as direct neck training, this will help build your traps and other areas to help you have a much more balanced physique. Combining these exercises with the direct neck exercises is recommended to fully train your neck without a harness.
This is one of the best workouts that has enormous benefits for anyone who does this workout. The deadlift not only works your back and legs, but can hit a number of other areas because it is a compound exercise. One of these areas happen to be the shoulders and traps. Since those muscles are getting worked and are so close to the muscles in the neck, they can also help slightly build the neck, but that is just a cherry on top, an extra benefit. We want to build the muscles around the neck mainly, so we have not only a better physique, but also an overall stronger and healthy neck.
When I recommend workouts to help build the muscles around the neck, the deadlift is up there at the top of my list. Adding this into your routine will help you train your neck without a harness. The deadlift is a complex exercise with many small details, so it is recommended you start light and achieve perfect form before moving into heavier weights.
Shrugs are one of my favorite exercises to build the traps in both size and strength. This exercise has given me slight increases in my neck size over time, but it has built my traps a lot over time. I suggest adding this to your routine if you don’t already do it. I also suggest doing pause reps for this exercise to work the muscles more.
This is a very underrated exercise but extremely beneficial. These will not only work the muscles around your neck such as your traps and shoulders but will also work your forearms. If you have skinny forearms like I do, this workout will help fix that while improving grip strength. So you’ll be working two underrated body parts, you’ll indirectly work the neck and also directly work the forearms.
These exercises are best to combine with the direct neck exercises to fully train your neck without a harness.
I highly suggest trying to stretch before or after, or both before and after a workout. When doing these exercises, just like working any other body part, your body will become stiff and lose flexibility as you grow muscles if you do not continually stretch and work on flexibility. Stretching is incredibly important for overall health and injury prevention. Having a flexible neck will not only help prevent injuries but can reduce any neck pain you may currently have. This is extremely important to do especially while you train your neck without a harness.
I go over some amazing stretches in these articles
You now have a solid training routine to train your neck without a harness. You can now see you do not need a harness to get a good neck workout and you can easily train your neck without a harness. I highly recommend combining both of the direct and indirect training methods to get the best workout for your neck.
As mentioned above, if you have a previous neck condition or feel any pain in your neck during the workouts, please consult with your doctor. Also please do not lift heavy, use lighter weights for these workouts, mainly the direct neck training exercise, and focus on perfect form along with technique.
If you’re still skeptical on direct neck training, there are many articles proving its effectiveness, I highly suggest checking them out.