Boxers have long understood the importance of having a strong neck to tolerate the high impact nature of their sport. There is no real method of conditioning yourself to get an iron jaw, but strengthening your neck will surely help your ability to take a punch.
Here are some of the reasons why you should go for neck strengthening exercises:
- Head Gets All Its Support From the Neck: Your brain controls the entire body. In order for your brain to communicate with your body, it must go through the neck. If something is not right in the neck, it can affect what your brain is trying to convey to your body. In other words, the neck is an important crossroad for your body.
- Injury Prevention and Pain Relief: The incidence of neck pain has increased steadily over the past two decades and is now the second most common pain after the back pain, and among the most common musculoskeletal disorders. Those who spend a lot of time in front of the computer are more likely to suffer from persistent pain in the neck.
- Improved Posture: Even if your spine is divided into three sections, it works as a single unit that is interconnected. Due to this fact, when one part of the spine is misaligned, the other sections tries to position themselves in a manner that compensates for the change in alignment. You will never see someone having a perfect alignment of lumbar, thoracic spine and pelvis with a poor neck alignment.
5 Methods on How to Strengthen Your Neck
#1. Resistance Exercises
You can use both hands while performing resistance exercises for the neck. Such exercises are meant to enhance strength and adaptability of the neck muscles. Here is how to perform resistance exercises:
- Step 1: Place your hands behind your head
- Step 2: Look straight ahead to keep your head in right levels
- Step 3: Push back your head without letting your hands to move or relocate.
Use your strength to withstand the force. The same process can be used to perform right and left neck motion resistance exercises.
Resistance bands can provide resistance to strengthen other parts of your body. If you choose to do this, I highly recommend Bodylastics Resistance Bands for their high quality construction.
#2. Towel Exercises
Use a small towel to do these exercises. Fold the towel horizontally to make it a little thicker.
- Step 1: Start this exercise with your feet apart. You can do this while standing or take a seat on a chair or a bench.
- Step 2: Wrap the towel behind the face at the base of your hairline.
- Step 3: Hold the towel endings in each hand and bring your chin down towards the chest. Hold the towel tightly to create resistance for the neck and lift up your head.
- Step 4: Continue this process by raising and lowering the head.
#3. Neck Plate Curls
Choose only weights that you can hold comfortably against the back of your head.
- Step 1: Lie down frontwards on a bench. Make sure that your head is hanging over the edge with your shoulders aligned at the end of the bench.
- Step 2: Using both hands, tightly hold a light weight on the back of your head.
- Step 3: Tilt your head upwards slowly, then lower your head back down and repeat.
This exercise is commonly performed by advanced yoga practitioners. It is a great neck exercise and a general health builder too. This can be performed in just two simple steps.
- Step 1: To begin with, put a pillow or something soft enough next to a door and then kneel down to put your head on the pillow.
- Step 2: Now swing your legs up against the door and the rest in this position. You basically have to rest upside down.
It may sound difficult, but it’s pretty simple. You can easily balance if your body is in decent shape. Once you have mastered the exercise, you can try more advanced moves.
#5. Neck Harness
You may have seen Floyd Mayweather Jr, Mike Tyson, Anthony Joshua or someone else use a neck harness to lift weights with the neck. It attaches to your head and a chain dangles down in front of you where you can attach a free weight.
To strengthen the back of your neck, you must:
- Step 1: Lie down on a platform such as a bench, facing downwards (can also be done by standing up with knees bent and hands on thighs, or sitting).
- Step 2: Lift your neck up slowly so that you’re looking upwards, then look back down.
If you want to strengthen the front of your neck, then repeat the process but start by facing upwards with your back on the bench instead.
Several studies have shown that these exercises reduce neck pain in most individuals. They have also been found to increase the neck strength and the range of its motion.
The only caveat is that you must train your neck with caution. If you have injured your neck, then don’t apply any pressure to it but instead, allow it to heal first before using these exercises.
Written by: Nelson Seafoss
To get the most out of your training, I highly recommend the following articles:
► How to Increase Punching Power
► 10 Tips to Improve Boxing Footwork
► Boxing Basics
► Top 10 Best Heavy Punching Bags
► Top 10 Best Boxing Gloves