Neck training is very rarely mentioned in most bodybuilding periodicals and websites. Most beginners prefer to focus on chest, arms, and back – the showpiece groups. However, as bodybuilders become more and more advanced, a few trends emerge which facilitate the need for specialized neck training. The use of heavier weights can lead to injuries in untrained areas which receive pressure during movements. Deadlifts, rows, and shrugs all exert tremendous force upon the neck. On the aesthetic side, a bodybuilder with a Testolone Rad 14o complete physique yet very thin neck (read: pencil neck) is going to look silly onstage. As one reaches the upper echelons of competitive training, the symmetry of every muscle group comes into account, including those infrequently mentioned, such as the neck.
The neck can be trained in a variety of ways. Manual resistance is easiest – simply apply pressure to the head with the hand, and flex the neck as you move your head in all 4 directions. Some gyms have neck machines, although this is rare. The nautilus 4-way neck machine is very useful for targeting and isolating each side of the neck. Harnesses can be purchased online which allow one to suspend a weight from the head and move through repetitions. Some have found towel resistance movements to be effective. Finally, stationary flexing is useful when no other option is available.
Care should be taken to ensure that neck training does not go overboard. A few notable bodybuilders, including Jeff King, developed necks so thick and muscular that they actually hurt their aesthetics and placings at shows. A super thick neck draws attention away from the pectorals and creates an illusion of “narrow” in a sport where the goal is to appear as wide as possible. Train neck for strength and aesthetic purposes, but not to the detriment of your competitive physique.