Neck Muscle Exercise

If you still think that the most untrained muscles are the muscles of the legs, I recommend thinking again! I have not yet met people who, when coming to the gym, aimed at working out the muscles of the neck, which would bring them to the first place, among the most untrained . Very few people have heard that these muscles can be trained, and if you suddenly meet such people, you involuntarily want to ask: " What are these guys doing">

Or like this guy:

The choice is yours, but first, let's look at the anatomical structure of the neck .


  • 1 Anatomy of the neck
  • 2 Exercises
    • 2.1 Flexion of the neck with a disc
    • 2.2 Bending the neck with a head helmet
    • 2.3 Neck bending in a special simulator
    • 2.4 Exercise to extend the neck with a disk
    • 2.5 Neck extension exercise with helmet
    • 2.6 Extension of the neck in a special simulator
  • 3 Training process
  • 4 Genetic features
  • 5 How to build a powerful neck - Video training

Neck anatomy

For bodybuilding, two neck muscles are of primary importance: the sternocleidomastoid in front and the plaster muscle in the back.

The sternocleidomastoid muscle has 2 heads: the sternum and clavicular, which are located as shown in the figure below:

Plaster muscle also consists of two parts: cervical and head. As shown in the figure below, only a small part of the muscle is visible, mainly other muscles cover it from above.

As you probably already guessed, the most noticeable muscle of these two is the sternocleidomastoid. After working on this muscle, you can create an image of a person with a strong and powerful neck, like this guy in the picture:

However, this does not mean at all that the plastiform muscle does not matter, it is simply less noticeable, since it is covered from above by the trapezius muscle and some others that are tightly attached to it.

Let's move on to the next question, how to directly train the neck muscles:


Neck flexion with disc

My favorite type of exercise, which does not require any special equipment, all you need is a bench and a weighting disc. There are two ways to complete this exercise. You can:

  • Lie on a bench on your back, but in such a way that your head and neck hang freely from the edge.
  • Lie on the bench so that the upper half of the body is completely on the bench, and the legs have firm support on the floor. Your body should be parallel to the floor surface and perpendicular to the bench.

In fact, it doesn’t really matter from what position you will be doing the exercise, decide for yourself, the effectiveness of the execution will be the same in any case. Place the weighting disc on your forehead, holding it with your hands for balance, then continue to bend your neck, tilting your head forward, try to reach your chin with your chest. Then remove the weight and return to the starting position, then repeat the exercise in the same sequence.

Some tips:

  • Do not use too much weight.
  • If possible, use the Olimpiysky weighting disc option, as it has a plastic coating on the outside and is more convenient to use.
  • From the standpoint of hygiene, it is recommended to use a towel, placing it between the weighting disc and the face.

Bending the neck with a head helmet

The principle of the exercise is similar to the previous one, but instead of a disk, special equipment is used - a head helmet. This type of equipment is not used in many gyms, so it is recommended to have your own head helmet. Performing an exercise to bend the neck with its use is not only a more effective, but also a safer way, in my opinion.

Set the bench directly in front of the high-thrust unit, sit with your back to it. Place the high-traction unit at head level, put on your head helmet and bend your head so that your chin touches your chest. Then return to the starting position and repeat the exercise

There are various options for head helmets, but I personally prefer those that completely fit around the head, like this one:

Bending the neck in a special simulator

Although not a very common type of simulator, some gyms have dedicated equipment for working out the muscles of the front of the neck. This simulator does everything for you, you just sit down, and a special “pillow serves as a weighting agent. This will allow you to work out the muscles of the neck, bending it forward in exactly the same way as when performing the previously described exercises.

Do not worry, this is just a picture. Pay attention to the handles at the front of the simulator, they are used for balance, so be sure to check that you hold on to them tightly during the exercise.

Neck extension with disc

Now let's move on to the back muscles of the neck, namely to the plastiform muscle. As you probably guessed, training the back muscles of the neck by the principle of execution is no different from everything that has already been said. There are many options for training this muscle; my favorite and most affordable one is using a bench and a weighting disc.

You can sit on a bench in two ways:

  • Sitting on a bench, lean forward until you touch your hips with your stomach.
  • Lying on his stomach, his head hangs slightly from the edge.

Personally, I prefer the first method, although both options are very good. Regardless of which way you choose to sit on the bench, the technique for doing the exercise will be the same. Place the disc behind your head and try to straighten your neck as much as possible. Lower your head down until your chin touches the upper chest and then repeat the exercise. It is recommended to lay a towel between the disk and the head and control the holding of the disk behind the head with both hands.

Neck extension exercise with helmet

As mentioned earlier, to complete this exercise, you will need to purchase your own equipment. Unlike exercises for the muscles of the front of the neck, there are two types of head helmets that can be used to work out the back muscles of the neck: without weighting and weighting. The first one is used on a projectile with high traction as follows:

  • Sitting on a bench facing the high-thrust unit
  • Install the high-traction pin at the very bottom, attach the harness, and put on the helmet

A weighted helmet can be used as follows:

  • Sit back, put your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Fasten the helmet with a special chain and lean forward.
  • You can put your hands on your knees, or, on your hips, if you bend forward harder.

In principle, it does not really matter what type of equipment you choose for performing neck extension exercises, but always remember that for the full extension and then bending, the chin should touch the chest when it returns to its original position.

Extension of the neck in a special simulator

The last version of the exercise for the back muscles of the neck will be examined using an example of a special device. Not quite an ordinary sight, but this device will allow you to perform neck extension, as in previous exercises, but under more special control. If you ever intend to perform an exercise for the neck muscles with the help of special equipment, the first thing to do is make sure the neck is positioned correctly to ensure the maximum range of motion.

Lateral bending with weighting

Although the main emphasis during the exercise is on working out the muscles of the front of the neck, the muscles of the back are also being worked out simultaneously. This exercise can be performed using weighting discs, a helmet or special equipment, but the principle of execution is maintained regardless of what you choose. The goal of this exercise is to perform lateral flexion until the neck touches the shoulder.

The most acceptable way to perform this type of exercise is using a special weighting disc. Using the usual horizontal bench, lie on it sideways, with your lower hand you can grab the bench outside or lean on it, lowering it to the floor. Place the disc on your head from above, hold it in that position with your free hand. Lean up as far as possible, then return to the starting position. After completing the exercise on one side, roll over to the other side and do the same.

Using a helmet you easily simulate the effect of a weighting disc:

You can also use an incline bench if you want:

When using the harness, you do the same only from a standing position. Set the high pulley at head level and bend your head to the side as usual

And the last, no less important information: there is a special simulator:

Training process

Training neck muscles should be taken extremely seriously, since the consequences of injuries that may occur will be irreversible. I usually train 1 time per week, usually I do 3 sets for the muscles of the front of the neck and 2 sets for the back of the neck. Always check what weight you choose, it should correspond to the level of your physical fitness. Although some people with a powerful neck can lift more weight, you should not follow them and try to imitate them!

If you are afraid to train your neck using weight or for some other reason this method is not suitable for you, then you can use your own hands to train. For example, you can use the power of your hands as a weighting agent. Put your hand on your forehead and gently press on your forehead, trying to tilt your head back, while with all the strength of your neck muscles you need to counteract the action of your hand. The same can be done for the back and side muscles of the neck.

You can also use an elastic cord or something similar if you want:

Last but not least, you can also perform the exercise “support bridge on the neck”, although I do not recommend this type of exercise because I consider it too traumatic, and especially because there are many safe ways to train the neck muscles. You can perform this exercise for training the front, side and back muscles using only your own weight.

There are 3 types of bridges, but explaining the execution technique in words will be quite difficult. Therefore, I recommend watching the following video:

As I mentioned earlier, performing this type of exercise can be quite dangerous, be sure that you are physically prepared before you try to perform it, it is better to start training with safer types of exercises.

Genetic Features

According to the anatomical structure of the neck muscles, in principle, most people are the same, however, there are people who have a naturally muscular neck, which gives them a clear advantage over other people.

How to build a powerful neck - Video training