As it stands, I am still on my quest to solve the problem of building those muscle groups that simply get neglected (forearms, Legs), yet are very important in regards to developing a well rounded muscle bound body.
In a previous article I talked about those individuals who have plenty of muscle, but don’t appear to have any when fully clothed. A big contributor to this issue is having a long neck, or just a very un-muscular one. But today we will discuss how to overcome this.
Talking from experience, having a long neck is a bad thing, because when you,
- Wear a shirt (and trousers)
- Wear a suit and tie
- Wear a collarless jumper
People simply cannot tell that you are finely chiseled underneath the clothed armour. So for appearance sake (and we all know you build muscle to impress others), building a strong and powerful neck is crucial, and when you do build it, you will,
- Stand out from the crowd
- Give the impression of power and strength
But looks aren’t everything! By developing strong neck muscles you will,
- Prevent injury (From performing many everyday tasks and during fitness and sporting activities)
- Protect your spine and spinal chord
What are the neck muscles?
The 3 main neck muscles are,
These muscles are responsible for flexion, extension and rotation of the neck.
How do you build the neck muscles?
Now that I’ve gone over the textbook stuff, lets talk about how to build muscle onto your giraffe neck. When people think of muscles around the neck, they would probably have these exercises in mind.
- Front dumbbell raises
- Lateral raises
- Wide grip pull ups
These will all be great contributors to forming a great set of upper body muscles, namely your,
- Deltoids (Shoulders)
- Upper back muscles (Traps)
- Wings (The latissimus dorsi)
But one must put a real focus on developing the neck and ONLY the neck, here’s how.
Implement safety first!
1. Dedicate a ‘neck only’ day for exercising. This is to make sure that your neck doesn’t suffer from fatigue from doing other exercises. It also allows for more concentration, I guess you could this as one big isolation exercise.
2. Make sure you stretch before, after and in-between every neck exercise. The classic rotate left, rotate right neck exercise will be good enough. Either sitting or standing, turn your head to the side, as though you are looking over your shoulder, and make sure that you don’t raise or lower your head. You can use your hand to press against the side of your head to create more resistance (Hold for 10-20 seconds and do it 3 times for each side). By doing this you will stretch out the three main muscles – the splenius and levator scapulae on one side and the opposing sternocleidomastoid.
3. Ensure that you have the correct form… Always!
4. Use full range of motion
The best thing about ‘these’ exercises is that you can perform them at anytime, regardless of where you are. In fact, perform each of these exercises as you read them. That should make for some truly interactive reading 🙂 . Now it’s time to say good-bye to the long neck!
Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed in all of the exercises described, whether sitting or standing.
Target muscles: Upper trapezius and the splenius
This one is simple but very effective.
- Begin the exercise by bending your head forward, allowing your chin to drop towards your chest.
- Stretch until it feels tight.
- Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then gently raise your head back up.
- Do this ten times and several times throughout the day.
Target muscles: Sternocleidomastoid
I call this one ‘Mr Noddy’.
- Place your hands on your forehead
- Apply tension
- Tilt and push your head down to your chest
- Keep the tension and raise it back up
- Do this ten times and several times throughout the day
Upper Trapezius Stretch
Target muscles: Trapezius
This is the triangular shaped muscle that connects your 2 shoulders and head together in the upper back area. This exercise is an important one as it will keep your neck flexible and help prevent injury.
- Put your right arm behind your back.
- Hold the right side of your head with your left hand.
- Use your left hand to gently tilt your head toward the left.
- You should feel a gentle pull on your right side, from the side of the neck down to the shoulder.
- Hold for this position for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Relax and repeat three times for each side.
The Chin Tuck
I call this one the ‘double chin’.
- Using either hand, put your fingertips against your chin and gently push your head straight back.
- Keep looking forward as your head moves back.
- Hold the position for five seconds, and then relax.
- Repeat this movement 5 times.
Neck Side Bend
Target muscle: Sternocleidomastoid
This exercise is similar to talking on a mobile phone while your hands are busy doing other things.
- Begin by tilting your head so that your right ear moves toward your right shoulder.
- Take it to the point of tightness or discomfort, but not to the point of sharp pain.
- Relax and return to the starting position then tilt your head so your left ear moves toward your left shoulder.
- Be sure not to rotate your head, or to raise your shoulder toward your head.
- Do this 10 times each side.
There you have it folks! Your official guide to eliminating your giraffe neck once and for all. Keep doing these exercises regularly and sooner or later you will develop a strong and powerful neck that will make you stand out from the crowd. Now here is the goal i am setting you,
Do you have a long neck?
How do you build your neck muscles?
See you in the comments.