Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Building A Neck Of Steel
Filed In : Articles

Insane neck strength

Insane neck strength.

Have you ever seen how many muscleheads have HUGE bodies but little tiny pencil necks? I don’t quite understand this but to each his own. The neck is one of the most neglected body parts, but one of the most important. A strong neck can tell you a lot about a person. If you are covered up in a jacket you can conceal your body and make people wonder how big you are. But with a big, thick, muscular neck there is nothing left to the imagination as to whether you are built or not. Even in a turtleneck you can’t hide a muscular neck.

So besides your appearance why else should you build up your neck? There are many reasons, one that comes to mind is that having a big neck and a strong jaw line can act as deterrent to troublemakers looking for prey. Predators, or those that prey on the weak don’t want to get involved with someone that is physically fit and gives off the appearance of strength. That would be too much of a hassle, they want weak people who play the role of a victim.

A strong neck is a necessity for all Combat Sports

Grappling, Wrestling, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, Boxing and Football are all sports that require a strong neck. If you have a strong neck it will help you absorb a blow to the chin by acting as a shock absorber. In grappling matches having a strong neck will assist you in defending a choke and also make it difficult to be choked out [of course if someone gets a choke on your windpipe it won’t matter how strong your neck is, but having a strong neck provides more chance for you to fight off the choke and escape].

In wrestling for example if you are being pinned, you can use your neck strength to bridge on to the top of your head and get your shoulders up off the mat, thus canceling out the pin attempt.

Another use for a strong neck in combat is you will be able to defend having your head pulled down and your body controlled.
One of the first things you learn in wrestling is that if you can control the head then the body will follow. During a wrestling or grappling match if you have been training your neck and your opponent tries to pull your head down you will be able to resist his attack and then in turn set up an attack of your own.

During a football game the players run at each other full speed and SMASH right into their opponent head first. Do you think that a player with a little Pipe Cleaner neck could take a hit like that? Of course not.

Another reason you should be doing neck work is if you are a Power lifter or a Strongman. Take a look at 2 of the most important lifts we can do for size and strength. They are the Squat and the Dead lift. During both of these exercises the head must be pulled back. Why? Because as I stated earlier, where the head goes the body will follow and during the dead lift if your head is tilted back when you start your pull your hips will follow. This is what you want because all your power is generated from the thighs to the butt and the hips. In the squat if you look down instead of up you will round your back and possibly go forward during the movement which will most certainly lead to injury. Anytime we squat we want a flat back, head tilted back and in tight on that bar.

Beginner neck-training program

081029 neckharnesslift

Now that’s a neck harness lift.

These were just a few examples of why we should put some strong emphasis on our necks. Following is a beginner program to help get you started from Pencil neck to neck of steel.

  • Neck Curls on a flat bench with weight 1-2 sets of 20-30 repetitions
  • Neck Harness work [same as above]
  • Side of Neck on a flat bench [same as above]

Do this every other day for the first month. Then you can increase the workload to everyday you train. Or increase the weighted repetitions to 5 sets of 50 repetitions. Once you can attain 100 straight repetitions in the 3 exercises then it is time to increase the weight.

What’s The Machine’s reason for a strong neck?

Because I was such a shy and insecure little boy that all I did was look down at my feet. Well now as a man I couldn’t look down on myself again if I wanted to. I have built my neck so much that all I can do is keep looking up, up and up brothers.

Best Regards and Thanks,
Mike “The Machine” Bruce

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



NB : if you love talking about strength-training as much as I do, you might also like to check out the weekly newsletter. A regular dose of fitness-focussed discussions, absolutely free.

And if you'd like to check out any of the stuff mentioned above (or in the comments), swing by Amazon. Huge assortment of fitness gear.



  1. 70 of the Best : 7 Years of Straight to the Bar | Straight to the Bar - […] Building A Neck Of Steel - Mike 'The Machine' Bruce […]
  2. Blast from the Past : Neck Training Methods | Straight to the Bar - […] Building A Neck Of Steel Looking for a simple neck-training program to get you started? It’s right here. […]

Leave a Reply

What's This?

Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

images of strength

'Napalm' Jedd Johnson.
Want to see (and learn) more Feats of Strength like this? Dive in.

Just Joined Us? Try These.

There are some incredible writers on the team here. To give you an idea, check these out :

If you enjoyed these, check out the complete ‘Best Of Straight to the Bar‘ list. Fantastic.

setting up a home gym?

If you’re getting ready to put together a solid Home Gym (fantastic thing), here’s how.

For more, swing by the full guide. Absolutely free.

And of course, you’ll find everything you need over in the SttB Strength Store. Massive range.

Ever Tried Kettlebells?

If you’ve seen people using them but never taken the plunge yourself, here are the ones I use personally. You can also pick up a book/DVD/course if you want to learn how to put them to work.

Ready To Learn Even More?

I love learning new skills, and the many seminars & workshops available are a great way to do that. If you’re looking for a specific type of workshop nearby, check out the ones on Dragon Door. Great mix of kettlebell and calisthenics-based offerings.

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program.

If you’re a fitness professional and love the Precision Nutrition approach, check out their certification offering. To say it’s comprehensive is an understatement.

Wherever You Are, We Are.

In addition to the main site, you can share your strength-training passion with a like-minded community on :

Wherever you like to hang out, get your regular dose of strength. Straight to the Bar.

Mike 'The Machine' Bruce is a professional performing Strongman and motivational speaker. Find out more over at his online home.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.