Neck Strength Basics – Part 2


In the previous post we discussed the basic actions of the neck muscles when absorbing force in the form of a punch or kick ( In the next 3 sections we will provide some examples of basic introductory neck strength exercises.

Too often we see strength training for the cervical spine progressed too quickly, which may lead to overload and injury. A simple way to begin neck training is in the form of some basic isometric holds, where static resistance is applied to a fixed (e.g. your own hand, padded wall) or an object with a small amount of give (ball etc.). Below are examples of isometric holds using a soft ball, in the four directions discussed in the previous post; flexion, extension, rotation and lateral flexion. Typically holds such as this would be performed for 5-10 seconds, for 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps.

Cervical isometric holds may be progressed with the use of a cable machine, which requires the athlete to move the lower body while stabilising the neck.

In the next post we will show how these exercises may be progressed with higher loading.

A full framework of neck strength training is featured in the science of striking, available in both hard-copy and kindle formats (

#neckstrength # training #thescienceofstriking #boxing #kickboxing #karate #shinkyokushin #kyokushin #muaythai

About the author

Sam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is a registered physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Latrobe university (Melbourne, Australia) and a master’s degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia).

A 3rd Dan black belt in Shinkyokushinkai Karate under the World Karate Organisation (WKO), Sam participated for over 20 years in full contact competition, winning multiple state and national titles, and culminating in a 4th place in the heavyweight division of the Shinkyokushinkai World Cup in 2009.

As the co-founder and clinical director of Club 360, the premier multi-disciplinary health and fitness center in Tokyo, Japan, Sam has combined his practical experience with an in-depth study of sports performance in relation to combat sports, and strives to help other combat athletes reach their full competitive potential, whilst at the same time decreasing injury risk and increasing competition and training potential.

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By Sam Gilbert