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 (

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