A thick neck can work to add to a massive physique while also providing for other physical benefits as well.
While many of us associate a massive physique with muscles starting at our shoulders down, having a thick neck is something to not exactly throw out the window. While we don’t necessarily want to look like we have no neck, having a thick neck is something many bodybuilders and athletes alike have transitioned away from. Strong traps and an increased focus on the trap muscles have taken its place for it can make you look even bigger and add to that massive, V-shaped physique. But a thick neck is nothing to overlook for its aesthetic benefits as well as physical ones.
Your neck is made up of many muscles all falling into three main groups: anterior, lateral, and posterior. These muscles work to determine a number of movements and functions allowing our head to not only connect to our body but also allow for stability from our shoulders up (1). Believe it or not, your neck muscles are closely related to certain systems in your body like the respiratory and gastrointestinal since it includes all major blood vessels, nerves, and other elements important to these bodily systems (2). So, having a strong neck is vital for more than you may think.
Let’s take a look at what having a thick neck entails. From the benefits, to some exercises to help get there, and helpful tips to ensure this is done properly, you might be surprised by what happens when you focus on this overlooked body part.
Benefits Of A Thick Neck
The benefits of a thick neck work towards your aesthetic but also more physical functions and important aspects that will prove to pay off in the long run for your training and performance.
- Release tension: With the right exercises, you can work to release tension and tightness to get rid of any stiff feeling (3).
- Increase flexibility: By working to reduce pain and get more movement, your flexibility will increase even with a thicker neck. This would be a result of certain exercises.
- Improve range of motion: Work to optimize your movement by really working hard with range of motion (4).
- Promote more stability: Increase stability and a more solid positioning from your shoulders on up.
- Add to aesthetic: A thick neck can give your aesthetic that massive look to really make others envious.
Exercises For A Thick Neck
Here are some great exercises to help get a thicker neck. Be super cautious and make you sure you maintain proper form. The neck is a valuable and vulnerable part of our body so taking care of it is vital to maintain overall physical health and proper movements.
Neck Side Raises
Lying on a bench on your side, place a towel or cushion on the side of your head before loading an appropriate amount of weight on top. Slowly raise and lower your neck only going as far as your range of motion will allow. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Neck Plate Curls
Lay down frontwards on a bench so your head is hanging over the edge. Your shoulders will be aligned at the end of the bench. Hold the weight at the back of your head with both hands and slowly tilt your head upward before lowering back down. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Place one hand on the side of your head and try to rotate your head to the side towards your shoulder. Press your head into your hands and try to resist as you bring your shoulder to your chin. Hold for a brief pause and repeat for your desired number of reps.
With your feet shoulder width apart, grab a dumbbell and slowly raise and lower your shoulders, really feeling a good squeeze in your neck and traps. Hold at the top for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Important Tips & Advice
When it comes to building a thick neck, we need to be more than cautious, especially with those exercise that require us to use weight. Our necks are strong, resilient, and can handle pressure, but it would be unwise to forget how vulnerable they can be. Make sure to use proper form and really take care of each rep. If you are using weight, don’t go heavier than you need to. There is no point in trying to one-up someone because it will only lead to injury.
It may go without saying, but always warm-up before performing any of these neck exercises (5). Too often do we jump into workouts cold, but some of these larger muscle groups can handle it better than our more fragile necks. Work on some bodyweight or banded exercises before tossing weight around and it will pay off in the long run.
Working out any muscle group requires a solid supplementation routine. Working on getting a thick neck requires that we don’t lose all the gains we’ve worked so hard to get. While a pre-workout, creatine, or intra-workout supplement will all work wonders, you can’t go wrong with a great protein supplement to really boost those gains and aid in recovery.
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When it comes to building a thick neck, it’s important to really work on the basics and ensure we are doing so properly. Able to aid in a massive aesthetic and work on stability, strength, and pain relief, a thick neck is not something to be taken for granted. Look into these exercises and supplements to really boost your growth because you won’t be disappointed with the results.
*Images courtesy of Envato
- Johnston, V.; Jull, G.; Jimmieson, N. (2008). “Neck Movement and Muscle Activity Characteristics in Female Office Workers With Neck Pain”. (source)
- Fice, Jason B.; Siegmund, Gunter P.; Blouin, Jean-Sebastien (2018). “Neck muscle biomechanics and neural control”. (source)
- Ajimsha, M. S.; Al-Mudahka, Noora R.; Al-Madzhar, J. A. (2015). “Effectiveness of myofascial release: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials”. (source)
- Zhou, Chaochao; Wang, Haiming; Wnag, Cong; Tsai, Tsung-Yuan; et al. (2020). “Intervertebral range of motion characteristics of normal cervical spinal segments (C0-T1) during in vivo neck motions”. (source)
- Fradkin, Andrea J.; Zazryn, Tsharni R.; Smoglia, James M. (2010). “Effects of Warming-up on Physical Performance: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis”. (source)