How to build a stronger neck (part 2)

Posted by David Wang 5 years, 1 month ago Comments

The head, neck and upper body as one single cohesive structure is like a big ol'tree with its crown, trunk and roots. For the tree to have a full crown of leaves, ubiquitous branches and a thick sturdy trunk, the tree must have roots firmly anchored into the soil. Likewise, for the neck to be strong and to withold the weight of the head, its roots (the trapezius muscle and others, image below) must also be strong. As shown, the trapezius muscle is posterior portion of the root that supports an upright posture of the body. It is a thick and large piece of musculature that spans from the base of the skull to the shoulders and latches onto the spine. The middle and lower portion of the trapezius muscle each draws the shoulder blade backwards and downwards towards the spine. Amongst those with a weak neck, the said muscle (along with the deep neck flexor described in the previous entires) is most often the weakest link, and in this entry, we will be talking about strengthening of these two portions of the trapezius muscle. Further, the strengthening of this muscle group should be an advanced routine that follows the deep neck flexor exercise mentioned here, with the purposes to build a stronger neck and upperback.

Mid Trapezius muscle Strengthening key points
- the seated row pull - 

  • start with an upright posture, shoulders depressed and elbows tappered to the ribcage
  • pull rings towards abdomen at the height of the navel
  • at the end of the pull, contract and squeeze the shoulder blades inwards towards the spine to get the 'row pull plus'

Lower trapezius muscle strengthening key points
- the bent over row -

  • emphasize shoulder depression by actively lowering your shoulders via contracting the latissimus dorsi muscle
  • reverse grip (palm up)
  • bend over to approx. 15º with the floor
  • arch your lowerback and tighten up the erector muscles prior to the pull
  • pull bar towards abdomen, not chest

Resistance training beginners should always start with light weights and try to work on the form. When you are able to control the pull without any shaking or trembling of the body or weights, then you can safely advance into weight ranges that facilitate muscle activation and growth.

- David  

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